Monica Brandner and Lorene Keen, Guest Writers
Why is teaching our children to honor their elders important? Over the past 30 years we have seen a separation in the family due to divorce, moving across the country, and for some, they simply dislike their parents. As our parents are aging there seems to be a deep need to be closer to our families.
Our children may not have a lot in common with their grandparents, but it's still important that they learn to show kindness and respect. Here are 4 simple little etiquette tips to help your children show honor to the “Golden Generation.”
ATTITUDE - Model respectful behavior your children can imitate.
Smile, give a hug and laugh. Help your children see what it looks like to enjoy the elders in your family. Grumbling and complaining releases bad attitudes in your home and gives your children permission to think poorly of others.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT – No one likes to feel like they are invisible!
Have your children look their grandparents in the eye and say, "Hello, grandpa and grandma."
THANKFULNESS – Being thankful and being thoughtful is like giving a mini gift!
Coach your children to say, "Please and thank you."
Teach them how to be appreciative of the gifts their grandparents give and not just expect gifts. Have your children draw pictures on a thank you card because grandparents are usually thrilled to receive them, and it engenders a child's creativity while teaching them to think about others.
TIME - Surround your family with seniors.
To bridge the gap of generations at family gatherings, have your little children put on a play, sing a song, or dance for their grandparents. Having fun builds bonds!
And, a great tip suggested by John Daly, Etiquette and Protocol Professional on LinkedIn, “If the grandparents are physically up to it, arrange for them to babysit or take vacations with you and the kids to have more time together and understand each other. It was on a vacation when my grandchildren were around 4 that we truly bonded together.”
Simple suggestions, now JUST DO IT!
To learn more about Monica Brandner and Loreen Keen visit www.etiquetteprincess.com
Laura Allan, MA, LMHC, CPC, Guest Writer
You can learn a lot from watching dogs. If you want to be happier at work and move ahead in your career, try to think more like a dog. Yes, for real!
Become Happier at Work:
1. Show your enthusiasm. Learn to love whatever you're doing. When your job seems routine, remind yourself of its purpose, whether that's to provide for your family or invent a new medicine. Sometimes just smiling will make you feel more joyful.
2. Greet everybody. Take the time to wish everyone a good morning before you settle down to your tasks. Your relationships with your co-workers play a huge role in your job satisfaction. Create a friendly atmosphere by exchanging daily pleasantries.
3. Lend others your support. Take a break from your own concerns to notice how your colleagues are feeling. When stress levels are high, offer your assistance and encouragement. You'll feel good about helping out, and people will be more likely to reciprocate when you need a hand.
4. Give early warnings. Minor workplace conflicts can escalate if they're allowed to fester. Speak out tactfully at the first sign of a misunderstanding. This will make your work environment much more pleasant than just growling right before you bite.
5. Bounce back from conflicts. Forget about holding grudges. Put any unpleasant experiences behind you and demonstrate your willingness to cooperate with everybody to get the job done.
6. Follow your instincts. Sometimes you have to respond to unfamiliar situations without much time to prepare. Trust your instincts when you need to take a risk. If it's your first time giving a staff presentation, boost your confidence by adapting what you already know from your days on the student debate team.
7. Get plenty of sleep. You may never be able to arrange your schedule to get as much sleep as your dog, but you can still strive for 8 hours every night. Adequate rest is critical to your mental health.
How to Advance in Your Career:
1. Show off your accomplishments. Humility is an admirable quality, but sometimes you need to promote yourself. Watch how dogs soak up positive attention without looking like they're bragging. Use your success stories to your advantage in job evaluations and interviews.
2. Follow the rules. How does a dog know which objects are okay to chew? The logic behind some rules may elude you, but it's usually best to go along with them to preserve order in the workplace.
3. Practice active listening. Your co-workers are bound to value you more if you take a sincere interest in them. Listen respectfully to what others may be able to teach you.
4. Persist. Persistence is a big part of success. Stay focused and keep on the trail no matter what obstacles arise. If you get blocked from digging under the fence, maybe you can persuade someone to open the gate for you.
5. Reduce waste. Mail carriers and couriers perform valuable jobs, but many dogs obviously would prefer a paper-free world. Some dogs also regard as edible the many things that humans throw away. Impress your boss and help the environment by cutting down on paper waste and recycling more.
