Manners matter. That should go without saying, but sadly, it still needs to be said, over and over again.

"Good manners seem to be a lost art. Gone are the days when etiquette books were on the list of reading materials for all young people growing up. Even the word 'etiquette' is antiquated.

"When it comes to manners, little things count:
• "Answer the phone with more than the greeting 'Who is this?'
• "Say please and thank you.
• "Listen without interrupting.
• "Say 'pardon me?' or 'excuse me?' instead of 'huh?'
• "Chew your food and swallow, then talk. Even the people who love you don't want to see wads of food pulsing around in your mouth.
• "Speak in a kind voice to strangers and friends alike. There is no excuse to be rude, even if the waiter brought you a cold cup of coffee. It's surprising how often we speak in the harshest tones of voice to the people we care about the most.
• "Thank people with a note or a phone call when you receive a gift.
• "Open the door for the other person, regardless of gender or age. Males can open doors for females, females for males, children for adults, adults for children.

"Rather than eliminating the need for rules of etiquette, modern technology has made it necessary to add to the list: Silence your cell phone when you're in a meeting, in a movie theater, in church, having a meal. Resist the temptation to send text messages when you're in the middle of a spoken conversation. Talk to your friends face to face, not just on the Internet.

"Along with the basics, teach your children a few additional manners that can serve them well as they grow up:
• "When you shake hands, use a firm grip. Keep your head up, make eye contact, and smile. Repeat the name of the person you are meeting if it's someone new. 'I'm glad to meet you, Mrs. Jones.'
• "Be on time, especially when someone else's time is involved. Plan to be fifteen minutes early wherever you go. Perpetual tardiness makes it appear as though you think that your time matters more than the other person's. Remember that you are not the only person with a busy schedule. Being punctual is a courtesy to others.

"Manners make people feel respected. They make life more pleasant. And they can make a difference when it comes to engaging with a wider world. Which person is more likely to get the job interview, the one who has all the credentials but is rude on the phone or the one who has all the credentials and knows how to be courteous?

"Model polite behavior for your child.

"Make manners matter. Your child's future husband or wife will thank you!

Bible Basic

"Show yourself in all respects a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity."
— Titus 2:7

To be continued . . . "What manners matter most to you?"