Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and better understand how the pioneers raised kids. The “yes sir,” shaking their hand "hello", holding the door for ladies kind of times.
A few years ago I remember introducing my son to some friends of mine. They were older, great people I hadn’t seen in years. I greeted the man with a handshake and hugged his sweet wife. Hayden just stood there with his hands in his pockets looking down at the ground. I quickly nudged my boy and said: “shake his hand, son.” Like uh, hello, an elder is talking to you, have I not taught you anything?! Hayden listened right away, looked up, shook their hands and started visiting with the couple along with me.
This moment has never lost its sting. It was then where I felt as if I had missed a step in the process of raising a young man. I knew my boy had seen men shake hands "hello", his Papa doesn’t ever miss a beat in this greeting. But somewhere the shyness of my young boy had stolen his confidence in doing as his Papa did.
I remember walking back to the car with Hayden, explaining to him that out of respect we always greet others and shake their hands. Even if you are putting your hand out first, this is a sign of respect and friendliness. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t taught him this yet.
Kids can’t read our minds all the time. We must communicate with them and teach them along the way.
I don’t see many kids shaking hands or holding the door nowadays. I’m not exactly sure where these simple manners have gone but wouldn’t the world be a much kinder place if we went back to instilling in our children the mannerisms we expect in ourselves? I understand we live in a much different world then our parents did but in my mind, it's only as different in our homes as we allow it to be. Let’s hang around our elderly citizens a little more and hear how they did things. I believe we could learn a lot, with all the simplicities we have it could be easier but the morals stay the same.
I intend to raise polite children who follow “nice to meet you” with a firm handshake.