One of the most important aspects of running a successful business and creating loving relationships with friends and family simply comes down to minding our manners – fundamental lessons ingrained in us as early as 2 years old.

As young as I can remember I’ve always wanted to be a “good girl” for my parents – eating my green vegetables, respecting my elders (my grandmother in particular – bless her soul) and minding my manners when my parents spoke with other adults. Fortunately, I wasn’t cast aside into the other room when my mother shared stories, and often gossip, with other family members. As long as I sat quietly, I was welcome. When I entered grade school and later middle school it was important to me to make a positive impression upon my teachers. I wasn’t trying to “please” them, I genuinely wanted to show my respect by putting 100% effort into my work.

Tonight, I watched as my son and daughter were indoctrinated into the social responsibility of being a caring, well mannered human being. Of course my eyes welled up more than once as I witnessed my babies growing up in front of me. My heart burst with pride watching them reflect the same manners and morals I’ve tried so very hard to project myself.

A couple important messages hit home tonight as the Cotillion’s leaders coached these young ladies and gentleman so I wanted to share them here.

1) Greet others with respect by remembering and calling them by name. This one in particular hits home for me with the brevity of email conversations. It’s as if starting with a courteous greeting is a waste of time. So often in a race to get to all the tasks of the day we get straight to the facts or direction and forget just to say, hello! Well I say NO! I don’t care if it takes five extra seconds or five extra minutes, starting with just a quick “Hi Marty” or “Thanks for the quick response, Mary” acknowledge the human being on the other end. It’s their time and attention you are borrowing too.

2) Being a good leader means setting a good example with each action and behavior. I consider this the number one responsibility as a human being.

3) Don’t be “cell”fish. Now this is an issue I didn’t have to be concerned with when I was 10 years old. Be present and put the phone and games away when we are in the presence of others. Treat those whom chosen to spend time with you as if they are the most important people in the world!

There are many more lessons from Miss Manners which I will share at another time, but today these are three that really hit home. So as I craft the day’s creation and enjoy a relaxing glass of chardonnay, I celebrate the creation of manner building with my children. May they remember these lessons and lovingly pass them along to their children and grandchildren.