Google+ Followers

Google+ Followers

How Do We Teach Our Children to Have Moral Courage?

Can we teach courage?  Can we help our children to develop moral courage, the courage to stand up in the face of adversity, staying true to both themselves and the things that they hold dear and true?  As we look around, it’s easy to see that our society is struggling to not only identify moral conviction, but to also identify when and the best way to stand up and be a voice for good, a voice against oppression of the weak, and a  voice of strength for all that is right.

I believe that we absolutely can teach moral courage to our children who will need it to be engraved upon their hearts and minds in order to leave this world better than they found it.  We start, like with all things, when they are very young.  We start by helping our children to notice injustices, those in need and those who need an advocate.  It’s more than just noticing, but it realizing that we as individuals have enormous power to cause change.  Unless we believe that one can make a difference, than we might shrink at the opportunity to do so.

A great way to start is to continually find and read about and discuss others from the past who have done just that.  There are so many books to read to our children, but why not be more purposeful in the books that we choose, starting when they are very young.  Look for books about common people who have demonstrated great courage, moral conviction and impeccable character and because of these qualities have made a huge difference in individual lives.  We never want to underestimate the importance of the single individual.  

Another wonderful thing we can do to teach courage to our children is to help them overcome things that they are afraid of.  Teaching our children to do hard things is imperative to their success.  Such things might be: going over to another child on the playground and introducing themselves and inviting them to play, role playing with our children what to do when they see another child being teased or bullied so  they are prepared to defend those who need defending, teaching our children to speak for themselves at a very early age by refraining from speaking for our children, and many other things.

Finally, it is important to help our children to identify their own strengths, talents and abilities that God has given them.  As they identify their unique abilities, as parents, it is our duty to help them to understand that the reason God has blessed each of us with these talents is to bless the lives of God’s other children.  When our children better comprehend that they have the power to do great good on this earth, it unlocks the doors of compassion, service and advocacy.

Courage is to act, even when we are afraid, but it takes practice.  Start today.


Just Because You Can Doesn't Mean You Should

I would like to speak about a topic that I'm rather sensitive about as I see our society getting farther and farther away from this etiquette consideration.

It's polite to be aware of who is within our earshot when speaking about certain topics or using particular language.  

Something that has most definitely changed in recent decades is the manner that women and men will speak in the presence of those of the opposite sex.

Today it seems like there are little boundaries about conversation.

Let me give you a few things to consider.

Gentlemen, its not polite for you to speak about vulgar topics, use foul language, or speak about gross or inappropriate things when you're in the presence or earshot of ladies.

Recently I was stuck on a crowded bus with two gentlemen standing right in front of me wearing prestigious suits and holding professional briefcases.  They appeared to be quite the gentlemen.  Then they started speaking.

They began a discussion with me standing right in front of them, that was anything but appropriate.  I thought to myself, "I wonder why they think it's okay to speak like that in front of me?"  It was obvious--they didn't respect me or themselves enough to watch their tongue in front of a lady.  Let me remind you something about manners.

Manners are not lists of dos and don'ts.  They're an outward expression that shows how you feel about yourself and those around you.  That's why it matters.

Ladies, it not polite to speak negatively about men, use foul or inappropriate language, or speak of feminine health issues in the presence of gentlemen, especially those you don't have a close personal relationship with.

As ladies you want to seek helping those around you feel comfortable, and as you speak in a way that is ind, generous, and gracious, others will be more comfortable in your presence.

Both ladies and gentlemen should be careful to keep their conversation positive, upbeat, and cheerful when speaking at the dinner table.  You want to be a source of strength, encouragement, and positive energy to others, and the way you use your tongue will most definitely be a source of strength or a source of weakness to yourself and others.

Do your best to be aware of those around you when it comes to your language and speech.  

Yes, this is a free country, and yes, you may say whatever you want to.  Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

Restraint and respect are two traits that every gentleman and lady has.  Do you?

