No. 248



Someone once said that, A child is that which tells in the street what its parents say at home. A few months ago I got a letter from Mrs. Marjorie Wiessing, a teacher at the Teutopolis Grade School in Teutopolis, Illinois. She began by saying, I read your column titled, Its time for some ol fashioned manners in the Effingham Daily News last week. I definitely agree with all the points you made. As a teacher of sixth grade students, I can always tell who has been taught manners by their parents. Certainly, as a teacher I can teach more effectively if the students practice proper etiquette.

In my classes, I stress responsibility, respect, and using proper manners. When I saw your article, I almost shouted Yes. Because my classes had just begun a unit on writing business letters, I immediately decided they would write to you as one of their projects. Also, I gave each student a copy of your article. They were quite amazed to read the same ideas that they hear from me on an almost daily basis. Thank you for publicly reaffirming teachers and parents efforts.

In the same packet with her letter were 65 hand written letters from her students. As I read each one I was so very impressed with their neat handwriting and even more importantly what they had to say. This just reaffirmed for me that young people can be taught, and taught well, the really important things in life that will enable them to be successful and productive human beings.

In my mind, there is no better way to communicate what Im trying to say than to give you a few excerpts from some of the students letters. Ill confess that one of the hardest jobs Ive ever had to do was pick out a few because they were all so very good. These students are all winners. Ryan Vogt wrote: I obviously agree with you that people should use manners and respect. Manners are great because when people use them other people think that they are well-behaved. At this moment, I am in my English classroom. I also agree that manners and respect are better than any other kind of education. How extremely wonderful your article about manners was.

Here are some thoughts from Kyle Heuerman: Kids and adults should be taught manners. If everyone used proper manners, we wouldnt have arguments. In that case, there would not be any divorces. And Jeff Wessel wrote: I totally agree with you. If somebody does answer yes sir, no sir, please, thank you, and your welcome, I can understand how it makes them look more sophisticated than some country hick. If you sound more professional, people take you more for what you are, which in turn makes you look smarter, and most important of all that you have manners. Thank you for writing the article because I think it reached out to other people besides me.

And finally, here is one thats my favorite from Katie Crawford. I agree 100% on your concept. I cant tell you how many times Ive been told to say please and thank you. But dont get me wrong. I definitely received enough discipline from my parents and teachers so Im not really as disabled in proper etiquette as it may sound. I do know a couple of people who are though. The article definitely made sense and I enjoyed reading it. Thank you very much for listening to my opinion. As I bring this visit to a close I would just like to say, parents and teachers, this is so very important and I hope Mrs. Wiessings students have inspired you as much as they have me. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)