Monday, June 13, 2011

So Young, So Wise

The other night, Mister Man and I were eating dinner together. Little Miss and my husband were somewhere else, so it was just the two of us. Me being me (umm duh? Who else would I be?), I decided to use the opportunity to talk about manners.

Mister Man and I discussed some good manners and some bad manners, and we had fun practicing examples of both. It was a fun way of teaching him, and I'm hoping some of it sunk in a little. As we continued our conversation about why we have manners and why certain things are considered good or bad manners, I asked him who he thought invented manners. He looked at me somewhat confused, and I clarified.

Well, Sweetie, who do you think made manners? Was it men or women? Maybe a mommy? A daddy? What do you think?

Oh, his face cleared, and he spoke confidently. It was definitely a man who invented manners.

Really? I choked on my words, knowing who in my family is the one with the better manners.

Yes. The President is the one who makes the manners and the rules for them, he declared.

Oh, I see. So before America was founded, manners didn't exist? I probed.

Welllllll, he dithered, but only momentarily. There were some manners before our country was founded, but it wasn't until ohhhh the sixteenth president that we really had real manners.

No? I asked, my curiosity piqued. We didn't have manners until the sixteenth president? What about before then?

Well, I suppose that there were some manners before then. George Washington definitely started it. But it wasn't until Abraham Lincoln that we really had real manners. He's the one who really made us all have manners, you know.

I see, I said, nodding slowly. The light was slowly beginning to dawn. Just to be sure ... So Mister Man, what is it that Abraham Lincoln did to make manners?

Mommy, he's the one who freed the slaves and made all people equal. We didn't really have manners until then. You should know that, he looked crossly at me.

Of course. Sometimes, however, it takes the innocence of a child to point out such wisdom to me. And to think... he's only seven.

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8 comments: June 13, 2011 at 8:34 PM  

Excellent point, Mister Man.

Tara R. June 13, 2011 at 9:09 PM  

A very insightful young man you have there.

Brandie June 13, 2011 at 11:40 PM  

Smart smart boy you have there. Maybe a future president who will instill even more manners in people ;-)

Anonymous June 14, 2011 at 8:28 AM  

This is beautiful! He's is so smart and so young :)

Pat June 14, 2011 at 2:12 PM  

Aww, how sweet. So true, it wasn't very good manners to have slaves.

I used to work on manners as we 5 sat around the dinner table when the boys were growing up. My angle was, "Some day when you go out to dinner with your date to the prom, you will use good manners at the dinner table." Of course, we worked on manners in other areas, too, not just dinner table manners.

Pat June 14, 2011 at 2:16 PM  

When Nathan was 11 and Tim was 7, and they sat across the dinner table from each other, N would say, "Tim, stop chewing your food with your mouth open! Mom, tell Tim to stop chewing his food with his mouth open!" Then Tim would open his mouth filled with chewed food just to bug Nathan. Nathan would yell,"TIM!!!" They both knew how to push each other's buttons. But now that they are 28 and 32, they are best friends.

Michelle June 14, 2011 at 9:48 PM  

Tracey - Isn't it though? I was so impressed with where his mind went.

Tara - I know! I'm still blown away because that is so not at all how I was thinking.

Brandie - Unfortunately, given the way politics is headed, I doubt it! :(

Patty - Isn't it? I almost cried.

Pat - I don't think the date thing will work quite yet, but ... someday. Someday I will pull that card out and use it!

April June 30, 2011 at 1:26 PM  

So beautiful!

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