Dear Auntie A,
I am raising three boys and sometimes the task is quite daunting! It seems that no matter how often I remind them to say “yes Ma’am” when responding to me, they always seem to forget! Matters worse I am constantly reminding them to brush their teeth, pick up their clothes and wash their hands! I am hoping that at some point all this nagging will pay off and thankfully they each take the reminders in stride and are not disrespectful towards me, but alas I feel that my work will never be done and I do hope they are going to grow up with the manners I so desperately wish to instill! Is it like this for everybody?
Well my dear I will say that for the better part of the past twenty years I myself have been raising babies and yes they do forget to say the proper responses such as “yes Ma’am” to you and to me but here’s the thing.. they don’t forget when it counts, so yes it is like this for every mother! We worry that what we teach isn’t sinking in but the children are absorbing it I assure you. I recall years ago feeling the same way and we were at a meet the teacher night and out of both children’s mouths came “yes Ma’am” and I was surprised at how with no hesitation they knew when to use that and did so correctly! My hard work and nagging had paid off, and yours will too I just know it! There’s a few things I used to recite to the children and it may help you to know it as well. Always treat others as you would like to be treated, chew with your mouth closed, keep your elbows off the table, offer your seat to a lady and open her door, never touch someone’s belly that is pregnant, if you bump into someone say excuse me and never think you can go first boarding a plane or pile a plate full of food when there are others to think about. Keeping to staying clean and neat is important, but teaching our children how to treat others is most necessary to prepare them for the big wide world!
Alisa Murray, aka “Auntie A,” is an a-winning columnist and fine-art photographer. She holds a BS in Psychology