Manners: the way we say words

Have you ever noticed that the word please and thank,  sometimes come out of mouths almost like “well I have to say it” sort of attitude.  In fact in our efforts to teach ‘manners’ to our children they may say it just to please us parents, without the spirit of the words behind them.  On the other side of that, children may begin to believe that the word “please” is indeed a ‘magic’ word that will work for anything that they want.  (As parents sometimes we tell them that)

No wonder they soon start using it as a magic word.  It goes something like this.  We are in a store and they see a toy that they really want and they ask for it.  “Mom will you buy this toy for me?”  and just as quickly out of our mouths comes the words ” No, not today.”  Suddenly they remember that you told them “What’s the magic word?”  one time and so they try it.  “Please can you buy it for me? Please, Please, Please, Please….” until we cannot deal with it any more and we as parents do one of two things.  We either get angry and snap at them or we give in and buy it for them.

I told a group of students the other day, that this was disrepectful of their parents and that “”Please” does not trump the word NO”.  When a child begins to believe that the word please is a magic word instead of being a word that we use to show respect for the other person they may begin demanding with it.  Yes the way we say something, or the way we use our words, is just as important as what we say. What a child is saying to a parent in effect is – I don’t believe that your word NO is what you really mean and if I say magic words enough or strong enough, you will give in and I will get what I want. 

As we teach our children about manners it is really the ultimate form of empathy, a characteristic we have talked about before.  The use of the words please, thank you, your welcome, are all ways of being considerate, respectful and kind to each other. 

Courtesy – first impressions

When I think about the individuals who have made a great impression on me it is always the ones that really engage me when we are speaking or who when we first met, looked me in the eye and and were there when we were speaking.  Have you ever noticed that the persons we are drawn too are courteous individuals who make us feel comfortable to speak to – the ones who are truly interested in our story.

Continue reading “Courtesy – first impressions”

Teamwork equals success

teamworkAll of us have been on good and bad teams. When we are on a good team we can really feel the spirit of cooperation, there are individuals with good attitudes and the character of the individuals create a winning attitude. Even if it is not a sports team, the attitude is about getting the job done while making the best of the situation – maybe even having fun. Not all great teams win all of the time. But one thing that all great teams and teammates do is play fair and divide the tasks fairly, so that all the responsibility does not fall on any one person. When things are going well for the team, it is not surprising that they are successful in the task at hand. Sometimes though the team is just not working. One thing I have learned in teaching is that when things are not going as you would like to see, the first place to look is at your self. If you are on a team and it just is not working out – we may want to look first at ourselves and see if we are being a good teammate. Examine our attitude, the responsibilities we have taken from the leader and examine what we can do become a successful team. It may require that we have a team meeting and refocus on the goals of the team, making sure everyone is on board. What can we do to contribute to the success of the team? Using “I” messages is a good way of expressing our concerns without pointing fingers or making others feel rejected. “I need help in this matter or that” is a good way of being sure everyone on the team knows how they can be more effective teammates. If you have been on a good team or bad tell us about it here. What did you do to have the best experience possible?

Teamwork discussion

super-momTeamwork is our word of the month. There are times when we must work alone, but most of us enjoy having the help and company of a team to accomplish tasks. Teams make the tasks easier and more fun as general rule, unless of course someone on the team has an attitude of being better than the others or does not play full out.
A team is never about just one person – it is about the team and the power that comes from the concerted effort of a group of individuals. While teamwork can be used in different parts of our life, home, school, work and recreation, I believe our most important team is our family.
How do we approach tasks at home? Continue reading “Teamwork discussion”

Achieving confidence

We are not always going to feel confident. We are not always going to be sure that we can reach the goals we have set for ourselves and then when we have a set back we need to recheck our attitude again to be sure we are not talking to ourselves in that grumpy voice, saying something like – You can’t do this.
It may be a test, meeting new people, a new sport, or something that we have failed at before that challenges our confidence. It is at that time that we may need to talk to a friend or adult just to be sure we are thinking in the correct manner. It is highly unlikely that a friend or adult is going to tell us, “just give up – you can’t do that.” Just like we would be thee for them they will be there for us. Our job is not to give up and to look for ways to adjust and achieve our goals.


Young students

Tolerance means: “Even though we’re different, we can all get along!”

Older students, teens, adults:

Tolerance means: An attitude of openness and respect for the differences that exist among people.