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Spotlight on Ms. Renee King – Teaching and Modeling the Importance of Good Manners

Renee King

Article: Parents Magazine – 2005

NIH Director Francis Collins kicked off this year writing about the importance of respect as part of our day-to-day service at NIH. One of the basic ways we show our respect is through good manners.

"Manners—simple things like saying 'please' and 'thank you' and knowing a person's name - enable two people to work together whether they like each other or not," explains Peter Drucker, a Newsweek columnist.

And Etiquette guru Emily Post once said, "Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use."

Renee King Shares Her Personal Story

Renee King is one of the colleagues at the NIH who believes in the value of teaching good manners at home to build life-long respect.

Renee works in NIH’s Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and is Chief of the Special Emphasis Portfolios Branch of the Diversity and Inclusion Division. Besides working at NIH, Renee enjoys shopping, decorating and spending time with her family and friends; is passionate about event planning and plans to open her own facility that specializes in children’s entertainment and birthday parties.

She also loves teaching her twin daughters, Parris and Payton, the importance of good manners. Renee shared how she and her husband invested a lot of quality time into their children’s social skills so they can be positive contributors in our society. Renee taught her twin daughters at an early age the words “thank you”, and has demonstrated to them the importance of these words. Renee stated that she is raising her daughters in the way in which she was raised by her parents.

Today, Renee’s twin daughters have grown up to be beautiful teenagers with lovely manners. As they enter the workforce, they’re ready to model respectful behavior on their teams, whether at NIH or elsewhere. On teams where each person is respected, the entire organization functions more smoothly and can be more productive and successful.

5 Tips for Great Manners – for Adults and Children!

Parent’s Magazine ran an article listing five facts on the importance of good manners. (These apply to adults and children.)

Fact #1: Good manners are a good habit.

"Behaving politely is a way of life, not just something you pull out when you're at a wedding or fancy restaurant," says Robin Thompson, founder of and the Robin Thompson Charm School in Pekin, Illinois. "It's important to start as early as you can so manners become something a child does automatically, whether she is at home or away."

Fact #2: Polite behavior will help your child's social development.

Children who aren't taught social graces from an early age are at a distinct disadvantage, experts say. An ill-mannered child is a turn-off to adults and youngsters alike. While children aren't likely to be offended by a playmate who neglects to say "excuse me," they don't relish the company of a child who doesn't know how to share or take turns. "You wouldn't send a child off to preschool without a healthy snack," says Sheryl Eberly, mother of three and author of 365 Manners Kids Should Know (Three Rivers Press, 2001). "Sending her into the world without knowing social graces is equally problematic."

Fact #3: Learning manners is a lifelong education.

"It won't happen overnight, and you need to take it slowly," says Eberly. Introducing one new social skill a month is manageable. For example, one month a parent might teach a 2-year-old to say "hello" when another person addresses him and reward him with praise when he does so.

Keeping expectations in check is equally important. "There's only so much a small child can do," reminds Eberly. That same 2-year-old is not going to curtsy when ancient Aunt Mabel comes over for Sunday dinner. But he can greet her at the door and sit happily at the table for a limited period of time.

Fact #4: Your behavior counts.

"When you ask your partner to pass the salt, do it with a 'please' and a 'thank you,'" says Eberly. And role model good manners too. How would you feel if your child gave a fellow tricycler the finger when he cut her off on the sidewalk? If the thought doesn't thrill you, keep your hands and fingers on the wheel while driving. Inappropriate expressions of anger are rude and disrespectful.

Fact #5: Consistency is important.

Acquiring good manners takes lots of practice and reinforcement, so make sure you, your partner, and caregivers are encouraging (and discouraging) the same behaviors. If your husband lets your youngster fling food during meals and you don't, your child won't know what's expected.

It was a pleasure listening to Renee talk about the importance of teaching good manners to her children. Modeling these skills to our youngsters will help them throughout their lives in so many ways and give them opportunities that would not come without exhibiting these skills.

In conclusion, "Good manners are just a way of showing other people that we have respect for them." ~Bill Kelly

Renee’s favorite quote is “Each One Teach One”, which is an African America Proverb.

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