Chivalries from the Cradle


We are all born rude. No infant has ever appeared yet with the grace to understand how inconsiderate it is to disturb others in the middle of the night’

– Anonymous.



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As implausible as it may sound, the Queen of England was, for a few years or so, as rude as an average toddler and only attained her queenliness after much polishing.

The good news has always been that social grace can be cultivated and easier so when it applies to the young who are very impressionable compared to ‘solidified’ adults.

It’s rather unfortunate that parents/ guardians in this part of the world associate poor manners with high social bearing. T

he more spoiled a child is, the more sophisticated he/ she is perceived to be.

There are parents that deliberately spoil their children in order to make them more….um…..’refined’.

What a pathetic irony.
What such people do not know is that it is possible to pamper a child without necessarily spoiling him/ her. T

he word ‘spoil’ connotes a negative action- it implies damage and therefore goes against the very ‘sophisticated’ image they are trying to portray.


I was once acquainted with a very rich couple who had an only oh-so-beloved child.

So impressed was I with their son’s impeccable manners that I keep imagining having a son like that.

Here were people living in lavish luxury, bringing up a fine young man whereas one would think he’d be spoiled beyond redemption because he was an only child.
If you are a mum, dad, aunty, uncle, godparent or guardian to some child (or you hope to be), kindly cultivate their gracious tendencies by teaching them to:


Greet: A greeting child instantly sweetens his/her way to one’s heart. Some cultures necessitate that the males prostrate (or bow) and the girls kneel or curtsey but a simple greeting, to me, is fine.



Thank: No, I do not expect your 18 month old ‘babbler’ to thank me for a gift but I may not be as amused when it’s your teenager in question.


Perform Chores: Thank God for boarding school where everyone had a ‘duty’ to perform. Assigning chores gives each child a sense of responsibility.

I respect that Michelle Obama trains her girls to do their laundry.

In her words, she will ‘cringe’ if they didn’t know how to.

If the first daughters of the US can do their laundry, trust me, your 12 year old can make her bed.


Clean: Children again need to learn that cleanliness is not the absence of dirt due to the presence of a maid but absence of dirt irrespective of a maid. They overcome laziness too by cleaning. What valuable lessons boarding school has taught me!


Practice Good Table Manners: If you instill good table manners in them, they will consider it alien to dine without them later on.


Be Kind & Compassionate: Does not the story where then-little Prince William slid toilet paper under the locked door between he and his mother (the beautiful Diana) when she was crying and refused to see anyone (because she found out her husband was cheating) just warm the cockles of my heart? Children are naturally sweet and can continue to be if this sweetness is cultivated. Just teach them the Barney way…. ‘It’s not so tough to share your stuff….’


Be Gracious & Gallant: Recently, I shockingly listened to a woman on the radio announce that she authorizes her young son to hit his younger sister, her daughter.

I compared this to Sam Adeyemi whose son was unanimously rebuked by his parents at his first ever attempt to hit his sister because in their words, ‘a man never raises his hand against a woman’.

One can infer from these scenarios who is grooming a gallant gentleman and who is grooming a wife beater.
I suggest parents/ guardians get a copy of Zig Ziglar’s “Raising Positive Kids in a Negative World”.



2 thoughts on “Chivalries from the Cradle

  1. Great..really great piece

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