Please and thank you. Just a few short words that can mean so much.
We are trying hard to teach our kids to say please and thank you. And they are getting there but they are only young so often need reminding. But when they do say please or thank you without being prompted, it makes me so proud of them. I often encourage them to speak to the assistant at the check out in supermarket or coffee shop, trying to teach them to be confident along with how to be polite.
Today was day three of the latest round of snow days (four if you include friday last week!) and we had escaped the house for a few hours to go to Kids' gym and the Chiropractor. We had time in-between for a treat so I pulled up in Biggby's car park and took them in for a hot chocolate and a cookie.
I am paranoid about them in the car park so always make sure they each hold one of my hands. A lady drove round the corner and stopped to let us cross. I asked the kids to wave to say thank you and they did. Pretty enthusiastically. Toby was so engrossed in his wave that he stumbled and I was concerned that we were holding her up as we slowly walked in front of her.
We got in the line at the coffee shop when a lady appeared behind me and said 'Excuse me, I just wanted to tell you how wonderful it was to see your children waving to say thank you to me. I was actually going next door but I just had to come in and tell you. I have always taught my children to do it and my eleven year old and I laugh about how she used to wave and wave at people..."
Well I was floored. I couldn't believe that the lady who had waited patiently for us to cross had now gone out of her way to come into the coffee shop to tell me how pleased she was!
So what is the moral of the story, apart from the fact that manners do seem to go a long way?
Please think about speaking up and telling that tired looking Mum with the two or three kids in tow, that she is doing a good job. She may well not always believe it herself and those kids may well have had a massive tantrum in public an hour or two ago, but in that moment you can tell her that she is doing a good job. It made my day and I hope I can 'pay it forward' someday soon.