Monday, February 12, 2007

"Manners for Minors"

Can you believe that's what they call the class I sent my daughters to this weekend? I don't know what I was thinking. Maybe that it would be a rush job in refinement. I imagined a subtitle: "Four hours to a proper young lady". Western Suburbs meets My Fair Lady. Bring on the debutante ball!

Okay, so they're only five and seven years old. But it's never too late to start. Right? So off to class they went. I trundled them into the local living history museum early on Saturday morning, visions of them with pinkies in the air sipping tea with the docents, puffing my brain. "Imagine it's like Felicity's tea lessons," I said. "You'll learn about being proper gentlewomen." Maybe I shouldn't have. After all, it's not fair to set their expectations too high.

Their reaction when I picked them up afterwards: "borrringgg!"

Imagine that! They were bored by learning the do's and don'ts for proper behavior in modern American society, including cell phone etiquette!

Well, actually I can imagine it. Even if it did take place at eldest daughter's favorite museum (she already has plans of becoming a junior interpreter when she's in fourth grade), it was still a class on manners. And finding out that courtesy requires effort can be a jolt. Especially in the current climate of our culture where familiarity is king and "casual" is the reigning attitude. It takes discipline to consistently behave in the best fashion. My guess is that that is the reason politeness has fallen out of favor.

Now for a confession: that class was merely a pretext to getting some time to myself. You see, my husband went away for the weekend to a conference. And I'm not used to lengthy tours of duty as a mom. So I shipped the older two off to class for a few hours, gifted the uber-princess to her grandparents for the morning and headed to the local scrapbooking store where I had some blissful time alone. The girls thought the class was boring? That just shows me that I have some work to do on teaching them the value of others. They need to know the reasons behind the manners. In the meantime, I not only survived a weekend as a single parent, I actually enjoyed it! (Kudos to all you moms who live this, week in and week out, with traveling husbands. I admire your stamina.)

5 musings:

L.L. Barkat said...

I have this crazy thought that they could have offered another seminar on the second floor. "Manners for Moms."

Somehow, I think that we often expect our kids to be respectful, when we ourselves have something to learn. (Case in point... I realized recently that my mother used to return her grocery cart after taking it to the car... I had slacked off on this as an adult... and then I thought, "how will my kids ever learn this 'manner' if they don't see me do it?" Okay, so now I'm returning grocery carts. :) I'm sure that I have much to learn in other areas!

Craver VII said...

So nice to have met you, A.M.M!

I realized later, that I was so focused on what awaited me back at my desk, that I neglected to show you around or at least introduce you to a couple other bloggers. Sorry.

I told you that I was looking forward to meeting Mr. Mark Goodyear, but he was unable to come today on account of the blizzard.

Plus then I got back to the computer, I realized that you had not commented where I gave you credit, so I take it back. ;-)

Emily said...

email me if you still need my link to my blog

Anonymous said...

I got a chuckle out of your comments. You see I traveled a fair amount leaving my wife with five children to take care of while I was gone. She survived and now happily cares for three granddaughters once a week.

A Musing Mom said...

LL-I think I need that "Manners for Moms" class. I remember to return grocery carts, but my driving manners are a whole different matter.

Craver-When a visitor shows up at 10am on a Monday morning I think it's their manners you might need to question. The fact that you had work to do? Totally understandable. Next time, this visitor will choose a quieter time of day/week to show up. How's that sound? Oh, and I don't drink coffee (except with dessert), no matter what the health benefits.

Emily-thanks. It's on my google homepage.

Anonymous-I have a feeling your kids didn't notice as much as your wife. Is that three grandkids she's caring for, or two (maybe one is in school most days?)?