Although western culture is readily available and is constantly affecting the youth here in the Philippines. Growing up in the Philippines still means that we have to strictly follow a few cultural norms, especially when it came to showing respect and being obedient to elders. Culture affects our manners. How we present ourselves to others and our social graces training starts at a young age. It’s important to consider the usual activities a typical Filipino family engages in and how interactions during these situations can influence their behavior.
Here are 10 manners Pinoy Kids should be taught.
Saying Po, Please and Thank You
Traditionally, in Tagalog, we use “po” and “opo” in conversations as a more respectful way of talking to someone older than us. It’s usually understood as saying please, however, “po” alone does not really have its own meaning. It does add formality and is used as a sign of respect. Parents should also encourage their children to say please when asking for a favor. They can be taught to say “puwede” which roughly translates to may. Also, a thank you or “salamat” is ideal after a request has been done or when receiving something.
When younger people greet older people here in the Philippines, they say “mano po” which simply means “your hand please”. In the Filipino culture, to “mano” is a tradition of greeting those who are older than you. The person giving the greeting bows towards the offered hand of the elder. They then gently take the hand of the elder and kiss the back of it or place it on their forehead. To mano is similar with using po. It’s a sign of respect to an elder. It’s also a way of way of accepting a blessing from the elder. Historians say that this practice has long been done since before the Spaniards came, so don’t break this beautiful tradition.
Aside from the common practice of knocking on closed doors and listening for a permission to enter before actually going in, we Filipinos usually say “Tao po!” when visiting someone else’s home. This is to signify your presence in someone else’s home. Think of it as introducing yourself and that’s you’re there, instead of just walking in and making yourself look like an intruder or trespasser.
Assist and Give Way to Elders
Aside from using “po” and practicing mano, kids should also be reminded about giving way to elders, especially in public. If there’s an old lady or man that’s standing in the bus, offer your seat to them. If you see an elder carrying a heavy load, you should offer a helping hand. Our culture places a heavy emphasis on caring and respecting elders, so it’s wise to nurture being helpful to others while they’re young. This also extends to people with disabilities and pregnant women.
Tito, Tita, Kuya, Ate
Another way that we Filipinos show respect for those who are older than us is by not calling them by their first names. The way we address people has a system. Older siblings, or those who are a few years older than you, are addressed as ate (for females) and kuya (for males). Grandparents or those who are in their senior years are called lola (for females) and lolo (for males). Even strangers are addressed with respect. Manang and manong are usually used to call middle-aged folks. It’s also respectable to address the friends of parents and the parents of friends as tito and tita, which is similar to calling someone as uncle or aunt.
Igalang si Yaya or Respecting the Help
It’s very common for Filipino households, especially for those who are in the middle class, to have a kasambahay (help or maid) or yaya. Not only do they have to clean and take care of the house, they also have to cook, do the laundry, and even watch over the kids while mom and dad are out to work. Kasambahays are welcomed in the family and are also treated as family. Infect kids often look up to them as older siblings and would call them “Ate” (older sister) as a show of respect. Parents should be good role models and remind kids to treat helpers (and everyone else they meet, no matter what they do in life) with respect and kindness.
Spoon and Fork – or Kamayan
Most counties in the west would use a knife and fork to eat during mealtimes. However, we Filipinos prefer to use a spoon and a fork. As kids, we were always told to use and hold the utensils properly while eating, and never point it at someone. It’s also improper to tap the spoon and fork together to remove little bits of food from the utensils. Licking the utensils is also frowned upon. In some cases, we forget the spoon and fork and eat with our hands. Kamayan is very common to us, plus some foods are just better eaten with our hands (like rice and tuyo). But even with kamayan, there’re still some rules to keep in mind. You should eat as neatly as you can and never lick your hands. Other table manners include not overloading your plate with food, or waiting for everyone to be seated and ready before eating.
We Filipinos are known for our hospitality, so why not teach kids this. A good example is our custom of asking others to join us in a meal. When there are guest in our home, teach your kids to be gracious and offer the guest something to drink or eat. Also, during parties, the guests are asked to help themselves to the food first before getting some for yourself. This teaches them about being courteous and putting other first.
Being Well Behaved in public
The Philippine is a deeply religious country. At a young age, we’re exposed to religion and religious practices such as going to church on Sunday. Although many think that it’s fine for kids to wander off and play while mass is going on, being well behaved in a public area should be thought to them. This shouldn’t be limited to church grounds. When going out to the mall or the park, parents need to educate their kids about not running around making loud noises. It may just be fun for them, but it could be disturbing other people.
Although not every Filipino family does this, a majority of Filipino households will actually have a space where you can leave your shoes outside. You don’t want to disrespect other people by walking into their homes with dirty shoes. Teach kids that if homeowners leave their shoes at the door, then it’s best to take them off and leave them there to.
Manners maketh a man as the old saying goes, and teaching kids the right manners at a young age can help them become better at social interactions as they grow. What other manners do you think should be taught to kids? Leave your comments and suggestions bellow.
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