Manners are something that people pay close attention to in the South. I have noticed that people pay more attention to them than they did in say . . . California. I mostly attribute that to where I lived in California and the high number of Asians that lived in the town I was from. Other things matter to Asian parents such as, "stop doing that and focus on your homework", "don't mess around in school, listen and get the best grades", and "your kid is so big and has huge feet", "eat healthy food not junky food" but manners is not a big deal, not a huge deal. That isn't to say that Asian parents don't care about manners, it just isn't the first thing they worry about and maybe they could improve upon that. Or not.
In California my parents and inlaws would comment on how great the kids were but they are the Grandparents and they have to say nice things about the kids. It wasn't until I moved here that I got specifics on my children's manners from teachers and other parents. The art teacher at school told me that the girls are so well behaved and good girls and she can tell that they have had good upbringing. The neighbor lady said that the girls were so good and polite. The lunch lady in the cafeteria told me that the girls are polite and smile and answer when spoken to and have good manners and always remember their lunch number.
Manners are important to me. I was raised by 2 women - I like to call it a Same Sex Partnership but it was my Mom and my Grandma. Technically however it was a Same Sex Partnership and they were big on manners. My Mom worked a lot and my Grandma held it together at home and they didn't have a lot of free time for sassy bratty kids that couldn't speak when spoken to or that were not respectful. That doesn't mean that we didn't push it - I remember my twin once using the word Bitch when talking to my Mom and he wasn't talking about a dog. But I have tried to do the same with my kids and manners and have tried to teach them to answer properly when spoken to and to not be so obnoxious that they are never invited back. And those of you that are not invited back, you know what I'm talking about and exactly why. And those of you that are invited back - you know how far having well behaved kids will get you. It will get you invited back!
It kind of has taken me by surprise this attention to manners. I didn't really pay attention to it until I started getting comments. But now that I have had comments I take great pride in my kids when we are out and about. And I take great pride in their "please" and "thank you" comments. And I love being able to navigate situations of all kinds knowing that they will behave appropriately. Now please stay tuned for the disclaimers.
Disclaimers: My kids are not perfect. Your kids are not all brats. My kids are sometimes bratty too. These were all comments made by others in regards to my kids manners, they could totally be blowing smoke up my ass.