One of the biggest complaints that many adults who grew up in previous generations constantly have about today’s youth is their lack of manners and refinement.
About a generation ago, the laws of ethics and good manners were so well defined that many children entered grade school already knowing the importance of respecting their teachers. Boys and girls raised their hands to ask a question. Such phrases as “pardon me” and “thank you” were uttered out of respect.
However, today’s youth since of malaise in dealing with issues of politeness has reached alarming proportions, causing many to question the reasons for such a dramatic drop.
The reasons could stem from the breakdown in the family structure. With more single mothers raising children there’s less of an emphasis on manners as mothers have more pressing issues at hand, such as finding adequate childcare and paying their bills. The society is also more sexually liberated than a generation ago. Sexual self-expression, especially from girls is more accepted today.
Although many have complained about this generational disconnect, few have turned it into a crusade the way Kyle Wade has. A health care professional by trade, Wade started the “Polite & Powerful Project” in 1992 as a means of reaching out to youth and reinforcing the importance of manners, ethics and a greater sense of self.
“The Polite and Powerful Project is designed to address the attitudinal behaviors that have become so disruptive in schools across the country,” said Dr. Wade. “The life/social skills students’ gain will assist them in developing high self-esteem, a strong character, the ability to resolve conflicts, universally acceptable social skills and an appreciation for diversity. “With the new millennium and the explosion of new technology and the need to prepare our young people for school/ workforce, we must focus on a more humane/team approach,” Dr. Wade concluded.
Dr. Wade generally works with children grades Kindergarten to high school during the 8-week project. There is an emphasis on hands-on training in small group settings. The project consist of six essential life/social skills, with 16 workshops consisting of about 24 students – 12 females and 12 males. The two groups meet separately for 90-minutes two days a week.
“By sepaerating the groups of boys and girls, each student can experience for themselves how important respectful communication and behavior is in building self- esteem/self-worth and in displaying a sound respect for others,” said Wade.
Course highlights include:
? High Self-Esteem
? Character Building
? Telephone Etiquette
? Table Manners/Identifying Utensil & Silverware Technique
? How to Set an Informal/Formal Dining Table
? Appropriate Attire & Topics of Conversation
? Dreaming Big & Planning For Success
? Famous Quotes To Live By and Build On
The project culminates with a four-course luncheon at a 5-star restaurant and the interactive segment, The Polite and Powerful Comedy Challenge Competition. This is the first test for the students to see how much they’ve learned.
“The importance of knowing that the silverware should be on the table to the left and the glasses should be on the right is important,” said Wade. “These children will be in settings where their knowledge of manners and politeness will determine whether they are hired at a certain job or secure a deal with a business partner. They want to be prepared.”
In the 12 years since the project began, Wade has worked with groups such as Schiller Elementary School on 640 W. Scott to Jane Addams High School (summer program), 1800 W. Cuyler. Wade hopes to expand the program in the next few years and make it a curricula in all schools throughout the country.
To contact Wade about the Polite & Powerful Project, she can be reached at Wade and Wade Enterprises, Inc., 6355 N. Broadway, Suite 23, 773/381-9160, e-mail: Dr.KDWade@politeandpowerful.com.