Please and Thank You

By Zig Ziglar

Of all the things a parent can teach a child, manners rates very close to the top of the “must teach” list.  Number one, when a child is taught, from the time he or she can talk, to say “thank you,” you are teaching that child thankfulness.  The insertion of the word “please” in a request changes the child from a demanding person to one who accepts the fact that when they ask a favor or make a request, the parent has no automatic obligation to respond favorably to that request.  Response to “please” is much better than the “get this for me” demand type of approach.

Psychiatrist Smiley Blanton says that roughly 80% of all of the counseling he does is the direct result of parents not having taught their children manners.  He emphasizes that he is talking about more than table manners; he’s talking about the whole spectrum of deportment and civility.  That’s significant because the record indicates that most top executives in any field of endeavor are courteous, thoughtful people.  Example: One hundred seventy-five of the CEOs of the Fortune 500 companies are former Marines and 26 of our presidents served in the military.  The military teaches respect and manners.  I challenge you, when you encounter a former career military person who moved up in the ranks, you will be impressed with their old-fashioned courtesies, including, “Yes, Sir,” “Yes, Ma’am,” “Thank you,” “Please,” and other expressions of good civility and deportment.  They are taught to serve before they earn the right to command.

Just in case you’re thinking, “But that’s old-fashioned and people don’t do those things any more,” of course, you’re right in both cases—which is the reason why the people who do take that approach stand out like beacons in the dark as they move to the top.  Think about it.  Be courteous yourself.  Teach your children to be courteous and I’ll SEE all of you AT THE TOP!

Zig Ziglar is known as America’s motivator.   He is the author of 31 books .  Check out his new book, Born to Win.

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