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Posts Tagged ‘thank you’

Bad Manners At Taco Bell

My youngest son has a good friend with terrible manners.  He’s a nice 14 year old boy, kind and generous to  a fault, but this kid almost seems proud of his bad manners.

After I spent twenty dollars at Taco Bell for fried chicken tacos, quesadillas and tacos made out of Doritos, Sandor said, “Thanks Mom, that was awesome.”

Then he shoved his friend, Jake.  “Say thank you, chicken butt!”

Jake shoved back”What ever.”

I’m pretty sure I sighed and rolled my eyes.  We’d been through this before. “Alright Jake, I’m not unlocking the car and were gonna stand here in the parking lot until you say thank you.”

He smiled at me, his shaggy hair nearly covering his eyes. Then he looked at the ground and mumbled something I literally couldn’t understand.

“Nope,” I smiled at him. I was playing hardball. “Not good enough.”

Sandor didn’t even mind me calling his friend out.  Jake’s terrible manners made him a little crazy.

Finally, Jake looked at me. I didn’t know if he was gonna flip me off or say something nice. “Thanks for the food.”

“Perfect,” I said as I gave Jake a big bear hug.

We have a serious rule in our world about good manners. Sandor is the youngest of four and the rule is pretty well etched in stone. If you are rude or disrespectful, you can’t come over. But I understand some parents don’t have the same obsession, so if I like the kid, and I like Jake a bunch, I try to work with them. I figure it’s “my house my rules.” And when Sandor goes to hang at a friends house, their parents get to make the rules.

Once everyone was buckled up I turned off the radio.  “Jake, good manners will make your life way easier.”

“How? My friends like me for my jokes, they don’t care.”

Sandor said, “Dude, you’re not that funny.”

Jake and I both ignored the comment. “Here’s the deal Jake, if you have good manners teachers will like you more. That’s makes your life better. If you have good manners parents like you more. Then you get invited to go to more cool places. Cause in the end it’s my call, not Sandor’s, who we invite over or take to the movies or laser tag or whatever.”

“Yeah, we took Sam to Florida with us because he had good manners,” Sandor added.

“And think about this,” I was on a roll with a class A lecture. “If you get pulled over by the police, and you will get pulled over and you have good manners there’s a way better chance he’ll let you off with a warning. If you’re a punk with bad manners he’s gonna definitely give you a ticket.”

At that point I made myself stop, even though I wanted to keep on going. I was on a roll. I turned up the radio and let the boys ignore me for a while. But I was still thinking.  It’s easy to teach good manners if you start when your child is young. Then people praise them for having good manners and the circle starts rolling.  But once a kid turns into a teenager it get’s tougher.  They resist. Jake almost seems to think good manners make him seem weak.

Maybe if we explain how good manners can benefit them, kids will understand. Maybe.

I got out of the car to let Jake out at his house. He was about to climb out of the back seat when I said, “Thanks for coming over, Jake.”

He stopped. He knew it was a trap. Then Sandor leaned over and whispered something to him. Jake got out of the car and mumbled, “Thanks for having me over.”

Then he gave me another sheepish smile and a hug.

Now, if I can just get my son to stop burping like a monster in front of me.

Jpeg

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Good Manners…A Competitive Sport

If you want to teach little kids anything, you have to be tricky, all the  time. This is especially true if  you want to teach kids, who don’t belong to you, how to act.

I had three little boys in the back seat of my car, squirming like puppies. One kid was mine, one hangs at our house a lot, the other was a new addition. I like this new boy but he doesn’t have bad manners. He’s got NO MANNERS.

“No Manners”, means I can’t get mad at him right away.” No Manners” means nobody in his life ever insisted he act right. Nobody, including his parents, ever looked at him crossed eyed until he said “thank you” or “yes ma’am”. “No Manners” means I have to explain to him how I expect him to act at our house for a couple of weeks before I can get mad at him for being rude.

So, I’ve got three smelly eight year olds in the back seat, rolling and laughing.

“Everybody got their seatbelt on?” I holler.
‘Yes ma’am” I hear from two boys.
“How you doing Joey? You all belted up?” I ask of the third boy, who has “No Manners”.
“Yeah.” he says.
I watch my kid elbow Joey but he doesn’t get it and I realize I have to try a different tact.
“You ready for some food, Jacob?” I ask of the kid that stays at our house all the time.
“Yes ma’am!” he shouts like a tiny blonde Marine.
“Good answer,Jacob!” I shout and stick my hand into the back seat for a high five.
“You guys ready for some food and football?” I yell at them all.
“”Yes ma’am!” my son and Jacob shout, competitively, trying to outdo each other. And then they laugh.
I say, “I’m pretty sure Jacob won that time, Son,”  Jacob does a little hapy dance in the back seat.
Our new boy watched Jacob and my kid, he was figuring out what was going on, It was the Good MANNERS GAME It’s a competitive sport. He wants to figure out how to win. That means he’s interested and that means I can train him.

I know that sounds weird, that I would try to train a rough cut little boy to have better manners, like a dog or a boxer.  But as the great MMA coach Danny Dring says, “You have to work with what you got.”

What have I got, a little boy with terrible manners, but I still like him.  The key is he’s a little boy. That means he’s competitive and likes to be the winner. If having good manners means he’s a winner, he’ll yell “Yes ma’am” in a heart beat.  Little girls like being winners but they really like the praise.  

At the end of the day Joey’s manners were much better, mainly because he wanted to beat the other boys. But even when we were alone, in a C Store and I asked him if his drink was cold he said, “yeah,” then changed it to “yes Ma’am”. I gave him a thumbs up and he grinned. Everybody likes to win.