MANNERS FOR TOTS
By Michelle Fix
As you page through magazines or flip through television channels lately, there is a disturbing trend frequently in the headlines: bullying. Whether on-line, in text messages, or face-to-face, there seems to be a marked increase in behavior that is not only uncivil, but downright cruel.
Human beings experience a range of emotions from love to joy to annoyance to rage. And have done so since the beginning of time. But over the centuries we have instituted a code of behavior to mollify the most heightened of these behaviors. We agreed to a social contract of civility by instituting laws, codes of conduct, and mores to which we are all held accountable.
This social contract has eroded of late – and is having deleterious effects on our personal relationships: rudeness is increasing, selfishness on the rise. How are we to combat this trend and reclaim our gentility and politesse?
By teaching kindness, respect, and value for others in a very simple format: good manners. To me, good manners are to reintroducing civility what eliminating squeegee guys were to Mayor Giuliani. They are quality of life issues. The way to build a society that is respectful of one another is to start small. And…start young. With toddlers.
From their first moments on earth, babies are influenced by the sights, sounds, smells, and energy surrounding them. And as adults, it’s our collective responsibility to ensure those surrounding influences are positive. Parents are the primary source of all teaching – by example and instruction. But it’s up to the rest of society, i.e. us! to reinforce those positive behaviors and values.
The time to start inculcating good manners is the minute a child starts to engage with their world – if it’s people, pets, or even things, they need to know that you must respond with patience and an understanding of how your response is received by the other being.
But this should be fun! After all, they are kids. We can’t harangue and berate them for misbehaving when they are just learning to “beehave”.
That’s where media can play a helpful role. Where we can introduce children to characters like the Glamour Bees! Honey Bee and Dew Bee are two adorable schoolbees who live and play in Florafauna and much like human children, are constantly exploring and learning.
But they also have special powers of the inner glamour of extra kindness and use those powers to help children learn to be kind and respectful through good manners. With a show like the Glamour Bees, kids can learn by watching – how to share, to let someone go first, behave at the table, respect their pets (no tail grabbing!). Honey and Dew just love to see good manners – their mantra is “Bee Kind! and Bee Polite!” and they want to share that with everyone.
My friend Dominique told me her 3-year old “started encountering situations that really upset her. For instance a little girl at her school called her a name and pushed her away. It would be great to have a show centered on being nice and respectful so that Gaia does not take what non-respectful kids say and do personally and has something that helps her (on her level) learn the right lesson. Your show can help our children become good people. Please let me know what I can do to help you make this a reality.”
You can actually all get involved to help make it happen! Glamour Bees was accepted on a funding site called Kickstarter. Please check it out www.glamourbees.com. Honey and Dew want to help children be kind, good little people – and hopefully stop the bullying trend in its tracks. Please join them!