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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Training Common Courtesy

I remember being very afraid of adults when I was a child. They intimidated me so badly. I couldn't even look them in the face. Talking to them was out of the question. They were different beings from a different world, and I was definitely an outsider.

When I was in third grade, my teacher, Mrs. Fitzgerald, the lady who, before lunch, would tell us to go "warsh our hands," shared with us some very important words--"warsh" was not one of them. On the very first day in her class, she taught us "please" and "thank you." I often think back on that day. It left an impression. Those two phrases empowered me. These were two of the many keys to that different world to which I didn't belong.

I somehow knew that if I used "please" and "thank you" in the correct context and at the right times, I could communicate with the alien adults around me, and they might not even understand that I wasn't of their world.

Those words became part of me. More importantly, Mrs. Fitzgerald empowered another generation.

From the time they are babies, I teach my children to say "please," "thank you," "excuse me," "I'm sorry," and "you're welcome." I want my children never to feel that they don't know what to say. These words are always appropriate no matter what age person you're talking to. I want them to understand the context of these words and phrases, so they can use them with confidence.

"Please" and "Thank you" were uttered before this happened
From the moment they learn to request things, "please" is required. They quickly learn that that word is like payment to mom. If I don't hear it, they don't get it. The moment I hear it, if it's something they should have, I hand it to them, but I don't let go until I hear "thank you." Yes, I'm a bit ornery about it, but I figure it will have long-term blessings to their lives and the lives of those around them.

Along with all of this, I understand that, as a mother, one of my main purposes and tools is to set the example for them. I can teach them to do this all I want, but unless I do it myself toward them and everyone else around us, I will fail miserably.

As time goes on, it seems that our world is becoming less and less civilized. I believe that language and how we use it plays a huge part in this. The more polite our language, the more civil we become.
Language isn't the only factor to civility, but common courtesy is HUGE. If we can respect others through our words and actions, our world will become that much better. We moms can make a difference in this world every day. Even with just a couple of words.
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1 comment:

Jo Tapasa said...

In our home such words are also keys to happiness. Another gem I want to share is that in our home when someone addresses another person (i.e.: "Z"), the response is not "What?!?" or "What." or "Whaaaaat?!?!" The proper response in "Yes,(conversation initiator's name goes here)". For parents and sibs alike. In my opinion (and experience) the word 'what' can oh-so-easily be riddled with disdain, attitude, annoyance...you get the idea. Sure does make for more civil communication, I think.
I sure love reading your blog and have no clue how you find the time to write so often and so well.
Much love,
PS Lagi (Long-E) is dying to meet her friend Lolli. Ya all coming for the 4th? (hint!)

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