Friday, October 12, 2012
I can't lie. I am a huge fan of Emily Post's teachings. Social Etiquette is a requirement in my home. In today's society, it is not as much of a priority in child rearing as it once was a hundred years ago. I find this to be disturbing. Social grace is a necessity in every class of society. How can we expect our children to be able to make the most out of their lives without the fundamentals of manners? Rearing these lessons to the young needs to start in the home. It needs to be consistent and praised when correctly used. My family has become my own experiment.
At what age can manners be implemented? Good question. (Yes, this conversation with myself just happened.)It can begin as early as infancy. We began using the hand sign for "thank you" from infancy. At about 6 months of age, our oldest could sign it back. This is a learned action. It was adapted and repeated. After successfully using baby sign language to communicate with our child, I decided to search out books to read to my son at the library. I found books expressing a multitude of messages continually pontificating behavior, kindness, and other friendly attributes. I could not locate books relaying and the demonstration of manners in a picture book format. Sure, there were books educating parents on instructing our youth on what was proper, but I was left wanting the exact material I was looking for.
As a mom with a background in nursing, I tried to find an approach that wasn't a lecture type format of teaching. It needed to be catchy, fun, and happy. During my pediatric clinical rotations in Nursing School, I remember the effort of trying to connect with a child and the act of gaining their trust. For those who do not understand, this is a very hard feat. You represent all that is scary. I am the needle, the scary, noisy machine, the restraint that will take away their freedom of movement, the giver of all things that taste gross, and the soothsayer who continues to repeat the phrase, "it is almost over". To begin with, you can't only be "the adult". You need to relate like a peer. Erickson teachings provided this structure. Interpretation was left to the care provider.
I began to write a story using this platform. I needed to relate to my child. I didn't want to be the preacher, I needed to be the peer and educator. Writing a story that would relay a platform of simple manner interactions could be an inviting way to entice my child into a simplistic understanding of etiquette. The best place to start? Friendly introductions and always using "please" and "thank you" was perfect..
So began the story of "Andy the Ant".