Monica Irvine

I Wish We Would Notice More

A lady and a gentleman notice.  What kinds of things do we notice?  Well, perhaps we might notice:
  • A little old lady or man standing behind us in the post office line, struggling to stand in the long line.  Wonder if we could change places with them?
  • A mother with three kids trying to carry luggage and kids and stuff, getting on an airplane.  Wonder if we could help carry some of that?
  • A homeless man or lady, regardless of whose fault it is that they’re homeless, who is standing outside a store on a hot day. Wonder if we could buy a cold bottle of water and give it to him or her?
  • A person walking towards us with their heads down, looking a bit unhappy or concerned over something.  Wonder if we could make eye contact, smile and say, “Hello there.  I hope you have a good day”?
  • The clerk at Walmart that looks tired and faking a smile.  Wonder if we could start a conversation with them, helping them to know that people really do care?
  • Our own child, making comments like, “Mom I wish you could play with me” or “Dad, do you think you will have time to play after your important work.”  Wonder if we could recognize the unspoken feelings of loneliness and need for attention?
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s is so very easy to get caught up in our own needs, responsibilities and obligations.  But, here’s the deal.  If we’re too busy to do the most important things, than we’re too busy.  

If we’re too busy to stop and serve others, then we’re too busy.  

Surely we can all see that at the end of the day, and even at the end of our life, all that will really matter is who we have helped.

Have a great month.
Monica Irvine 

Dear President Trump,

I implore you, please remember who you are.

You are a representative of the United States of America, a country that was built on principles of integrity, honor and protecting human rights.  As our leader, when others interact with you, they must be reminded of these principles, as it reminds them of the greatness and goodness of this country.

Of course you must represent strength, as this characteristic gives confidence to both Americans and the world, however you must continue to show your strength by showing humility.  Humility means that you are teachable, that you listen, that you are willing to admit when you have been mistaken.  When someone says, "I was wrong" or "I'm sorry" or "I spoke too soon," that is someone who others can trust, because they know that this person is not above being wrong, which means their desire to be honest, outweighs their concern with being weak and human, which we all are.  There is nothing that shows greater strength, than someone who can admit their follies.

To be honorable, means to be true to the principles of goodness, fairness, kindness, forgiveness, and honesty.  As Americans, we want so desperately, and need so fervently, for our President to be someone that we can all point to with admiration and gratitude for their goodness, so that our children will know that the goodness of this country, is based on the goodness of its people.  Yes, of course even the President cannot be perfect, but he can be perfect in trying his very best to be honorable in all things, in all places--with his speech and with his actions.  Surely, we deserve this kind of President.  Surely this country deserves nothing less.

America was defined from it's beginning as a country striving to understand and protect the rights of all human beings.  The rights that both you, Mr President, and I have to pursue happiness, worship according to the dictates of our own hearts, and determine our own course and future, must be protected at any cost.  Unless you and I believe with our whole heart that every human being deserves these rights, than we cannot govern and protect this country and its principles in an honorable way.

Mr President, please please be more kind.  Please please be more considerate.  Please please show more restraint.  Please please spend some time on your knees every day, seeking the wisdom of God as you make your decisions.  You do not  have all the answers, but he does.  We need divine guidance to govern this country successfully.  This guidance and counsel is available to anyone, who is willing to seek it and obey it.

What will it take?  What will have to happen to help you to understand, the mantle in which you bear, is the mantle of a people desperate for a righteous leader?

Very best,
Monica Irvine
American--wanting to be proud



Speak to Your Children with Love

Parents, we must stop speaking to our children behind clinched teeth and with with angry eyes and cuttingly sharp voices.

I have seen time and time again, and it seems more often these days, parents speaking and handling their children with such contempt and hostility and impatience that it breaks my heart in two.

When we continue to interact and speak with out children without love patience and sincerity, we are contributing to them growing up as angry, unhappy children who will bear the scars of emotional damage.

We may not think of ourselves as child abusers, but I assure you, if we are continuing to break our children's spirits, we are indeed child abusers.  We have only a small amount of time where we have the opportunity to be our children's heroes.  When they are young, they are so impressionable and want so desperately to please us and to be loved and cherished as we all do.

Children will react and exemplify the behavior they learn from their parents and caregivers, every single time.

I worked in a preschool during college, and while there I learned an invaluable lesson.  I had some children in my class who were aggressive, who were often angry, and who struggled to have healthy relationships with other children.

In contrast, I had many children who were kind, gently, happy and content with most situations.

