Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Many Perks of Manners

jb and I both agree that we want to instill good manners in our children.  We were both raised with an emphasis on pleases and thank yous - and generally speaking respectfully.  I think those skills have served us well and we'd like to pass them on.  We are aware of all the benefits that come with having good manners (social, professional, etc.) and would like Leo and bug to reap those benefits.

Now that Leo is at the point where pleases and thank yous are coming naturally and he only needs the occasional nudge I've been surprised at how much *I* appreciate hearing them.  It really improves the quality of my day much more than I ever expected.

Hearing "Thank you for the diaper, mama" and "May I please have some water, mama" is so, so, so nice.  Especially when compared to nothing or the shaking of a cup in my direction with just the word "Water!" repeated over and over.  I didn't think anything of it before, but now with the change I'm surprised at how much more pleasant our days are.

It's not just the pleases and thank yous either.  Leo has also become (and I mostly credit jb with this because she models it so regularly - not just with Leo, but with everyone in her life) generous with compliments and vocalizing positive re-enforcement.  Some of the best things I've heard this week?

  • "Mmmmm.  Mama, this sandwich is delicious." 
  • "Good job, Mama!  Good catch with the ball!"
  • "Mama so pretty!"
  • "Whoa, Mama really strong!" 
I do realize that most two-year-olds think their mom is the prettiest, smartest, strongest, best of everything.  I do also know that my pb&j making and catch abilities are average at best.  I also know that I'm large, swollen, and not looking my best and that picking up a small chair is not a great feat of strength.  Still, it always makes me smile wide to hear his kind words.  They can really turn my day around.

Perhaps most importantly it's validation and a reminder how important it is to talk to our children kindly and with respect.  If I, as an adult, feel so much happier and more valued when a TODDLER reminds me that he loves and appreciates me - how vital must it be to a small developing person trying to understand their role in this world.  

I know I'm not perfect at this - and I'm also not saying we should never provide critical feedback to each other.  I just am reminded that saying what you have to say, no matter what that might be, kindly can make all the difference.  


  1. Phyllis6/14/2012

    I haven't told you this before but I want to tell you now (maybe I'm being influenced by your post about compliments!) that I very much enjoy reading your blog. Actually I look forward to it and find that I eagerly search to see if I have missed any. I appreciate your perspective on parenting and just your perspective in general. Glad to hear that things are so wonderful for you!

  2. Thank you! That just made my day. Case in point: It's just so lovely to hear kind things :) Thanks for reading.

  3. Somehow I always read each new post thinking.."gah! this is my new favorite post!" Good job sister! ;)

  4. Emilyshaker6/15/2012

    This is my first time commenting on your blog, as well. I love reading about your adventures as a West Philly mom. I am living vicariously through you, as I moved OUT of the city when I found out I was pregnant, and find myself regretting that decision often. You and jb are such great parents, and I hope I can do as much for my little one (she's almost eight months now) as you guys do for Leo (and bug). Cheers!

  5. Thank you!! Yes - we have considered moving out of the city as well at times, and I'm glad we've stayed. Though there are definite and appealing perks to both kinds of living!

  6. Larissa Telep6/27/2012

    When i left today leo said "Aunt lissa looks very pretty!" hes sooo sweet!