6. Contribute to the pack. Above all, think beyond your own interests to participate as a team player. Take satisfaction in working together to achieve common goals and improve everyone's well being. You can accomplish much more working with others than you ever could on your own.
Although chasing your tail may not get you anywhere in life, dogs are otherwise great role models for becoming more content and productive at work.
To learn more about Laura Allen visit www.LauraAllanCounseling.com
"Civility is not a mechanical act. Civility is a condition of the heart." ~ Deborah King
Civility is not something you put on, like a new outfit, in order to impress another to achieve a particular goal. Pure civility must be authentic. Authentic civility springs from a heart that deeply values all people and recognizes that every action somehow affects others. This realization – as you live in a world where you are connected with others, whether you know them or not – requires that you carefully consider everything you say and do.
Discover the Treasure Within
Before you can treat others with care and consideration, you must give care and consideration to yourself. Recognize that within you resides a priceless treasure, and that treasure exists to be shared. This treasure is something you bring forth out of you, not something you try to get. The more you give, the more you receive.
Frustration Signals Passion
What frustrates you? What, you may ask, does my treasure have to do with frustration? Your frustration may actually be a signal revealing your passion. Not everyone is passionate about the same things as you. There are many things I hear about that I see as unfortunate or horrible, but I am not moved to frustration. When I do find myself being frustrated over and over by an issue, I know to ask myself What can I do to meet this need?
When you find you are frustrated, take some time to think about how you could bring change in that area. Could you join a group, teach a class, write an article, or develop a new service or product?
Don’t be concerned with the competition. When you give birth to what is within you, there is no competition because there is only one “you”! Never settle for being a cheap imitation of someone else. Teachers, coaches, and trainers can provide importance guidance, but you have to learn to listen and evaluate every situation and discover how you can uniquely meet that need. Acts of incivility often escalate in highly competitive environments. It is vital that you know who you are and what your purpose is.
Plod On, Plod On
As a teen, I heard my pastor say that to be successful in anything in life, you must be like the old plow horse: Each day he plows the field – going back and forth, back and forth. It’s not exciting, but the constant, consistent action produces a great harvest.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and authentic civility does not become commonplace by a single act. Like the old plow horse, you must plod on, plod on, plod . . .
Would you like to learn more about civility? Get your copy of The Power of Civility today! http://www.finaltouchschool.net/products.htm
Mothers fill many roles in the lives of their children, but one role they are not to fill is to be their child’s best friend and lifelong playmate. Today’s mother often has many responsibilities outside the home, including part- or full-time employment, which leaves precious little time for family life. Nevertheless, no matter how tired she is at the end of the day, she is still mom, and no one else can fulfill that role.
As a teacher, protector, and provider of her children, a mother needs to focus on the following:
To provide a child with these core values requires the greatest investment: time. We cannot pass off this responsibility to a coach, school, church, or nanny. Children learn by watching us and will do as we do, not as we say. A mom shared with me how angry her teenage son had become over her calling clients to discuss business every time they were in the car together. Her view was that they were spending time together; his view was that she would rather be with someone else.
A mother’s words can encourage a child to attempt a new activity, to press a little harder to reach a goal, to calm a moment of distress, or bind up a broken heart; they can also dash a dream and pierce the heart with pain. We must guard our words so they give life, and look for creative ways to express them.
Monica Brandner wrote these words to her adult daughter: “Kayla, you are like a pillar. Your inner strength amazes me. You have grown into such a beautiful and strong woman. You make me smile, and I am very proud of you. My love for you runs deep. Keep going for your dreams! You are a world changer!”
Monica said that she has learned that there is no greater investment in her children than her words. The cost is only a few moments of her time. When others use words to try to hurt her children, she is confident that her words will rise up, overrule, and remind them, “My mom says . . . !”
Take time to write a few words of affirmation to your child(ren). They will be a constant reminder of who they are, their destiny, their value, and how much they are loved. Our words and life example will be engraved on their heart and spirit forever and will provide the support they need to face the many challenges of life.
John Adams, the second president of the United States, said: “From all that I had read of history and government of human life and manners, I had drawn this conclusion, that the manners of women were the most infallible barometer to ascertain the degree of morality and virtue of a nation.” —Dee Jepsen, Women Beyond Equal Rights (Waco: Word, 1984), quoted in James Robinson, Attack on the Family (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1981), 33.
