I hadn’t learned the lesson of prepping kids ahead of time for situations like this. I hadn’t given him the skills to succeed. He didn’t even know he was set to fail and worse, let down a good friend…
It makes the blood drain from my face as I remember Jay.
Our son tore into his presents like a lion who had taken down a gazelle.
Jay’s body stood a little taller when our son grabbed his gift.
He cut grass, pulled weeds, and did odd jobs that spring.
All so he could bless his friend with the Lego set he knew his friend, my son, would want.
Jay was so excited.
All that hard work, all that careful planning. You could see Jay had invested more than money into that carefully wrapped Lego.
Our son tore through the wrapping, glanced at the Lego and declared, “I have this already”. Without a second glance, he tossed the Lego aside and broke his friend’s heart.
Has this ever happened to you?
You beam with pride with joy at how wonderful, caring, and thoughtful your kids are-
-and without warning, they prove your heart wrong.
- Before you beat yourself up for being a terrible mom,
- Before I drag my ungrateful son away from his new pile of gifts,
- I need to tell us something.
Kids are not born with good manners.
Children are not gifted with social graces.
Actually, it seems as though the opposite is true.
Our kids need our help.
They need loving, patient, and consistent training to help them learn how to love and be kind to others.
Sure, some kids are born ready to help, serve, and love.
Most need a bit of help, or in some cases a total overhaul. And that’s ok. Actually, it should be one of our central parenting to-dos.
MANNERS ARE A LOST ART.
When our son tossed Jay’s gift aside, he wasn’t trying to hurt his friend. He lost himself in the moment and became consumed by the excitement.
As his mom, I could have prepared him better.
A simple two minute role-play session before the party would have set him up for success.
“Opening presents can be thrilling. What should you do after you open each gift?”
“What happens if you see that you already have that toy?”
“How can you show each of your friends that you are thankful?”
This lesson needs to be reinforced all throughout life.
One of our college-aged sons recently did an act of kindness that blew up in his face.
Her arms were full, and he raced to open the door for her as a courtesy. He held the door open and smiled.
Imagine his shock when the young woman he tried to help she cussed him out!
I can’t even share the things she said. Horrible.
All because he opened the door…
AND YET, HE STILL OPENS THE DOOR FOR OTHERS- WITH A SMILE.
“Because it matters, mom. It’s kind, and it’s the right thing to do…”
Yes, it matters.
According to Family Time, Good Manners Are Good for Your Kids.
- Good manners are attractive. Other parents and adults prefer kids who are polite and so do school teachers. So do future employers.
- Good manners build self-esteem. When you respect others you respect yourself and that makes a person more confident.
- Good manners make others feel good. We all benefit when the people around us are more caring, respectful and compassionate.
- Good manners impress people. Your children will get positive attention and respect. Politeness is a sign of strength, not weakness.
So What’s a Mom to Do?
Let’s decide that Our Kids, Our Family will be different.
Incorporated manners training into our everyday lives; as a part of homeschooling.
How to Teach Manners Effectively
- Start where you are. It’s no use teaching your daughter to say, “It was so nice of you to visit today” if she hasn’t mastered the art of saying thank you.
- Pick one or two manners to focus on with your kids.
- Set up a “let’s practice” area and take turns exercising the new skill. Keep the practice sessions short and fun.
Before a playdate, outing, or family visit- Do a Quick Review of manners you want them to practice.
SO WHAT MANNERS SHOULD YOU TEACH YOUR KIDS?
It’s completely up to you and your family.
The most important thing is that you pick a few and get practicing.
This world needs people who:
- Say thank you
- Open doors for strangers
- Remember people’s names
- Offer to help
- And give and receive with kindness and grace.
Manners go a long way…