The Importance of Please and Thank You

I have been noticing over the past few months that my kids and others around them really aren’t the politest of children and it really irks me. We as parents in this house try our best to instill The Importance of Please and Thank You into our kids but I fear that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. Somewhere down the line from my childhood and probably yours too, it seems to me that these two simple phrases have been overshadowed by expectation and entitlement. Last I checked, Please and Thank You is more about common courtesy and respect for the other person.

Let me tell you about Ava’s glasses as a for instance. Beautiful pair of glasses, the frames were stunning, she loved them. Like I mean loved them. Somehow, they broke right at the nose and just like that, she had no glasses and one wicked headache moving in. Glasses frames are by no means cheap and after countless failed taping and glue expeditions, I scooped up the glasses and headed out to the vision centre where we got them from expecting the bank account to be set back a good chunk of change.

I will admit it right now that I happen to know the optometrists that work at the store since my kids all get their eyes checked there and I have built a small rapport with them. That being said, I dropped off the kids at school, asked Ava to think positive thoughts and I headed out to the store. I walked in and exchanged pleasantries and explained my situation. the Optometrist then chuckled and said “that’s quite a predicament as the frames aren’t under warranty as you replaced them just recently.” Ouch, that was a big hit, the frames I saw that she was itching for were the exact same lens style and size.

At this point, I looked at the optometrist and said ” please, anything you have that may accommodate these lenses and won’t break the bank will be forever appreciated”. A brief brain scratch later and some digging in a big box of frame returns, the optometrist pulled out the perfect black frames with the exact same lens size and shape. In an instant they came out of the back room with the frames in hand and looked at me and said ” your please and thank you paid for the frames”. The Importance of Please and Thank You?, turns out they were having a very grumpy customer day and this is just what they needed. The frames were free, her old frames sent back to the warehouse i presume and Ava had a new pair of specs that she adores even more.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that please and thank you are a means to getting free stuff, a free ride, or anything like that. What we try to instill into our kids is the core values of respect for everyone, and that manners win favour and a most positive interaction and experience with others and who knows, they may be having a bad day too and these two simple manners may be just what they need as well. Our society was based on manners and etiquette, how they are being lost as we progress through life is really beyond me. I was taught since before I can remember to say please and thank you for absolutely everything and, I was constantly reminded to use manners by not just my mother, but by other adults too. Other adults were never told to not talk to my kids like that. How could they be? They were only further instilling into me the Importance of Please and Thank You.

There is a fast food chain in the states that I’m pretty sure you’ve already read about that has an insanely high rate of please and thank you’s not only inside their restaurant but, especially their drive thru. Our family eats fast food often and the restaurants we eat from are the furthest thing from a polite environment and even though it is only for a short time being in the restaurant (we usually just grab and go), the atmosphere is quite unpleasant. There is no Please or Thank You, you are hard-pressed to get a smile on most days. If you are surrounded by people smiling and using their manners constantly and without fail, I promise you that not only will your spirit lift, your attitude and use of Please and Thank You will increase as well. Hello happy you! Hello happy strangers, family, and friends too!

My kids have recently become demanders of things like snacks, drinks, seconds at dinner… You know, the normal things. With multiple reminders of using their manners and saying Please and Thank You, I remind them once and if they don’t use their manners, I go about what I was doing and don’t respond. Trust me, eventually they will and do figure it out. It’s like the lightbulb went on, the hamster figured out a way out of the wheel and there is a much better vibe when we interact. So far this is good with the 3 oldest kids, the 5 younger ones are still learning and it certainly makes for some interesting and heated discussions.

Just another quick example of the Importance of Please and Thank You that has been totally and absolutely life changing for my 5 elementary school kids. They were getting seriously bullied at their first school when we first moved here and to further that, the principal, vice principal and even the superintendent of the school board tried to bully J and I. We don’t take to well to bullies over here so we made a huge decision to attempt to switch our kids from the public school system to the catholic board.

I have to say, this decision came just before the end of school last year and even though the catholic school board has strict policy on being catholic on order to attend the school, I met with the principal regardless because everything is worth a shot right? When we met, she told me that the odds of getting into a catholic school while not being catholic were quite slim. I damn near begged and pleaded for my kids to get in and only after hearing my kids entire school history did she not only agree to have the kids applications rushed, she apologized for their rough go thus far. I don’t think I’ve ever said please and thank you as much as I did during that meeting, my nails were thoroughly chewed and I’m sure I sprouted quite a few new white hair on the head while in there.

My kids are now finishing their first year as catholic school students, they are all excelling at school for the first time in forever and I firmly believe that this all came to fruition and is totally because of the Importance of Please and Thank You. Please Please Please, Never stop stressing the Importance of Please and Thank You to your kids and their little friends as well. Thank You!


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