Friday, May 11, 2018

Automatic Manners Can Ruin a Real Moment

We drill our kids (and grandkids). "Say please," when they come to us and ask for a glass of water. "Say thank you," when we hand it to them a moment later. And, then to them, "You're welcome," because, of course, we want to model good manners as well as dictate them. Nobody is going to argue against saying "please" and "thank you," because they lubricate routine actions with a velvety salve. But adults, especially parents, can get pretty obsessive-compulsive with trying to teach their children manners. In fact, such adult interference can be downright rude, albeit unintentionally so. That's what happened to me and my husband earlier this year. We traveled to see our two three-year-old twin grandchildren who live there, and we took a three-year-old grandgirl who lives in the same town as we do, about a nine-hour ride away. Jazzy is two months younger than the twins, and we figured she would especially enjoy playing with Annabelle, as Jack had various classes most every day. And we were right. The two girl cousins hit it off bigtime.