Children should be taught respect and courtesy just like any other Christian virtues. I often encountered teenagers who don’t even know how to greet an older person. Some are simply ashamed, others are plainly ignorant of (Good Manners and Right Conduct) GMRC. When we were young students, we would always greet our teachers whenever they entered the classroom. Now – particularly among college students – when a teacher enters the classroom, she is the one who greets the students.
It is sad. But children of Christians should never be branded as lacking courtesy or respect. They should be taught to greet people, young and old alike, to say “please” and “sorry”, and to answer politely when asked. Saying “po” and “opo” is unique to Filipinos. Foreign influence or the modernity of the times must not erase our distinctive way of showing respect to elderly folks.
Parents should be good examples to their children. In our house, it is my policy that anyone should say “good morning”, and “good night” to each other. This makes it easy for them to be courteous to others. We can also take courtesy to a higher level by greeting people we don’t even know. You will see that our greetings always elicit a smile and warm greetings back to us. Gentlemanly ways and feminine behavior can be taught as our children grow older.
We must also warn our children that the worst form of disrespect is to make tantrums, to answer back, or to make faces whenever they are being corrected or disciplined.
They must realize that Tatay is working hard to provide for their needs, and Nanay is likewise working hard to take care of them. Disrespect to parents is like biting the hands that feed them. Yet it is common to see children shouting at their parents (oftentimes mothers) even in public.
Teaching godly virtues is a daily struggle. But God is our Helper. And our great reward is to see our children growing in godly virtues.