Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Be Nice

Since when did good manners become an option? Aren't you supposed to be polite? Seriously, I thought it was just a given that everyone in the world knew good manners and displayed them at every chance they could. Why do we keep asking what is going wrong in the world when the answer is so simple? The more we act without good manners and allow our children to not have good manners, the worse things seem. It's such a simple fix, yet not enough of us think anything is broken. How many of you have children that think the magic word is Now instead of Please? How many of you don't teacher your children proper salutations for elders. How many of you don't get up from your seat to greet someone? Do you let an older person sit in your seat or go ahead of you in line? Remember, your kids see what you do and model that behavior. So, it's great to tell them to have respect for age, but if you don't have it yourself, then they won't really learn. During this parenting class, I read something that said teach your kids not to be rude. What wonderful words. It's one thing to teach your kids to be polite, but how much easier it is to teach them to not be rude - to not push or grab or whine or yell. And, one of the golden gems of advice? The interrupt courtesy. I know a lot of you already do this, but if you don't - give it a try. Teach your kids that when you are having a conversation (in person or on the phone) and they need your attention, that they should put their hand on your arm (or shoulder or side). That let's you know that they need you. You can then respond by putting your hand over theirs, letting them know that you are aware they need you. When there is an opportunity for a break in the conversation, say "excuse me" and then address your child. It even works with adults! This one little trick can save you from getting frustrated with your child - you know the one who only wants to talk to you when you pick up the telephone! It will also show other people that you have respect for them. How rude is it to stop someone mid-sentence to bend down and talk to little Becky, who was tugging at your shirt and saying "Moooom, Maaammmaaa!" The child is not the center of the universe and if you keep letting her think she is, she'll believe it. You might think it's not so important, but it is. I know it. It will change the way your children treat other people. Children without manners become adults without manners. They become the people who don't say thank you when you hold open the door or let them in front of you in traffic. They become the woman who walks down the aisle of the supermarket reading a magazine (yes, it's true) so that you have to scurry out of her way. They become the people who think it's okay to talk on a cell phone in a restaurant or library (where I am blogging right now and yes, a phone just rang). Even if you don't feel like being nice, be polite. Show good manners. Let your kids see that it's okay to say Ma'am or Sir or call someone Mr. or Mrs. or not to run in the store because it might startle someone or not to try to be first in line all the time. It's okay to hold open the door for the lady with the stroller or the man with the packages. It's a good idea to let your grandfather say grace or your grandmother be the first to roll the dice during the game. Good manners are good things.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


You hear it all the time - live each day like it's your last. Enjoy your time together. Cherish every moment you have. But you forget. Today, a little girl from my church is going to be remembered - not for succumbing to the leukemia that attacked her body for the last four years - but for being a joy to her family and her friends and to God and everyone around her. I can't imagine how hard it must be for her parents today and it makes me want to hug my kids a little longer and tighter. Sometimes it takes a bad experience for us to remember how blessed we are to have people in our lives. Do you thank God every morning when you wake up that He lets you share another day with them? I know her parents did. I know I do. But, I still feel guilty when I don't cherish every moment. I get angry when I don't leave my children feeling like they are the most loved person in the world. Sure, they're not going to want hugs and kisses all the time, but was the last thing I said to them words of kindness and affirmation? Or was it sarcastic or stern? I know life isn't always a country song, but if tomorrow never comes, will they know how much I love them? Some people aren't good with words or physical affection. My love language is acts of service. I do things for people to show them I love them. But, for my kids, that language is foreign. I used to think they didn't appreciate the things I did, but now realize it's because they don't have the same love language as me. When you show love a certain way (as I do with acts of service) then you hope to receive it in the same way. So, when someone does something nice for me, I think of that as a loving gesture. For my kids, physical affection (hugs and kisses) and words of affirmation (good job, you really did well on your math test, I'm so proud of you) are what they speak when it comes to love. So, my mission is to work on that. I'm not a huggy, kissy type of gal, but I have to be when it comes to my kids. I have to let them know that I cherish them and the time I have with them. I never know when they or I will be called home to be with our heavenly Father. And, while we're still here, I've got to show them that you're never too busy to show someone you love them.