top of page

Manners Matter

Updated: Jan 31, 2020

Featured on the Hong Kong Economic Journal (February 4, 2016)

I spent a number of my years growing up in England. My family moved there for 2 years when I was 8 years old and I later attended boarding school for my last two years of high school. I have so many fond memories of studying in England and it was there that I built many friendships that have lasted until this day. When I first attended boarding school, I remember being taken aback by certain things in the culture. I wasn’t used to younger students holding the door open for me, I wasn’t used to scooping up my peas onto the back of my spoon when eating (I later learnt that the fork prongs should never face upwards when being held with the left hand) and I certainly hadn’t needed to say ‘thank you’ to my teachers after each class when I studied in Hong Kong. All those things were rather new to me at the time but looking back, I am so thankful that I had learnt those things at a young age.

One thing that concerns me is that children nowadays aren’t learning even the most basic of manners. When academics and grades are held to utmost importance, other things can be overlooked with the excuse that children need to ‘focus’ on ‘important things’. But my view is that having manners is a basic form of respect to others and really is one of the most important things to learn in life. I think all children should show have the following manners and that we as adults should be role models for them:

1. Manners when greeting others

This really is the most basic to me - that manners are used when greeting and speaking to others. For children, it’s as basic as looking at someone when they are speaking to you and to address someone with polite words and their name when appropriate. To speak to people with a smile and to listen intently when the other person is speaking.

2. Manners in preferring others