The Problem and Solution

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America... Canada... lands of beauty, opportunity, freedom and goodness.

For generations, these have been countries where people care. Where they are kind. Helpful. And civil. A country where people greeted you politely on the street, who treated others with respect, and who obeyed the laws of the land.

Unfortunately, these core virtues are not as prevalent as they once were. Rudeness. Crudeness. Bullying. Crime—stealing, cheating, embezzling, murder, drug abuse. Marital infidelity. All of these are extensions of very bad manners—not respecting other people or their property. And not respecting one's self.

So what happened?

THE PROBLEM?  Lack of Civility and Respect for others, for their property or for oneself.  All Bad Manners!

THE SOLUTION?  To inspire and equip this generation of children, teens and parents to live with civility, character, integrity and respect--the foundational principles our country was founded upon. 

At The International Center for Manners & Civility we focus on a different character quality every month: 

12 Character Values


* Honesty
* Gratitude

* Hope
* Thrift
* Humility
* Charity
* Sincerity
* Moderation
* Hard Work
* Courage
* Personal Responsibility

* Reverence

 

We have developed The Manners Club Character Kit for Kids (a full curriculum -- book, music, reproducible resources, full color posters) to help teach these 12 values and manners.  If you would like us to send you a FREE Character Values outline with tips how you can use The Manners Club Music and Manners Club Kit to teach these values each month in your home, school or church, please send us a note to: Info@themannersclub.com  with “12 Character Values” in the Subject line.

We want to ensure that these values of honesty, goodness and respect continue to be a vital part of the people of our nation and to pass this legacy on to the next and future generations.

Central to this project will be nurturing the values and virtues that make our nations great: respect for others, a strong work ethic, integrity of character, being thankful for our freedoms, and the importance of living by basic principles like The Golden Rule.

The Current Problem

Unfortunately, in recent years, it has become evident that many of the virtues and character qualities are being eroded by our current culture. In our busy, fast—paced society, where often both parents and caregivers are working outside the home, and where children are overly involved in sports, music lessons and other activities, there is often little time available for parents, grandparents and caregivers to pass on important life skills and basic manners to their children. Compounding the problem are the many overly—stressed single parent families and the high number of "latch key" children who have excessive unsupervised free time.

In each of these cases, children are not being given the quality time and attention they need to acquire vital social skills and internalized values. In addition, parents and educators are realizing that much of the music, movies, television, interactive games and the Internet children consume are generally not good re-enforcers of proper moral values and manners.

Taken together, the impact of these social forces is having a serious affect on our society.

Crime

School—related crime is at an all time high. Bullying is on the rise. Elders and authority figures in our community aren't being respected like they use to be. When people forget to respect others and their property, bad things happen.

In addition, drug and substance abuse is on the rise. We see road rage and cutting people off, without apologies. We see runaway car theft, litter, graffiti. Pornography and other mind pollution. All are evidence of a lack of respect for one's self or others.

Simple courtesies that not too long ago were just "givens" in society are no longer evident and common courtesy doesn't seem to be so common anymore.

Families too are in trouble. The divorce rate continues to skyrocket. Parents are overwhelmed with children they can't control: defiance, disrespect, whining, complaining, rudeness run rampant. Increasingly violence both within the family and without grows more prevalent and brazen.

It used to be that society—through its laws, the media and popular culture, worked to protect the family. But now it seems like too many people are working overtime to tear the family apart and wear down standards of behavior that have stood for thousands of years. Grandparents are often appalled at the behavior of their grandchildren.

The coarseness and rudeness in society grows daily—from pop stars acting out with vulgar language to athletes with arrogant attitudes and violent behavior. Political strife and corrosive entertainment are all part of the corruptive flow of society.

Employers bemoan the fact that they can't find hardworking, ethical employees that are willing to go beyond what is asked of them. They say that young people expect that the world "owes them a living" and that they deserve to start at the top rather than work their way up. Employers find that young people have a minimalist and often lazy attitude, and have very poor social skills that are critical in business and customer service. There also often seems to be a problem with mediocrity—rather than striving to do one's best. Many teens and children are rude—often without even realizing that their behavior is disrespectful. Most children and teens don't mean to be rude, they just haven't been trained.

When people forget to be thankful for what they have, they become whiners & complainers. It sometimes seems like we have an epidemic of whining in America, rather than being creative about how to fix problems or make a positive difference!

Our young people—the upcoming generation of leaders—are not being trained in vital life skills and the foundational principles of both a happy family and a civil society. And society is paying the price.

Our government is burdened with the skyrocketing costs of fighting crime and bad behavior. The U.S. Justice Department spends billions on court costs, legal fees and building and maintaining jails for those who can't control their behavior: stealing, killing, cheating, embezzling, car theft, drug and alcohol related crimes, muggings, graffiti—the list goes on. Every one of these crimes is a violation of good manners. The failure to respect other people and their property and the lack of controlling one's behavior—the lack of self control and the "do your own thing" and "look out for #1" attitude of the 70's, 80's and 90's—has caused a myriad of social and economic problems.

More laws aren't the answer. External controls won't help when there is no internal control—self-control. It seems like many of the forces in our society have given up or abandoned teaching that there is a right and a wrong. They don't tell teenagers that they are accountable for what they do and say. That there are consequences for their actions.

Young people are encouraged to "do their own thing" and "look out for #1" and "if it's right for you then do it!" without ever being taught that there is a moral standard of absolutes, nor to think of other people—the Golden Rule. So should we wonder when life has become cheap?

