When our girls were little we, like most other parents, worked hard to stress the importance of good manners. It was very important to us that our children used those small but very important expressions such as please, thank you, you’re welcome and excuse me.
Our oldest caught on very quickly. In fact we are still quite proud of the fact that her first word was “tanku”. (thank you) Our youngest was of the much more common “NO”. (Interestingly, those first few words says a lot about their personalities, even today)
Our youngest was very good at saying please and thank you. She just got a little confused as to how and when she should say certain other things. In an effort to please others, she would do something kind and unexpected then beamed as she announced with a huge grin, “You’re welcome for that!”
It didn’t matter that we would tell her she didn’t need to say that, it just seemed the right thing do do for her. (And really, how can you chastise such an adorable child for being pleased with what she has done for others?)Eventually, she outgrew that phase and politely waited for the recipient to thank her.
This evening, Mimi and I were sharing a spinach salad. Our girl tossed it and brought my portion to me. Then she proudly announced that she had given me the larger share. Before I could say a word, she proclaimed “Wasn’t that nice of me?”.
Of course we all burst into laughter at her sincere statement as she just looked at us all in confusion. All the memories of my little girl’s childhood sweetness came flooding back to me.
In those days when she is displaying just how awful teens can be, I can just easily reach back and remember how sweet and earnest she really is. Some things never do change…