Trying to stay on top of manners amidst all our other activities is quite the challenge … mostly because of my tendency to forget.

Oh… I probably haven’t introduced myself in a while. My name is Kay. I’m a recovering enabler, procrastinator, controller, over-indulger, … am calendar challenged and struggle with absent-minded forgetfulness. Until I’m pulled back into reality.

Driving in the car (surprise, surprise)…
“I’m starving,” announces Speed Police after she grumps into the car.
“What did you have for lunch?” I ask
“Nothing.”
“Was it gross?… ”
“No. I for- ”
“HEY MOM.. MOM…HEY MOM…” pipes in a kid from the back.
“What happened? You forgot it?”
“MAAAHMMM.  HEY MOM… I HAVE TO BE AT SCHOOL AT 7:15”
“Yes.”
“I’m so sorry Honey. How about if we – ”
“HEY MOM.  MAAAWW-UMMMM.”
“OKAY. Who’s doing that?!.. The completely interrupting me thing?!”
“It was me,” confesses Sister Save-A-Lot.
“Well, stop. … Did you hear me having a conversation? … I’m a person, you know. When I’m talking, I might like to finish a sentence before changing track. I’ll answer you when I’m done.”
okay.

New Manner Topic: Don’t interrupt people when they’re talking.

I think I forget to enforce common courtesy items like this because they happen day in and day out. The kids just get caught up in their own thoughts and forget that someone might be thinking about something other than them. I remember correcting the kids when they were younger. But somewhere along the way they’ve drifted back into some bad habits, and I’ve forgotten to remind them. Well, until our manner month.

Yet again, I’m hit square in the eyes with the essence behind most manners: considering others ahead of yourself.

“When you interrupt someone, you’re basically saying that what you have to say is more important than what they do.”
I didn’t mean to.
“Well, I’m sure you didn’t. But we’re all going to try to wait for people to finish talking before we jump in.”
Silence.

Apparently, I’ve shut her down. Yes… she’s moving into full tween-dom. The place where a few constructive words lead to silence. Any potential learning opportunity shut down by hurt feelings. I try to insulate my own feelings, act like an adult and keep on keepin’ on.

Manner Man of the Hour
Later, at dinner, TTO rocked. He & Sister Save-A-Lot agreed to share a Dr. Pepper (one can, two glasses of ice). Instead of hogging it all, he took her glass and filled it to the brim (who is this kid?!) and even gave Jack a few sips. When she didn’t like what was on her plate, he shared some of his coveted chicken quesadillas. He even let her sit in the front seat on the way home. I couldn’t believe it.

Who knows where manners will show up… But you can rest assured they are always putting others first.

Heard on the Street

Here’s a MOAT shout-out to mom Lynne who has her kids doing three simple activities this month. They all happen to be based on manners. She wants her kids to:

1) Address adults by name and look them in the eye.

“Hi Mrs Wyma”, said by one as he got in the car from school.

I missed the looking in the eye part since I was trying to drive.

2) Thank people by name.

“Thanks for the ride, Mrs Wyma”.

I’ve been driving the kid for years and have never heard much more than a peep from him (not that I expected it… I was just so surprised by the cheerful and sincere gratitude). It warranted a phone call – where I discovered her activity of the month and the third manner…

3) Answer a question with a question.

Adult: “Hi Bobby. How are you today?”

Kid: “Hello Mrs. Wyma. I’m doing well. How are you?”

… such a great idea.
LOVE IT. 3 simple things to get her kids focused on someone besides themselves. As a recipient, I was pleasantly surprised and touched.

Thanks for walking the road with me.
-Kay

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