Use Your Manners!

“Where’s the ketchup?”

That’s what I just heard in our sweet little Christian school lunchroom, from one of our sweet little Christian school first graders. Not, “May I have some ketchup, please?” Not even an “excuse me.” Just a condimentary demand, treating our hard-working and incredibly gracious cafeteria staff like a Smart phone – speak your desire and get what you want.

This annoys me. And it happens all the time. I was at my children’s baseball games recently and watched a kid – who wasn’t even on the team – walk up to the mom who brought snacks and say, “I want one! I want one! I want one!”

I understand that our world is changing, that life in the 21st century is going to be different from life in the 20th century. I am okay with that. But I am not okay with good manners becoming obsolete. I am not okay with allowing children to make demands of adults – and having adults give into those demands.

And it’s not just because it’s “polite.” Although it is. Using good manners shows respect. That little girl who demanded ketchup demonstrated self-centeredness in the extreme. She wanted ketchup. She expected ketchup. She was a little put out because the ketchup wasn’t right there on the counter for her to take right away. She had to wait an extra 30 seconds. Did she consider the woman behind the counter was doing several jobs? She is cooking the food, placing it in the containers, keeping everything clean, and on top of that, keeping the plasticware and condiment basket full. Imagine what a difference a polite request would have made. And imagine a polite request followed by *gasp* a “thank you”?

But that didn’t happen. The girl demanded the ketchup, got it, and walked off. The end.

I am feeling guilty as I type this because I am thinking of times I am at McDonalds or Olive Garden or Wal-Mart, and I do the same thing. “I need more Diet Coke.” “Where’s the sweetener?” “Check, please.”

I am glad I heard that little girl today because I see other people’s rudeness far easier than I see my own. I may not be able to stop that child from being rude, but I can stop myself. I can make a point to thank those around me, to be patient when I don’t have exactly what I need exactly when I need it. I can gently remind my own students and my children to focus on being appreciative rather than being demanding.

Let’s not allow manners to go the way of cassette tapes and phones with cords. Please.

And thank you.


  1. Susan
    Apr 27, 2012

    Amen, Krista! Even though it still saddens, it doesn’t surprise! When I stop to consider how everything is “instantly demanded and given” today — movies on demand, apps on demand, coffee on demand, Wi-fi on demand, even saw a medical kiosk the other day for those who did not want to wait on the doctor!! Having worked in an enviroment where parents would come to pick up their little children and stay on their cell phone the entire pick-up process, it does not surprise me that this new generation has no manners…they are not being taught manners. Those little things that we take for granted, like stepping to the side of a walk when others are coming toward you, picking up a napkin you drop on the floor in a restaurant, and allowing an older woman to go in front of you, even though she is slower, these things are just not taught anymore. I would have probably been brazen enough to let the little girl know that something was missing from her lunch before she left the line…like her “thank you.” Thank you, Krista, for such a cool blog post.

  2. Rachelle Rea
    Apr 27, 2012

    Hi! I just found your site today and must say it’s one of the prettiest…reminds me of the Disney movie Tangled, actually, come to think of it. 🙂

    Your books look so beautiful. Going to read more about them.

    Oh, and we so need to start a politeness revolution. 🙂

    • krista
      Apr 27, 2012

      A politeness revolution…love it! I’m in 🙂

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