Etiquette and Character Building play huge roles in shaping our lives and society. The home is the foundation for the up-building of the society and therefore, fundamental to its success. Everything starts from the home and feeds into the society.  This means if we want to put our society back in order, we must teach values in our homes; Etiquette and Character Building provide the necessary requirements for this.

“To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right.”…Confucius.

Setting our hearts right is where Character Education comes in to awaken the conscience and enable the human being to think right, choose right and act right.

 Etiquette is beyond using appropriate cutlery or the display of fancy lifestyles and preferences. Etiquette is about polite behavior and manners that promote Emotional Intelligence, Social Sensitivity and Good Public Behaviour.

Good Manners are the social glue that brings people together. It is the language of civility and socialization. Manners, Social Skills and Character Building are valuable gifts we can give our children because they equip them for future successes that will in turn build our society. Human beings are relational and if we lack the basic ‘social rules of engagement’, we miss out on many opportunities for advancement.

“If we are to promote National Security, Peaceful Coexistence, Orderliness, Respect and Consideration for all persons; we must teach Etiquette and Character in our homes. Everything starts from the home and feeds into the society.”…Jane Ndukwe

For a society to foster a Culture of Consideration, we must live by the Golden Rule – ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ Whatever will make me unhappy, I must not do those things to others.

The questions we need to ask ourselves are:

  • How can families foster positive interactions between adults and children?
  • How can parents make classroom management easy for teachers?
  • How can children develop healthy self esteem that will result in the attainment of lofty goals?
  • How can our society grow in respect and consideration?

The answers lie in what we do in our homes. Women are by nature, home builders and custodians of character building. Our natural abilities make these possible. Looking at our feminine qualities we can begin to see why women play a huge role in shaping the family and indeed the society. Our God given abilities include the following but are not limited to these: INTUITION – Deep inner sensing, FORESIGHT – Ability to predict what will happen in future, ABILITY TO RECOGNIZE TALENTS – Seeing the bigger picture, ABILITY TO NURTURE – Making things grow, PATIENCE – Ability to endure, CARE – Showing love and kindness, MULTI-TASK – Ability to handle more than one thing at a time, COLLABORATION –Team building and PRAYERFULNESS – Relying on the Almighty Father to make the right choices.

To foster positive interactions between adults and children, we must recognize the fact that adults create the atmosphere for children to thrive or fail. Being judgmental or comparing siblings will alienate children from adults and cause resentment. Parents and guardians should instead, lead children to the point of reflecting and making better choices.

When we teach our children to be courteous by applying social graces such as greeting, saying ‘please’, ‘thank you’, ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘excuse me’; we equip them for better integration and make classroom management easy for teachers. When we encourage our children to accept responsibility, we’re teaching them not to shift blames or make excuses. One of the fastest ways of teaching our children is for us to live by example. When we mirror what we speak our children will follow our footsteps.

When we adopt a ‘NO SHAME POLICY,’ we’re enabling our children to speak the truth without fear of being humiliated and punished inappropriately. When a child learns to reflect on his or her actions and understands why he or she is being punished for an action that needs immediate intervention, that child will make better choices next time. He or she will recognize that the correction is done in love and not in anger or done for the sole purpose of humiliating him or her.

Positive affirmations will help a child develop healthy self esteem. Negative pronouncements such as ‘You’ll amount to nothing,’ will erode a child’s self esteem. When a person sees worth in himself or herself, the confidence to attain high aims will arise. One of the things that make our children fall victim to bullying and abuse, is when they lack self esteem and think poorly of themselves.

Let children know that making a mistake does not make a person bad. It only means the person needs to learn the proper way of doing something. In addition, we ought to teach children to know that not being able to do something does not make a person a failure. He or she could be better at something else or with more effort, the person can do better. Being able to achieve these milestones in a child’s life will allow the child’s talents to show forth, which will enhance the child’s self esteem and confidence. Each human being carries within him or her gifts or talents, which if allowed to blossom will bring him or her great joy, fulfillment and recognition just as the Biblical injunction tells us: “A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men”…Proverbs18:16

Equipping our children with etiquette guidelines will build their confidence and promote positive interaction. A confident child is a happy child who will grow up into a happy and responsible adult. It’s never too late to teach our children the right ways to behave. Raising loving, happy and well adjusted children takes time and patience, but is certainly a worthwhile venture to undertake.

 “There is no doubt that it is around the family and the home that all the greatest virtues, the most dominating virtues of human, are created, strengthened and maintained.”…Winston Churchill.

Jane Ndukwe

Director, Genuine Womanhood Initiative