Believe it or not, the above quote was attributed to the Greek philosopher, Socrates, (by his student, Plato) more than 2 400 years ago! For many years, however, historians and scholars have been searching for evidence of this, and arguing about whether or not the above quote did, in fact, come from the mouth of Socrates. Irrespective of the accuracy of the claim, we all know that when it comes to children’s manners, there is often great room for improvement!
Some 2 408 years after Socrates allegedly expounded on ill-mannered children, Daleen Taylor decided to take action against this Bad Manners Dilemma. It all started when she became involved with the marketing side of the school her children were attending. Daleen had no idea that she would soon become a very successful businesswoman …
Taking the leap of faith
“After a short period of assisting with the administrative side of the school on a temporary basis, I was presented with an opportunity to buy the school. So I did!” states Daleen very matter-of-factly. Despite not having any background in teaching, Daleen knew that her deep passion for teaching was enough to run a school. And, judging by the success of the school and the happy environment, it’s evident that she made the right decision. “I love it!” Daleen exclaims. “I absolutely love it!”
After being at the school for a while, Daleen noticed a general lack of social skills, etiquette and manners among the children.“It wasn’t that they were a bunch of naughty kids,” she explains. “They are great kids, but I was perplexed by the fact that most of them were completely unaware of how to interact with others, or how to behave appropriately in certain situations.”
Research, research, research
“I began researching ways in which I could help these children improve their social skills, on all levels and in all settings. While I was conducting this research, I began to understand how this more recent etiquette collapse had come about. Our children are living in a very different world to when we were brought up. In most homes today, both parents are working full-day; there are many single-parent families out there; meals are often eaten hurriedly in front of the TV; and our children are isolated in their bedrooms with hand-held technical gadgets in one hand, and a knife and fork in the other.
“Cultural diversity in our rainbow nation also contributes to a general lack of ‘universal rules’, when it comes to etiquette. We need to learn more about these differences and make an attempt to understand the customs of other cultures. I wanted to find a way to do something to change this – to help these children and their parents.”
After much research, Daleen failed to find any programme that was aimed at teaching children manners. “I kept thinking to myself how wonderful it would be if we could prepare young children in the pre-primary phase of their lives by introducing them to the benefits of good manners. This would not only benefit them, but also their parents, educators, and every other person they come into contact with. When I realised that my search for a programme had been futile, I decided to develop a programme myself. And that was how Manners4Minors was conceived!
“What began as a simple idea of teaching children basic manners has now evolved into a life-changing programme, in which a child’s self-esteem and confidence can flourish as he or she learns how to act appropriately in any given situation.”
The Manners4Minors curriculum includes the following lessons: The Magic Words; The Importance of Grandparents; We can’t Afford It; Restaurant Behaviour; Table Manners; I’m Different; Telephone Etiquette; Good Sportsmanship; Introducing Skills; Divorce; Help, I’m Lost; Bullying; The Difference between Being Proud and Bragging; Birthday Party Etiquette, and many more life skills.
With the overwhelming response Daleen received from the children, as well as teachers and parents, she began to realise the enormous business potential of Manners4Minors. “I decided to franchise, and that was when the real work began! Setting up the franchise business module was my hardest challenge. I approached many companies that assist with the setting up of franchises, but I was continuously disappointed by what was presented to me. So, I decided, once again, to do everything myself.
“I ‘googled’ for hours and hours and basically educated myself on the whole process of franchising – documentation, legalities, and so forth. I previously worked as a legal secretary, so my knowledge of legal documentation was definitely an advantage. An attorney, however, drew up the actual franchise agreement.
I also once worked as a consultant for a multilevel marketing company. My experience in this line, especially with regard to duplication, was a huge help. I have always believed that the little detours that life takes us on are all in preparation for what lies ahead of us.”
“The first franchise training took place in February 2008. It has been just over a year since then, and I already have 18 franchises.
“I keep in touch with the franchisees on a daily basis, which is usually via Skype, even while I’m cooking in the kitchen! Nevertheless, I am always available to franchisees whenever they have questions to ask or need support from me. And every time I receive a message, such as, ‘Thanks, Daleen, for this gift you have given us,’ from a mom who was able to resign from her full-time job to start a Manners4Minors franchise, I feel truly blessed.
“I am truly passionate about Manners4Minors, and I’m determined to get it into the underprivileged areas. The feedback I’ve received from parents in the rural areas is astounding. Parents seem to be desperate to teach their children about universal etiquette. I have taken a school in Soshanguve, Paballo Early Learning Centre, under my wing, and I’m currently teaching Manners4Minors at Cotlands. The children are reacting just as we anticipated, and the teachers are overjoyed at the positive effect the programme is having on the children.
“This business is perfect for graduates in early childhood development, and I believe that, if we could get this programme implemented on a large scale, it would definitely have a direct impact on the crime stats in our country.
“I have also been working together with a money fundi to create a project called Money4Minors. This project will use the same concept as Manners4Minors, but will educate children on money sense. Geared2go is another project I’m busy with. Geared2go is designed specifically for Grade 7s, to help make the transition to high school a bit easier for them.“
Back-up and support
“My husband is also involved in my business – he handles the financial side, while I do the designing and creating. As for the rest of my family, they are all very supportive and believe in me 100%!”
Published By: Coltrane Rathokoa