Grace and courtesy.
Rules for living.
Call it what you would like, but this is a real subject area at my house and many others. I believe it is not only important, but VITAL to teach children not only that these things are important, but why they are important and how to go about them correctly.
Because, to a kid, what does, "be nice" really mean?
Without instruction, they are merely words that come out of our big grown up mouths. You know, the kind of words that go in one ear and out the other?
We have always been intentional in our house encouraging kind words and manners. We talked about the what, but less so about the why. I never thought much about going too far beyond that until one day this fall when my children flipped a lid on a guest. Literally. They were shooting things at her and interrupting our conversation continually. It was crazy! We have visitors to our home somewhat regularly and I had never seen them behave like this.
That was the beginning of my goal to intentionally teach the why through plenty of conversation and practice sessions!
The first thing we did was write an apology note for not being welcoming (and when I say we, I mean Aidan copied what I dictated). Then we invited this friend and her two girls over for a do-over tea party to practice.
We talked about how to invite someone over, how to welcome them into our home, how to prepare our home for them, planning and preparing food for guests, and so forth. We spent about two weeks practicing each part and preparing before the big day came.
The boys were so exciting and took great pride in their work. Although I provided a reasonable amount of coaching throughout the process, on the actual day I was able to step back and let the boys show what they had learned. They set the table themselves, and prepared most of the food. They even made small gifts for their guests to take home and asked very nicely if we could have balloons for the table!
Photo by Aidan
All of this was earlier in the fall, and since then we have continued to engage in regular and intentional lessons on what we call Grace & Courtesy. Over the next few weeks I will share a few other mini-lessons and special things we have done to drive home the importance of treating others with respect and following common rules for good living.
If you teach Grace & Courtesy in your home, I would love to hear more about it! Leave me a comment, with a link to anything you have written or photos from your house if applicable!