Manners Minute: Opening Doors for Others

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“The hardest job children face today is learning good manners without seeing any.” ~ Fred Astaire (attributed)

Recently, while sitting a good distance outside a coffee shop, I noticed two young mothers heading toward the shop door. Both had strollers and one had a 3 year-old in tow. As they reached the door, the mother with the toddler and stroller struggled to open the door, let her 3 year-old walk through, and then hurriedly crammed the stroller over the threshold before the door slammed shut.

As a mom with full hands, you’ve likely been in a similar situation at some point in time. But did you realize that you can avoid this situation by teaching your boys and girls – even as young as age 3 – the simple courtesy of holding doors for others? Teaching this mannerly habit allows children to begin thinking outside of themselves by showing kindness and service to others.

Putting it into practice:

1) Since children learn best by example, begin to teach this manner to children by modeling it yourself and kindly holding the door for those you meet while out and about, or even at home amongst your own family.

2) Teach your children to look behind themselves whenever they exit a room or building, always looking for an opportunity to hold the door for someone.

3) Whenever someone holds the door for you, model for your child the courtesy of saying, “Thank you,” loud enough for those holding the door to hear. Don’t forget to extend this same hearty gratitude to your children when they begin to follow in your footsteps and hold the door for you!

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Bethany Miller is the founder and director of Doors of Success School of Etiquette. A graduate of the prestigious American School of Protocol in Atlanta, Georgia and licensed by the renowned Protocol School of Washington, Ms. Miller is a teacher passionately seeking to encourage a revival of kindness and politeness in American society. For more etiquette tips, check out her course offerings and follow Doors of Success on Facebook!