Monday, July 14, 2008

One good mother is worth a hundred schoolmasters

From My Say



I BEG to differ with the view that we should start teaching the young about good manners in school, as expressed in the letter “Graciousness should be norm” (my paper, July 11).


At best, teachers can only help parents to reinforce what has been taught by them to a child about the virtue of practicing good manners.


It is the duty of parents to teach their children good manners. They should own this responsibility and not leave it to the teachers.


Here is an example to illustrate my point.


I was travelling on an MRT train some months ago and saw a young mother together with her toddler boarding the train at Clementi MRT Station.


They were both standing and she was having difficulty managing her son, but none of the passengers seated nearby seemed to be bothered about her predicament.


Later, a man in his 50s offered his seat to the young mother and her child. She thanked him for the seat and even got her child to say “Thank you, uncle” in Mandarin.


Her child was seated on her lap and, before they alighted at Tanjong Pagar MRT Station, she again asked her child to bid the Good Samaritan farewell with: “Uncle, thank you for your kindness. Bye bye.”


I was impressed by this young mother’s exemplary way of imparting good manners to her son.


It reminds me of what the late William Barclay, professor of divinity at Glasgow University, once said: “A good mother is worth a hundred schoolmasters.”


Mr Nelson Quah

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