I am a huge fan of manners and showing respect to all people, young and old. I say yes ma'am and no sir to adults older than me, to my peers, and to children.
One thing this does, other than show the respect everyone deserves, is teaches by example. I think our children learn best by watching, at least at a young age. Sugar is very respectful. I hear yes ma'am from her more often than not. Ginger, being 6, has her swings. She needs to show a little more respect to me and her dad, but she still has good manners in public. This is a constant lesson. I will never stop respecting people and my children will see it every day. They will learn that manners are not just for special occasions. Manners are for every day and for every one. I say thank you to my children, to your children, to strangers' children. I hope that getting a simple thank you will make them want to do more for people in the future.
If I am polite, my children will learn to be polite. If I yell, my children will learn to yell. (Trust me on that one.) What does your child learn from watching you? Do you show your children the respect that you want them to show you? Next time your child does something for you, smile and say thank you, then watch their eyes light up and the smile creep over their faces. Smiling children are the best children!