DEAR ABBY: I work as a teacher's aide at a private religious elementary school. You would think the children here would be better mannered than most; however, I haven't found that to be true.
Rarely do I ever hear a "please" or "thank you." The other teachers and I politely remind the students to say both "please" and "thank you," but the lesson never seems to sink in. The children tell us their parents don't require such things at home, so they shouldn't have to say "please" and "thank you" or even "excuse me" at school. We have talked to these parents, and they side with their children. What else can we do? -- STUNNED IN SACRAMENTO
DEAR STUNNED: What else can you do? Talk to the children in terms of their own self-interest. Tell them that words like "please," "thank you" and "excuse me" are magic words with great power. People who hear them are far more inclined to accommodate the person who uses these words than someone who doesn't.
Parents who fail to teach their children basic good manners do their children a grave disservice, because good manners and respect for others are essential for success.