As we sink into our manner efforts, I’ve been enjoying a few fruits of our labor.

Getting in the car on Sunday, TTO graciously opened the door and actually let his sister sit in the front seat – all without a single word from me. … I could barely believe it, but boy did I gush – on the inside. He doesn’t like to have all the attention. So on the sly, I caught his eye and gave him a thank you wink.

When we arrived at the Mall (have I mentioned we love the mall? :) and needed to hop on an elevator – yes, again, the kid let the others go in ahead of himself rather than mad dashing like the rest of the crew to see who could press the button first. Granted he’s a bit older and really couldn’t care less about punching the button, but it sure is nice to see him at least considering the idea of manners.

While we were on the elevator, I ventured down my all to familiar mini-lecture road.
“Now it’s always nice to let the ladies in the elevator get out first.”
“Well….. because.”
“What if the elevator is on fire,” asks Slow Walker, “am I supposed to just burn up while the girls go first?!”
“No. …. And I highly doubt the elevator will be on fire.”
“If it is,” pipes in TTO, “you have to crawl out the top – because there’s no way you’re getting out the door.”
Everyone looks up.’
“Where’s the door for the top,” nervously asks Speed Police. “I don’t see a door. … What’s out there?! Will someone come help us??!!  ARE WE GOING TO BURN UP?!!!”
“I’m scared,” adds Sister Save-A-Lot.
“ME TOO!” yells Speed Police.
The bell for our floor dings and the door opens. So much for letting others out before you. Waiting riders were pummeled as the kids raced to exit the certain box of death.

The “Why’s” are interesting, though. Why do the ladies get to go first? Why should a man give a woman his seat on the bus or train? Why are the women served first at a swanky restaurant? Why is the fork on the left and knife on the right? Why… why… why… why… why…. I’m being peppered like never before with the “Why’s”

And, as is often the case, I don’t have an answer. But, after very brief research, the essence behind so many manners is anchored in the same lesson we learned in December – putting other’s concerns ahead of our own.

Rather than racing to the car and staking claim on the front seat (which, by the way, I’m not sure why any of them would want to be in such close range to the driver’s mini-lecture which seems to always be on the tip of my tongue these days) or grabbing the “best roll” off the plate before someone else can get it – most manner problems are centered on selfishness.  It’s nice that we’re following such a positive experience (December’s task) with more focus on the same … that would be focusing on someone or something other than ourselves.

We’re trying.

Getting into the car leaving the mall…
“You go first.”
“No you go first.”
“No YOU go first.”
“That’s not fair. YOU GO FIRST!!”

Mmmmm….. Thanks for walking the road with me.

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