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Learning manners, respect is as important as ever

In a world we can all agree comes across as greedy, self-serving and obnoxious at times, finding gratitude, humility and contentment is refreshing and something to cherish.

As someone who was blessed to be raised in the South, I grew up learning the importance of saying “yes sir” and “yes ma’am” for no other reason than to keep from having to hunt for a switch or avoid my father removing his belt.

At a young age, I did not fully appreciate the importance of manners and respect. Those lessons came with age and discipline.

Today, as a parent, I find myself trying to teach the importance of such respect to my three.

There are moments when our children forget their manners — or choose not to use them. And nothing warms a parent’s heart more than for someone to come up to you and say, “your child is so sweet, so respectful.” When that happens, all you want to do is drop the mic, walk away and go to your happy spot and celebrate a parenting win. Those feelings of victory are few and far between and deserve the appropriate amount of celebration.

This brings me — rather in a round-about way — to the Leader In Me program that has been installed and nurtured in our public schools. From pre-K through graduation, children in the Vicksburg Warren School District are given the tools and the roadmap not just to become good and successful students, but good and successful individuals.

I have seen first hand the impact this character curriculum has had on my children and has provided a consistent and strong reinforcement to many of the things we try to instill in our children at home. In some cases, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” have made us better parents.

Recently a teacher sent Stephanie and me a photograph of our youngest, Fin, who is a first-grader at Bowmar Elementary, taking part in his iLead job.

Each week, Fin has the “job” of reading a book to a kindergarten class.

Our middle child, Clayton, a second-grader, has the same job, working with first graders with their reading.

The joy and excitement they have for their jobs is contagious. Their enthusiasm when they wake up on the days they get to help is something to behold.

Our oldest, Sarah Cameron, who held iLead jobs when she was at Bowmar, has also been touched by Leader In Me and it has helped her become a better student and person. We do not have to worry about using her manners or showing the respect an individual deserves.

There are not many times when I get to say “thank you” in such a public way, but today I do. I get to say “thank you” to those who worked so hard to make Leader In Me a reality, and who continue today to make sure the program is continuing to grow.

Parenting, they say, is the hardest job you will ever love. That’s true. Thankfully, our schools today are making that job a bit easier.

 

Tim Reeves is editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at tim.reeves@vicksburgpost.com.

About Tim Reeves

Tim Reeves, and his wife Stephanie, are the parents of three children, Sarah Cameron, Clayton and Fin, who all attend school in the Vicksburg Warren School District. The family are members of First Baptist Church Vicksburg. Tim is involved in a number of civic and volunteer organizations including the United Way of West Central Mississippi and serves on the City of Vicksburg's Riverfront Redevelopment Committee.

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