Monday, October 5, 2009

Speaking of Manners

Whole Duty of Children
by Robert Louis Stevenson

A child should always say what's true
And speak when he is spoken to
And behave mannerly at table
At least as far as he is able

So my husband and I noticed that our outgoing kids were not using social manners and being courteous with others like we thought they should.  We found ourselves constantly pointing out what they had NOT done in a particular situation and wondering why they did not know what they should have done to show their appreciation for their fellow man.  After thinking about this, it dawned on me that in all our teaching and training, I had somehow passed over a good intentional lesson on how to behave properly in different, everyday circumstances.  I am not overly concerned with etiquette here.  My main concern is that my children realize that everyone - EVERYONE - is created in the image of God and therefore has and deserves honor.  This in mind, I want them to respond accordingly.  I came up with a very simple (are you starting to notice a pattern with my posts....I LOVE "simple!") game to be played with the whole family.  I wrote out 6 or so scenarios, that my kids encounter often, that draw on their social manners skills.  I was their partner for every scenario, usually being the "other" person.  My husband sat with a small dry erase marker board and marker and was the official judge.  He gave the kids a score from 0-2 on their performance.  He is very particular, so even after having played several rounds now, we have yet to see anyone receive a 2.  Anyhow, after the revealing of the score, he gave encouragement and suggestions for improvement.  We've played a couple times since and added a few scenarios each time, as well as keeping the old.  We also had the opportunity to teach the kids how to encourage and appreciate each other even in competition, by applauding each person enthusiastically after their turn.  Your scenarios can be tailored to your social environment, but here are a few samples from our game:  "You are approaching the door to Trader Joe's at the same time as an older woman.  What do you do?"  or  "You are standing on the risers during choir practice.  The boy next to you is tugging on your shirt while you're singing.  What do you do?"  or  "You are playing in the courtyard at church and see Mr. Wiemeyer walking to the gym with armloads of grocery bags.  What do you do?"  or  "We have guests for dinner.  The guest asks for the last ear of corn.  You haven't had any yet."  or  "You are at someone's house for dinner.  They have served dessert, but overlooked you.  What do you do?"  We played with the 5 older kids, ages 3-9.  The 3yr. old needed lots of coaching and direction, but it has really caused her to be more socially aware even if she can't quite pay attention to all the details yet.  Try it out!  We've already seen major improvement!

posted by Danneca

1 comment:

Bryce and Bobbie Anderson said...

That is awesome, Dan. Thanks for taking the time to train your children and not just "raise" them. MOM