The role of women in society cannot be filled by any other. Women uniquely influence the family and the community. Typically, they manage the home, provide the meals, select the clothing, chauffer the children, volunteer at school, church, clubs—the list is almost endless. Over ninety percent of women also work a part- or full-time job.
Balancing all the roles a woman embraces is not easy. Learning how to set priorities and how to say “no” is a necessity. Women simply cannot, and should not, do everything that comes their way. One role they must embrace is raising their children.
Choice of Clothing
Another area women have a unique opportunity to influence others in is through their clothing choices. Unfortunately, many have followed the trends set by the media. Fashion continually pushes the boundaries of what is acceptable with little regard for the impact on women (and on men). Super thin models, scantily dressed and airbrushed to appear flawless, create an unrealistic ideal of what it means to be beautiful. These images fill the fashion magazines and the minds of our girls, resulting in a loss of self-esteem and the belief that they must dress and look the same if they are to be “pretty” and acceptable in our society.
Unfortunately, many mothers have also yielded to the media pressure. They shop where their daughters shop, and wear what they wear, affirming that being young and sexy is the goal. Modesty has all but evaporated from most closets and feminine bodies.
A woman who knows how to use fashion to dress appropriately for her age, to enhance her body type and coloring, to be fashionable and yet modest, is a joy to all who meet her. The truth is, a woman is always more interesting when she leaves some things to the imagination. A beautifully groomed and dressed woman is a gift to all who meet her and provides an excellent role model for others.
Another area women have an opportunity to influence others in is by the practice and use of good manners. A child learns what they live. A child who is raised in a home where good manners are modeled and valued will always benefit.
Unfortunately, the media has also set the tone for much of today’s behavior. Television and movies portray children and teens mocking adults and being disrespectful while viewers laugh and enjoy popcorn. The family dinner table has been replaced with drive-through menus and playgrounds. Gifts are expected, and thank-you cards are neglected.
Women uniquely set the standard for the family and for society. They lead others by their dress and behavior. Let’s lead our children to excellence! If you lack the skills you need, seek opportunities to learn them.
Civility Tip – Body Management
You demonstrate kindness and respect for yourself and others through how you manage your body, appearance, and behavior.
1. Maintain a healthy weight.
2. Exercise regularly.
3. Be well groomed.
4. Dress appropriately for the situation.
5. Practice good manners.
When someone first enters a room, what captures your attention? Is it what the person is wearing, his or her smile, eye contact, hair, or some other physical characteristic? Leaders possess a unique quality that enables them to capture the attention of those they meet. Those who have achieved a level of success and mastery in their work also possess this quality. What is it? Confidence! People who are confident “own” the room they enter, communicating to all that they have the skill to handle whatever they may face. Confidence is rated by many as the most attractive feature about someone.
Do you possess a level of confidence that enables you to move with ease from one situation to the next? Are your children confident in the situations they face? Confidence is not something one is born with; it must be developed.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines confidence as “faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way; the quality or state of being certain.”
Confident people are easily identified the moment they enter a room. They stand tall and move with grace and certainty. They are open to others and look for opportunities to connect with them. They easily meet and greet others and seem to converse effortlessly. Also, they are competent in their abilities without being boastful.
Acquiring confidence comes by learning and practicing a skill until it becomes automatic and natural. Malcom Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point and Outliers, states that one must devote at least 10,000 hours to a given craft before he or she is truly successful with it. Many think confidence and social skills should be mastered by reading a few articles or attending a seminar on the topic. A brief brush with a new skill does not equate to mastery. There must be ongoing learning, followed by practice and feedback, for an extended period of time before a new skill is developed and is truly useful.
Developing a higher level of confidence will not only benefit you; it will benefit all those you interact with—most importantly, your children. You cannot give to others what you yourself do not possess. You may not work outside your home, where you need to master a particular skill, but the level of confidence you have will be what you pass on to your children.
We all are products of the people and experiences we’ve been exposed to. Children who have been nurtured in homes rich with social skills are able to master the moments they face. Their success is predictable. As you increase your own confidence, the situations you used to dread, or avoid, will become a source of enjoyment and will open new doors of opportunity for many.
