“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
The words “thank you” seem so simple, but they mean so much to the recipient. Thanksgiving would be a great opportunity to thank God for all the things we so often take for granted, and a good time to thank those who mean so much to us.
While growing up with my grandparents, I recall how they modeled good manners before me. My grandfather always opened the door for my grandmother and me when walking into stores. The basic “please” and “thank you” were a given, and I wasn’t allowed to have my elbows on the table while eating a meal. At our Thanksgiving dinner, everyone remained at the table until everyone was finished eating, and come to think of it, this was a normalcy at all our meals. I especially enjoyed the conversation that was seasoned with stories of days past (the good ‘ole days) and the thankful hearts expressed through prayer.
I recently heard a broadcast from Dr. Dobson’s Family Talk, “Teaching Girls to Be Ladies.” During the broadcast Dr. Dobson references the writings of the second President of the United States. Excerpt from the transcript: “He was not a perfect man (John Adams), but he lived by a standard of righteousness throughout his adult life. In his autobiography, Adams wrote a commentary on the subject of moral behavior, which he called “manners.” Though the language is formal and dated, I urge you to listen to these words carefully and thoughtfully. They carry great meaning for us today.”
Adams wrote, “From all that I read of history and government, of human life and manners, I have drawn this conclusion: that the manners of women are the most infallible barometer to ascertain the degree of morality and virtue in a nation. All that I’ve since read and all the observation I’ve made in different nations have confirmed me in this opinion. Manners of women are the surest criterion by which to determine whether a republican government is practicable in a nation or not. The foundations of national morality must be laid in private families. In vain are schools, academies and universities instituted if loose principles and licentious habits are not impressed upon children in their earliest years,” and this is the key sentence, “The mothers are the earliest and most important instructors of youth.”
Continued excerpt from the broadcast transcript, Teaching Girls to Be Ladies:
“Obviously human nature (refer to transcript for context) has not improved much in the past several hundred years, nor will it ever. What has changed, as I have described, is that many parents have become far too distracted, overworked and stressed out to care much about teaching morals and manners to their children. Jolene Savage, who runs the Social Graces School of Etiquette in Topeka, Kansas, says society has reached an all-time low when it comes to matters of civility. Exhausted moms and dads seem not to have noticed what has happened to their children. Clearly, instruction and civility is needed now more than ever. Getting that done, however, can be a challenge.”
Dr. Dobson also shares some personal stories of his parents modeling good manners, which are then reflected in how he treats his wife Shirley. There’s also a touching remembrance of Shirley teaching their children manners at a tea party.
To listen to or finish reading the transcript from this broadcast: https://www.drjamesdobson.org/Broadcasts/Broadcast?i=4b85e9b8-f243-4a4e-ab39-5945136e91e5
Now I’m not trying to single out girls/women in this post…it just happened to be an emphasis from the broadcast I listened to at the time I was formulating this post. I’d like to recommend two books authored by Dr. Dobson: “Bringing Up GIRLS” and “Bringing Up BOYS” These and many other family resources may be purchased at Dr. Dobson’s family talk Shop: https://direct.cornerstone.cc/FamilyTalk+Shop/category/featured
Does anyone drive with manners anymore? I totally get the whole “road rage” mentality, especially when you have people rushing around, feeling spent, and distracted by social media posts. The other day I made this confession to my book club friends. “I thought this lady was going to run into the back of my car while driving to work!” I was in the left “faster” lane, already going a little past the speed limit myself, and was trying to return to the right lane, but there was too much traffic. Somehow, the lady sped up and went around me and quickly threw her hands up in the air signaling for me to return to the slower right lane. I chuckled when she realized that we both had to slow down due to the wreck ahead of us, and we both crept along far below the speed limit.
My point is this, we are hurried people with little patience, resulting in less manners. Manners definitely need to be taught, but more importantly, they are caught by parents and other adults who model good manners. Think about it!
We had the opportunity to watch three of our grandchildren for fours days while their parents got away to intentionally renew their annual family household planning, which includes their family spiritual discipleship. (They began this ritual early in their marriage and continue to use this resource: (Making a Spiritual Discipleship Plan).https://covenantheirs.files.wordpress.com/2019/07/making-a-spiritual-discipleship-plan-new.pdf
While we enjoyed lots of play time during our grandchildren’s stay, we also made a visit to the local nursing home. Our grandchildren have made some special friends who rarely if ever have visitors. One sweet lady is close to 100. She kept telling the grands how good looking they were. All the children beamed as they said “thank you.”
Before returning to their home, my granddaughter repeatedly came up to me and said, “Thank you Nana, for all the great food (ice-cream, nightly of course!), and for all the fun we have had with you and Pappy.” During all our meals together, each child took turns praying, expressing their thankfulness to God in such humble and genuine ways.
With Christmas coming up quickly, I asked our daughter what her son had on his wish list. She said, “He told me that he doesn’t want anything because he got everything he wanted last year!” I’m thankful for his gratefulness and honest spirit.
Looking for a good holiday movie to watch? Here’s my recommendation: Christmas for a Dollar https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqjTIOAZLrU
Advent begins Sunday, December 1, 2019 – There are lots of great family devotionals to use. Here’s one and where to purchase. Creative Communications: https://www.creativecommunications.com/
And from Family Life: The Twelve Names of Christmas Ornaments https://shop.familylife.com/p-3931-the-twelve-names-of-christmas-ornaments.aspx