Courtesy for children - resources
Our homeschooling has tended to be done in waves, due to the ages of our children. Therefore, I often think that I've taught a child something only to realize that I haven't. I taught/read/did that particular fact/book/activity ten years ago with another child or group of children. The children of the first wave are now 27 and 29. The children of the second wave are now 14, 16, 18, and almost 20. The children of the third wave are 5, 9, and 11.
Years ago, I taught Glenn and Aric basic courtesy for boys/young men using nothing but a list I made and consulting Steve to fill in any gaps I might have.
For Tom, Jacy, Sarah, and Joan, we used some material from Rod & Staff, and filled in the gaps with my list.
About a year ago I realized I'd not assessed the manners and habits of the younger children. It is to be hoped that they have learned most everything they need to know about how to behave in a courteous and deferential manner from observing their siblings and Steve and me. And for the most part, I think they have. Still, it was evident that I would have to go over a few things with them so I looked for some books on manners that we could use along with the Bible.
We have to go to the Bible as our primary resource because all courtesy really is the working out of various admonitions in Scripture, and are evidence of our obedience to God and our love for one another. This is just as true for our five-year-old as son it is for his fifty-one-year-old father.
Finding verses that relate to courtesy makes a good Bible study. I've done it alone, and with the children, going from the general to the specific. Today we went over some of those verses again, as a review for everyone, and so that we could compare the Scripture to the books I have David and Marley reading.
Here are a few general verses that guide us in how to behave courteously - what it looks like, so to speak - and why we want to do it:
Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. (I Peter 3:8,9)
Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being. (I Corinthians 10:24)
For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. (Romans 12:3)
Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another. (Romans 12:10)
Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. (Romans 12:16)
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil. (I Corinthians 13:4,5)
One thing we agreed upon in our discussion this morning: etiquette is not always the same thing as courtesy. Etiquette is a custom or tradition that a culture or society decides. Courtesy is - or should be - the result of doing unto others as you would have them to you, esteeming others as better than yourself, humbling yourself, putting the comfort and well-being of others ahead of your own comfort and well-being, overlooking offenses, and being a servant, just as Jesus Christ acted as a servant.
Some of our verses that show courtesy more specifically are these:
You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God: I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:32)
Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips. (Proverbs 27:2)
If any of those who do not believe invites you to dinner, and you desire to go, eat whatever is set before you, asking no question for conscience’ sake. (I Corinthians 10:27)
David is reading Stand Up, Shake Hands, and Say "How Do You Do" It is primarily a book of etiquette, but we've enjoyed discussing it and why we differ on some points in the book. It also contains information he may never use (like whom one should tip or not tip on a cruise), and some information a bit obsolete (to have a good party with girls, one should have a record player and some popular records!), but he's enjoying it and as we keep going back to Scripture I think it's useful enough to continue reading.
Marley is reading A Little Book of Manners: Courtesy and Kindness for Young Ladies. While covering etiquette and manners, this book bases it all on the premise that "Love has manners." Some of the advice differs slightly from what we have our children do, but not substantially. I really like this book, and Marley is enjoying it, too. Covered in this small, prettily illustrated volume are: how to greet others; how to answer and use the telephone; what to do when you're a visitor; mealtime behavior; how to host or be a guest at a party; how and why to write thank-you notes.
Recently I saw that the same authors have written a similar book for boys. I think I may get one for Sam.
[Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]