Good Manners or Good Grades: Which Would You Choose?

iVoice Amanda Rodriguez attends a breakfast featuring Sarah Jessica Parker and heads home thinking about etiquette and education.

I was more than honored to be one of the lucky attendees at the recent Women at NBCU's "Power of the Purse" event on Oct. 4 (which iVillage live-streamed and live-chatted about.)  The highlight was a live interview with the amazing Sarah Jessica Parker by Andy Cohen of Bravo -- and not just because I’m nursing a pretty well developed mom crush on SJP.  It was also just super cool and, dare I say, intellectually stimulating, to be in a room filled with powerful women (many of whom are mothers).

It’s not everyday I get to rub elbows with news anchors, Fortune 500 business executives, and thought leaders of all types. So, yeah, I actually learned a bunch too -- like the fact that 77% of moms would rather have their children grow up with good manners than good grades, according to a new reseach study by Women @ NBCU.


This tidbit really demonstrates that, despite what some would have us believe, parents of today’s children are very interested in building a family with good traditional values.

Just how to blend tradition and core values into today’s highly modern, tech-savvy family is a concern many of us share. Finding ways to meet the demands of work, provide healthy lunch options for our children, have stimulating conversations and romantic date nights with our spouses, all while finding time to focus on our fitness, stay abreast of current trends and topics, and maybe even sleep a bit is something all of us moms are striving to do.  The question is just how do we mesh this on-the-go lifestyle with the more traditional family life many of us seem to crave?!

Moms are talking about it. Sometimes even dads are talking about it. And now, more than ever, brands are talking about it too.

As a mom of three little Dudes, I’ve personally been adamant about celebrating certain traditions with my family (watching a movie together on Christmas Eve, making sure the kids write notes to Santa, etc.) and instilling values that will allow my little Dudes to grow up to be contributing big Dudes that people actually like to be around. It’s a major part of how I make my daily parenting decisions.

But something about this particular stat didn’t feel right for me.  I agree that being a good person is far more important than being a good student, but I didn’t like the either-or of it.

I guess I just take the fact that my Dudes are going to be well mannered, good people as a given.  For me, my boys NOT being good people is NOT really an option. I naturally assume that they are going to be (they are already) because we are raising them in such a way that they just sort of have to be!

I’m not going to get up on my mommy high horse here and say that I’ve got the whole motherhood thing figured out, but I will say that if there’s one thing Dumb Dad and I are doing that isn’t dumb, it’s that we’re raising three respectful, courteous, well-behaved (at least in public), remarkably handsome, kind hearted Dudes.

But, a stellar math student? Not exactly!

My greatest concern on any give school day is not if my son will say, "Thank you," when the cafeteria lady serves his lunch, it's if he's going to spend the afternoon crying into his notebook because multiplication is blowing his mind. 
He is an average student who tries super hard and wants to live a similar lifestyle that his father and I are able to provide for him. Ask him what he wants to be when he grows up and he’ll say unequivocally, “A computer guy in an office like dad!”

Well, dad didn’t get that way because he said, "Please" and "Thank you."  He got that way because he worked hard, he got good grades in school, he went to university, and he’s worked his tail off since, and they know that.

Admittedly, being a nice guy helped too, and it seems that good manners and good grades go hand in hand; having one without the other is just not likely.

So, do I want my Dudes to be well mannered, functioning members of society who make good choices and are generally pleasant to be around?!

Of course!

And, do I also hope for them to have the opportunity to one day attend a good university and become a rocket scientist on a space ship to the moon?! You betcha!

My ultimate goal as a mother is to raise super nice kids that are also academically successful.  Call me greedy but I don’t want to have one over the other; I'll take both please. And, thank you!

iVoice Amanda Rodriguez is the mom behind the popular humor and parenting blog, parenting BY dummies.

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