Mind Your Manners: A Loss of Respect Can Absolutely Lead to Acts of Violence

By Tracy Renee Lee

August 25, 2022

Years ago, when my children were little, we lived in San Diego, California. My husband was in the Navy and his Duty Stations were there. We lived in San Diego for 20 years. At the end of 20 years of military service, my husband and I had a big decision to make. We discussed our future and decided it was time for him to retire. Our decision was not based on his career but our children’s futures. At the time, we had young daughters and we knew that if we stayed, the likelihood of losing at least one of them to violence was higher than we were willing to risk.

We had a thriving San Diego and North San Diego County area business during that time. Many people could not believe that overnight we decided to leave and that within one month, we were gone. Fortunately, our home sold before we even had the real estate sign up.

I think back at how difficult that move was for us. We gave up every ounce of wealth that we had. We fell from a nice income into poverty and we suffered immeasurably. Our girls suffered too, but the suffering was worth it in the end because we saved our children from possible doom.

They are now loving, kind, respectful and respectable adults.

Watching their parents work so hard for their futures taught them that nothing is free and that if you want a better life and to be out of poverty, you have to work for it.

They learned the virtues of ethical behavior and decisions, charity for others and the tenacity to never give up on themselves. They learned to render service to those in need and that the right thing to do is always the right thing to do. These lessons have made my girls amazing women.

They are kind, benevolent, generous, sincere, honest and praiseworthy. I love them and I am so proud of them.

As a funeral practitioner, I see all sorts of violence. I see adults committing crimes against other adults. I see men killing women and women killing men. However, the worst thing I see is violence perpetrated by and on children.

I live in a small Texas County. My county is supposed to be safe, a small county where neighbors take care of neighbors.

To a greater extent, my county is like that. Lately, however, a few misguided souls have stepped out of line and tragedy has struck us at our core. It’s not just in my county, but all around. I see it on the news across our beautiful country and it breaks my soul.

I wonder why? Why has violence become so prevalent lately?

What has happened to neighbors helping and loving their neighbors? What has happened to people helping each other when misfortune comes their way?

I am not at home this week.

One of my daughters needed me to be with her for a while to help her through some health issues this month. I am back in a western state. Wow, how I miss the South where people say, “Yes, Sir” and “Thank you, Ma'am.” My daughter intervenes continuously when she sees me getting tight-jawed when someone says, “Yeah” to me at the checkout line, or a man forgets to be a gentleman and steps in front of me rather than yielding as he should.

Perhaps I was raised in a different time. I know I was. I see that courtesy is, for the most part, passé. That’s a shame. I was raised by a southern mother who taught her children that manners matter. But I have noticed that where the family breaks apart and manners are allowed to slacken, rudeness eventually leads to violence and that violence can and sometimes does, lead to loss.

It seems a simplification to say that a loss of manners may lead to an eventual loss of life; however, the loss of manners is a loss of respect and loss of respect absolutely leads to acts of violence. Violence is never the answer; it only leads to heartache, pain and eventual loss.

I am tired of seeing children losing their lives because someone failed to learn respect. The answer is so simple. I plead with each of you to teach your children to respect themselves and others. Start with manners. Manners breed respect. Save your children by arming them with the basics of good behavior; one day, it might save their lives.

I have seen the miracles of good behavior. I have also seen the grim reapings of poor behavior. I can attest to you that good behavior and respect are where you should start. Imagine making the world a better place and saving the lives of America’s children by teaching them to mind their manners and respect others.

My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am a Certified Grief Counselor (GC-C), Funeral Director (FDIC), published author, syndicated columnist, Podcaster, Founder of the “Mikey Joe Children’s Memorial” and Heaven Sent, Corp. I write books, weekly bereavement articles, Podcasts and Grief BRIEFs related to understanding and coping with grief. I am the American Funeral Director of the Year Runner-Up and recipient of the BBB’s Integrity Award.

It is my life's work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.

For additional encouragement, please visit my podcast “Deadline” at: https://open.spotify.com/show/7MHPy4ctu9OLvdp2JzQsAA Or at: https://anchor.fm/tracy874 and follow me on Instagram at: "Deadline_TracyLee."