This post originally appeared at my parenting blog The Gift of Good Manners. I will be cross posting some of my favorite content from that blog here at the Etiquette Daily. I hope you enjoy these posts as much as I enjoyed writing them.
Recently, we were sent this absolutely adorable photo of our friend Kerin Stackpole’s daughter Clare. We posted the photo, then soon afterward Kerin sent us this guest post about Clare, manners, and her love for Emily’s Everyday Manners.
My daughter Clare absolutely loves to read. I bought this book for her when she was not quite two. My partner Maria and I are a little obsessive about “please” and “thank you,” and Clare, at two-and-a-half was already clear that at the end of dinner, she needed to say two things: “Thanks for a wonderful meal,” and “May I please be excused?” Hearing such things, my Mom (who channeled Emily Post throughout my childhood) would say “You are so hard on her… She’s still so young. Let her be.” (This was clearly grandmother’s amnesia: she did not recall putting us through our paces about table manners.)
Clare talks about Emily and Ethan like they are friends of the family. She extrapolates what she has learned in the book by asking “What would Emily and Ethan do?” in a given situation. Her favorite parts of the book are the magic words, Ethan waiting in line at school (we trace the line together), and the part about being quiet in church (which is a work in progress for her….). It was wonderful to see a connection between manners and “being kind” and “being respectful” in the book, because we have what are known as “The Be Rules” in our house: “Be Honest, Be Kind, Be Respectful, Work Hard, Help Others, Have Faith, and Have Fun!” (We also have the corresponding “No Rules” like “No biting, no hitting, no kicking, etc….) She has been able to rattle off some version of those rules since she was very young, and to see them in print, connected with the “pleases” and the “thank yous” was really quite good for her. It gave her another level of understanding of why manners matter.
She is a great little girl and we frequently get compliments on how polite she is (which is good, because the non-stop motion can be a challenge). So, thanks to Ethan and Emily for helping.