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.)