Thursday, May 9, 2013

Manners, please.

I heard a quote once about manners that's always stuck with me...."Manners are something easily overlooked until they're not used." I took that to mean that if you keep practicing them on a regular basis, then you'll never forget them.

While growing up I can vividly remember how my Mother was always teaching, reminding, guiding us to use good manners. It wasn't an option for us to forget or get away with rude behavior. She was never overly strict about it, I think she was just raised right and wanted us to be too. Her big rules were to always say thank you (especially when someone gave us a ride home....we were drilled on this one!), hand write our thank-you notes, refer to money as "gift of money," never say the forbidden phrase "shut-up" (that was like a swear word in our house), and "Don't smack your gum. Smacking is for cows."

My favorite rule (favorite now, not at the time...) was how she wanted us to answer the phone. Here's a sample of the dialogue we were taught.....btw- I'm not at all joking.

Phone rings....

We'd pick up and say: "Good _______________(insert appropriate time of day) this is ____________(insert our name) speaking."

The person on the other line would then either hang-up, laugh, or compliment us.

Come junior high, this had to stop.

But, I promise you up until my teenage years that's what we did. I think it worked because we were always so excited when the phone rang (this is back before cell phones) and so answering the phone was considered a great privilege. I think it also helped clear up any confusion with which one of us they were talking to, although there were only 3 of us kids (kids are baby goats! That one came from my Grandma Betty) children. 

As a parent now myself, I too see the importance of manners. We started teaching them young, as well as leading by good example and now [proud bragging moment] our boys mostly say all their Please's and Thank-you's un-prompted. And it still brings me a smile every time every time I hear it. Seriously, there could be a mess of a disaster, but as soon as I hear "Sorry mommy, I can help clean it up" I forget about it and shine with pride. I also love it when I hear "Let's share Grant" or "Here, you can play with this toy." We don't set up ultimatums or punishments for not using good manners, we're just right there to correct them and repeat, repeat, repeat with what we expect to hear. They are learning that manners do matter and that having them will be beneficial all throughout their life.

If you're interested in tips on how to teach manners to your children, click here for an article from the Baby Center. There's also lots of cute books out there.....we like this Winnie the Pooh one. I've heard lots of good things about the above featured series by Munro Leaf.

Well, that's it from me....over the next few weeks we'll be busy celebrating lots of fun occasions in this busy month of May ~ like my husband's graduation, my husband and my b-day's, Mother's Day, a just-because-BBQ with friends, and a gathering of my fellow Motherhood friends put on by my Mother. We'll also be finishing up the nursery....only a little over a month to go before our new one will be arriving! 

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