Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Excuse me, please, and thank you

One of the things we've tried to teach the kids from the start are excuse me, please, and thank you. You say excuse me when you're interrupting someone or you want someone's attention (not "Excuuuuuuse me!", the polite "Excuse me?"). You say please when you'd like someone to do something. You say thank you if someone has done something for you (or something you generally appreciate).

These words are more than just polite manners (this isn't like keeping your elbows off the table). They inform how we view the world. By using please, thank you, and excuse me you're acknowledging the other person, and re-enforcing your empathy and compassion towards them. You're saying "I understand that you are a person with your own plans, thoughts, and feelings, and I respect that."

I'm hopeful that the kids, as they grow up, will continue to use these words even if they aren't face to face with someone. If everyone kept "excuse me, please, and thank you" in mind while driving, for instance, there'd be a lot less problems with traffic. The internet would be much better if people used these words in earnest instead of in sarcasm.

It's essential that our kids know that they are important, and have a sense of their own self worth; it's equally essential that they know that they aren't the center of the universe and that other people are also important. Excuse me, please, and thank you are good steps to remembering the humanity of others.

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