Pay attention to those around you. Every act of kindness starts with noticing others. Many uncivil acts are rooted in being in a hurry and unaware. Slow down and consider those you are with at home, at work, and in the marketplace.
“When civility reigns, people rejoice!” –Deborah King
May is International Civility Awareness Month!
Civility begins at home and it begins with every parent. A child who experiences a civil home will be more likely to act in a civil manner at school and in the community. This is the foundation of a civil society. It is not the color of our skin, our political or religious differences, or our physical borders that divide us, but rather, the borders of our heart, our spirit, and our mind.
If civility is not taught and modeled in the home, there is little chance for a civil society. Civility requires character, confidence and class. By modeling positive behavior, you will train your children to be civil while inspiring others.
It takes everyone involved in the life of a child to teach him or her how to live with kindness and respect for self, others, and the environment. Children must recognize they are part of a larger whole and that every action of theirs, somehow impacts others. This knowledge, once mastered, will enable a child to handle life’s situations with confidence and grace. I love civility! It is the foundation of a healthy society.
“Civility knows no boundaries, speaks every language, crosses every time zone, thrives in every culture, connects with every generation, is available to every person, and improves every situation.” Deborah King
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Make family mealtime a priority. Children who eat regular meals together with their family do better in school, are less likely to use drugs, and are emotionally healthier. Overloaded schedules make gathering around the dinner table each night a challenge for many families. If this describes your situation, consider what you can do. Maybe you could reserve Sunday for family dinners, or maybe breakfast would be a better option. Start where you can. Here are some tips for encouraging civility at mealtime.
The benefits from meals eaten together are well worth the effort. Around the table manners and civility are learned and lifelong bonds are established.
Civil Communication Tips
Civil people consider their language and how it may affect others. This is especially true at home. The words spoken to and around a child frames the way he or she views the world. A child who is exposed to language that is vulgar, violent, mean-spirited, and demeaning may become withdrawn and depressed, or he or she may act out in the same manner toward others. A child who experiences language that is kind, loving, thoughtful, and encouraging is more likely to feel safe and view the world and others in a positive way. A civil home embraces respectful language.
Inviting guests into your home requires preparation of your home and your heart. Careful consideration should be given to how you can make your guest feel welcome. A home that is welcoming is clean and family members are kind and inclusive. Here are a few tips for teaching your children how to be a good host.
• Greet your guest at the door with a smile and invite them into your home.
• Introduce your guest to family members.
• Offer your guest something to eat or drink.
• Ask your guest what they would like to do.
• Include your guest in activities and conversation.
• Walk your guest to the door and thank him or her for coming.
Being a Guest
It is a privilege to be invited into someone’s home, and this generosity should not be taken lightly. Being a host requires a great deal of time, thought, and expense. A thoughtful guest will show they appreciate their host in the following ways.
• R.S.V.P. This is a French term that simply means ‘please reply’. Every invitation deserves a prompt reply.
• Dress appropriately. Be well groomed and choose clothing that is appropriate for the event. Clothing that is inappropriate, sloppy, or too revealing, does not honor your host.
• Be on time. Arriving early, or late, is inconsiderate.
• Bring a hostess gift. Never appear empty handed. A small gift acknowledges the effort of your host.
• Joyfully participate. Participate in positive conversation and the activities that are planned.
• Thank your host. Never underestimate the power of a handwritten note.
Being a thoughtful host, or guest, is rooted in your attitude and is demonstrated through your appearance, words, and actions.
As wonderful as guests are, no one can ever replace the valuable relationship of a family member. Civility at home begins with how you treat those who live in your home.
A friend once shared with me that she insisted her children treat each family member as well, or better than, they would treat their most honored guest. This was not negotiable. If one child had a guest over to play and treated a brother or sister rudely, or spoke mean-spirited words to another family member, the guest was sent home and the offender was required to serve the offended. This may include cleaning their sibling’s room, or doing one of their chores. Today, she enjoys the company of five adult children who know how to honor others.
Honor the elderly. In our youth-absorbed culture, the feeble and elderly are often set aside. Remember to include senior family members in conversation, activities, and daily life as much as possible.
Family interactions provide a beautiful environment where each member learns how to demonstrate honor, respect, and value for all other members. Yes, there are times family members can be a challenge, but a spirit of love and respect for each member must never be compromised.