Nancy is a consultant at Dorrier Underwood where she creates innovative approaches to organizational transformation and effective leadership.
Her piece of advice for anyone in business is: Remember to use your manners, and work on getting along with the people around you.
She has developed story after story for how these simple rules we teach our children can yield exceptional results for adults at work.
Her grandchildren inspired her to write this book as she watched them grow up and mind their manners.
Nancy loves her grandchildren and writes stories with them... about crawdads, homeless people they meet, how to fry chicken, and how to get along when there is an argument. At Camp Nana, the granny camp she's led every summer for the past 16 years, Nancy and her grandchildren sing, dance, play games, and practice manners and help each other out. They also sit in hot tubs in Hot Springs, N.C. and make New Year’s resolutions for the school year: Do homework the right way. Practice my music. Be friendly to new people. Be a good baker.
In 1972, Nancy and some other moms decided to start a parent cooperative school. They hired two teachers and found an abandoned school building that they rented for $1 a year. The parents painted and repaired the space and built and fenced a playground. They bought school supplies, toys, and puzzles; laid carpet; and loaded the reading corner with books and pillows. Forty-six years later, the school is still going strong in Huntersville, NC www.TheChildrensSchoolhouse.org.
She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, and has two well-mannered children and their wonderful mates, four amazing grandchildren and an angel grandson, William, who is in heaven.
Discover Nancy’s first published book, Stan Went Fishing, Stories and Images of Waking Up, a book about moving from darkness to light that features Nancy’s writing and black and white photography from Paul Fetters.
Why a book about manners for today’s society?
This book isn’t focused on anything particularly wrong with “today’s society” but instead highlights the fact that good manners make relationships stronger between all people, especially when we have differing beliefs, customs, traditions, and backgrounds. Life is better when we respect each other, and good manners smooth the way for good relationships at home and at work.
What is the importance and value of etiquette?
I think of etiquette as rules, such as which fork to use and when and to whom to curtsy.
My concern is bringing awareness to manners and social thoughtfulness, teaching children to notice and be considerate of others’ feelings.
What do you believe is the cause of bad manners in our world today?
Anytime we lack good manners, today, yesterday, or tomorrow, is because we are unconscious and tuned out and forget in the moment to care about other people. We often tend to be self-absorbed and absentminded.
You have a background in education; tell us about your involvement in the Montessori Method of education.
When I was raising my two children, Thomas and Alice- Lyle, we lived in Davidson, NC, a college town. They were in a playgroup that met from nine to twelve every weekday morning. The other mothers and I took turns playing and “teaching” the children one day a week.
We watched our children grow, develop language skills, and move from playing independently side by side to interacting with each other. We watched them create relationships and learn problem solving with little adult intervention. It was fascinating.
This group of parents regularly discussed stages of child development, particularly theories of Piaget and Montessori. We were especially interested in how children learn from and teach each other. In 1972, we decided to start a parent cooperative school. We hired two teachers and found an abandoned school building that we rented for $1 a year. The parents painted and repaired the space and built and fenced a playground. We bought school supplies, toys, and puzzles; laid carpet; and loaded the reading corner with books and pillows. Forty-six years later, the school is still going strong in Huntersville, NC www.TheChildrensSchoolhouse.org.
What is Camp Nana?
I have five grandchildren (Phillip, Alexander, Davis, Julia, and William), and every summer we spend a week together at “Camp Nana,” a camp I made up just for them. Previous years found us in the mountains of North Carolina; the beach in South Carolina; in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas; in Chicago; in northern California; and most recently in Nova Scotia.
During each summer camp week, we have lessons on getting along with each other, resolving disagreements, cleaning up and doing chores, cooking, taking turns, and being respectful in using our smartphones. We practice listening to stories without interrupting, having long conversations and telling jokes, and playing music. We rotate on who picks the radio station and who rides “shotgun” in the front seat.
Now that the children are older, they actually handle most of this naturally with little input from me. I suppose this is the sign of successful camps!
How does having good manners benefit people as they grow from childhood into adulthood?
Good manners are attractive (that goes for good grammar and good diction as well). There are so many ways people can benefit as they make connections and cultivate relationships that forward their vision and commitments in the world.