Jodi Tempero does not sound like an old fashioned lady in our story today on the school she is establishing to teach children good manners. She does not claim to be especially well versed in the subject. She is an ordinary modern mother who has noticed children are losing many of the minimal manners of human society, mainly because they are on their phones.

Being on their phones these day does not even mean talking most of the time. It means being absorbed by text messages or pictures on the screen. The first thing her school will probably need to do is to teach the kids to put their phones away - not just down on the table or in their lap so that they can glance at them during desultory conversation.

The second rule will be to leave them out of sight. A generation is growing up accustomed to looking at their phones while somebody is talking to them. People used to say, "excuse me" when a telephone demanded their prior attention. Now hardly anybody bothers because phones divert their attention so frequently.

No wonder table manners and other common courtesies are also slipping. They developed out of consideration for others in human company.


Tempero says she has been inundated with interest from parents with children as young as a year old. But her school even more than most, will need to keep parents up with the play. Good manners start at home.