Children and teens see graphic depictions of blood and gore on TV and video games, lack of morality in our media by celebrities, and millions of babies killed by abortion. Unless someone stands up and says "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!" our children will continue to be taught that life—their life and other people's lives — is "cheap" and without value.

Our mission at The International Project for Manners & Civility is to inspire children and teens that life is precious. Other people are precious. There IS a right and wrong. And they can learn self—control so they can CHOOSE to do the right thing. Tell the truth. Honour their parents. Respect other people's property. To respect themselves. Not only are these the 10 Commandments... these are good manners.

What has happened to our society? Where did we go wrong? Who went wrong? Where should their training have begun?

The Compelling Solution

Focus on character—be proactive

Training begins in the home.

Our homes need to be our nation's "Boot Camps." We would never send our soldiers out to the front lines of battle without intense basic training. Yet that's what we've done with many of our children. As parents, we've sent our precious children out to the front lines of society without the basic skills they need to thrive, let alone survive.

It used to be just a given that parents and grandparents would be the ones to teach their children manners and life skills. But it seems that today, many parents are at a loss where to start. Not too long ago, young married couples had a strong circle of family support around them for encouragement and advice as they raised their children: Grandma and Grandpa lived in the same town. Aunts and Uncles lived nearby. But with our society becoming so increasingly transient, young parents are often on their own to "wing it." And by trial and error.

Many parents are floundering—and many have thrown up their arms in despair. Parents need and want training and simple creative ideas on how to train and inspire their children to excellence in integrity, attitude and behavior. Most people would agree that our children are too precious to experiment on. It's time to get back to basics.

As Judi The Manners Lady notes, "Manners are the outward expression of our inward character—who we really are." As parents, we need to make it our mission to inspire this generation to live with character. To be respectful, courteous, civil. That our word would be our bond. That we would have self—control—as a proactive way of combating the rampant crime, disrespect, drug abuse, bullying and family conflicts in our society.

Mark Early, President of Prison Fellowship, noted, "If more of our teens could learn manners, we'd have fewer of our teens in trouble and in jail."

We need to be intentional as we teach and equip our children with the foundational principles and skills that they will need for happiness and success in an elementary school playground... and to be happy and successful citizens in a civil society.

Diane Medved, renowned family psychologist and author reminds us that in the Jewish faith, they say, "Derech Eretz kodmil ha Torah!"—BEFORE one can study and master Torah, one must have mastered manners!

Smiley Blanton, the renowned psychiatrist said that,

"80% of my patients would not be in my office today if their parents had taught them manners—how to get along in society."

In the 1700's, Britain was regarded as one of the cruelest of nations. It took the passion of one man, Member of Parliament William Wilberforce, to battle against slavery and to speak up against the corruption.

"I have two great objects, the suppression of the slave trade and the reformation of manners."

By the mid 1800's, the face and heart of Britain had changed, and England became known for its personal civility and business ethics. But now, just two centuries later, the citizens of Great Britain have lost or forgotten their manners to the point that the Education and government leaders of Great Britain were so appalled at the behavior and lack of basic civility of their young citizens, that this past year, committed $18,000,000 to the teaching of manners in the schools.

Our founding fathers brought these ideals of manners and respect as they formed our nation. However, it seems that our younger generation is not continuing this noble tradition bequeathed to us by our forefathers.

Former President Bush challenged the parents of America,

"Parents, you have an important role in the public schools of America. Send your children to kindergarten already having learned their manners!"

It has been said that "manners are the oil that lubricates society." The teaching of manners in past generations has always been a two pronged effort:

  1. Parents and grandparents taught manners & modeled them in the home
  2. Society reinforced the universal values of respect and The Golden Rule that hopefully were taught in the home. When children entered kindergarten, schools rightly assumed that manners had been already taught and learned in the home, although formal lessons did occur. Even George Washington as a child had a handwriting homework assignment entitled, "The Rules of Civility: 110 Rules of Civility in Conversation Amongst Men."
  3. In addition, the media and popular culture reinforced character and manners; athletes and entertainment icons upheld the standard. Even Hollywood had a written code regarding violence, cursing and mockery of people's faiths and values.

Our system of government was designed for a people who have self control over their behavior; if not, our behavior would need to be controlled by external means, such as the police. And as much as we appreciate our police force, no one wants to have to have a police officer every 20 yards on our streets to enforce the law.

The International Project for Manners & Civility seeks to inspire high standards of civil behavior—character, respect, civility and good manners—from the White House and Congress through to business... service clubs... universities and high schools... right down to Kindergarten and preschool. We want to inspire children, teens and parents to develop their character, and to encourage them to choose to do the right thing—out of the love of virtue, not just out of the fear of punishment.

Our children's behavior is just an outward expression of their inward character—who they really are. We don't want their manners to be something that they put on (like a hat) just to impress people. We want it to be real—a wonderful reflection of their character. The American and Canadian Projects for Manners & Civility has this vision:By influencing children and teens to live with manners and respect, we will help strengthen families.

  • By strengthening families, we will build stronger communities.

  • By building stronger communities, we will build a stronger nation.

  • By building a stronger nation, we will help make a better world.

May God Protect and Bless Protect Our Families

...because Manners Matter & Character Counts!

Join JUDI THE MANNERS LADY in helping inspire a new generation to live with Civility and Good Manners—and pull out crime by its roots—lack of respect for others & their property!

Manners Captured

Manners Quoted

“Manners are indeed very important. The Manners Lady CD will get excellent usage among our three grandchildren. Congratulations on the success of this project, and more importantly on your family life and all your successes. Your record of achievements is really quite commendable.”—Ken Thomson, The Woodbridge Company, Ltd.