As I met and got to know the parents of all the children, it soon became evident where the children learned their behaviors.  (Please know that I am not speaking about children who suffer with real behavior issues, cognitive disabilities, social disabilities, and the like.)  What I witnessed was the parents who were most often aggressively pulling on their children, impatiently removing or putting on coats, threatening to discipline once home, etc. were the ones who had the most aggressive children.

Then I noticed the parents who came in smiling, hugging and being gentle with their children, both with their words and tone, as well as physically, were the parents with the most gentle children.  The softer the parents spoke and behaved, the more kind were the children.

You may argue against this idea.  You many want to discuss all the variables that can lead to children's behavior and personality, and I know you would have many valuable points and truths.
I also know there are exceptions.  However, regardless of all that, if we want gentle, kind children, they MUST see it and feel it from us.

Please let's speak with kindness, handle with gentleness and be much more patient with these beautiful souls entrusted to us.

Love Much,

Monica Irvine

5 Etiquette Skills Not to Forget to Teach Our Children

Why couldn't someone come up with a list that includes every single thing we must teach our children before they turn 18?  Then we could just check them off as we went.  Are you laughing yet?  Nope, it doesn't really work like that.

There are many etiquette skills we sometimes just don't think to teach our children until we're in the moment and realize "Oops, I don't think we've talked about that."

Here are just a few of those:
  • It's never polite for your children to go to school, church, etc. with invitations to a birthday party or event unless they are inviting every single child in the school, church, etc.  What a heartbreak when one child sees other children receiving invitations, only to be passed by and left without one.  Unless you're inviting everyone, only mail or email invitations.
  • Have you taught your children what to do when the American flag is brought into a room or when the national anthem is played?  Too often I see these events happening and children are simply at a loss as to appropriate behavior.  Teach your children to stand when the flag is raised or brought into a room and to face the flag while standing when the national anthem is played.  Teach them that it's rude to talk or make noise when this is going on.  Although it's not necessary, you may place your hand over your heart during the national anthem.  Always be at attention.  To learn more considerations towards our flag, visit www.usa-flag-site.org
  • It's not polite to double dip.  If you take a bite of a chip, then it would be rude to take the half-eaten chip and re-dip it into a bowl of dip.  Maybe you do this in your own home, but you don't do this when eating in a public or with a group.
  • It's not polite to touch other people's babies or pets without their permission.  Many parents are very concerned about germs when it comes to their small children, so you should never assume it's alright to touch a child without the parent's permission.  With pets, its more of a safety issue to our own children, but regardless, you should always have permission.
  • It's not polite to walk through other people's yards, regardless of how careful you walk, without the property owner's permission.  This is more about respect than just about damaging someone's property.  Of course it's usually not damaging to someone's yard for someone to walk across it, but it's not polite to ever assume that the property owner doesn't mind.
It's polite when we keep our commitments.  If your children commit to being home at a certain time, then that's the time they should arrive.  If your child commits to cleaning his room, then a clean room should be had.

Helping your children learn to keep their commitments is one of the first steps to helping them become trustworthy, dependable adults, and what a gift that is.

All the Best,

Monica Irvine

Restroom Etiquette


It’s Time to Talk About It

Typically, ladies and gentlemen do not draw attention to anything that is gross, unappealing or the least bit offensive.  However, if we do not talk about this, I’m afraid the violation of this important etiquette rule will continue to cause distress to so many.

Here’s the etiquette rule:  It is polite for all ladies and gentlemen to leave the restroom clean and tidy.  

Recently, I was traveling on an airplane and excused myself to the restroom.  Upon opening the door,  I was met with such a scene that I can only presume you can imagine the scene, after I express that I was not able to bring myself to enter the facility.  The floor, the seat of the toilet was simply disgusting.

What is this?  Why?  How does it happen?  I really do not want anyone to answer these questions, but what I hope is that you and I make sure that we teach our children that it is our responsibility and duty to show respect to those who come after us, and leave restrooms clean and sanitary.  It really is all about respect.  It’s about whether or not we value others and other’s experiences.

Parents, please teach your sons and your daughters to be careful in a restroom.  And, if there is a mistake made, to clean it up.  Let’s teach them to pay attention, and to not be distracted when visiting the restroom.  Let’s explain why it is polite to be aware of how we use this facility with others in mind.  It’s not too much to ask.  Children are very capable of understanding and following this protocol.  The real question is, are adults?

Have a great month!

Monica Irvine