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Teaching Respect for Nature

Hello My Army of Parents,

Spring is in the air and there is no better time to help our children see and recognize the beauty of the earth and what's around them, so that they can learn how to show respect for their surroundings.  This is a very important etiquette skill and one that benefits all of society.  When Spring comes, we are reminded of the little things that the Lord has created in order for us to enjoy and have beauty around us.  We see the delicacy of the flowers, the beautiful fresh green that is only seen in the Spring.  We hear the chirping of baby birds and the buzzing of bees.  It's really amazing.

As we point out the miracles around us, we help our children recognize this beauty as gifts, as special things that should be admired and appreciated.   Hear is an example of a conversation with a young child.

"Wow.  Stand still for a moment.  Close your eyes.  What do you hear?  Do you hear happy sounds or sad sounds?  Yes, they sound very happy.  Now open your eyes.  What do you see?  What colors do you see?  What shapes do you see?  Have you ever seen a picture with so many colors as what your eyes see at this very moment?  How happy it makes me to see such beauty.  How happy it makes me feel when things are fresh, new, clean and vibrant.  Sometimes, we can be careless with the beauty of the earth.  Sometimes, we aren't careful with where we put our trash, or where we step or what we leave behind.  If everyone was careless, what would this world look like?  Think for a moment, what if we walked out of our house one morning and our yard was covered in trash?  How would it make us feel?  Yes, angry. Sad. Confused. Frustrated.  We would wonder, who would do such a thing?  Who would be so inconsiderate as to place trash on our yard.  It's our yard.  We love our yard.  We want it to be nice, so that we can run and play in our yard.  We want it to be clean, so it's attractive and a place we can enjoy.  Every place on this earth is someone's yard, someone's street, someone's sidewalk, someone's flower bed.  We must be considerate of the earth, so that we all might enjoy it.  Let's try harder to be careful that we leave the earth just like we find it.  Let's help to beautify our surroundings to show our gratitude for
nature and all its splendor."

As parents, never miss an opportunity to point out the wonders of nature.  Stop and admire the sunset, the rainbow, the storm cloud.  As we continually show our admiration and love for nature, our children will develop this same appreciation.  This increases our love for the earth which is what encourages respect, care and responsibility.  It's hard to expect our children to behave with respect towards anything that they have not developed a love for.

Have a beautiful week,
Monica Irvine, a.k.a. Mary Manners

Correcting with Respect

This month, I would like to discuss the etiquette skill of correcting our children.  What?  You didn’t know there was an etiquette skill involved in this?  Well, there is.  Let’s review our definition of proper etiquette for those new readers who may be joining us.  Proper etiquette is defined as, “helping those around us to feel more valued and more comfortable.”  With this definition in mind, it is important that we not only apply it to those outside of our families, but that we apply it with our most treasured relationships, our families.  As we do so, it will help us establish more loving relationships, including the relationships we have with our children.  Now before I go on, I do not wish to address the controversial topic of discipline.  That is a subject I leave to the judgment, wisdom and love of parents.  However, I do wish to discuss how we approach and carryout whatever discipline we choose to use.

If you remember, we have discussed before that it is not polite to correct others in front of others.  This means that we never “call out” someone in public, or in front of others, because this might embarrass or belittle them.  If a correction is in need, we simply wait for the opportunity when we can pull the person aside and in private, politely give the correction.  This same principle applies to our children. WE NEVER WANT TO EMBARRASS OUR CHILDREN.  Now hold on.  Breathe.....Let’s discuss the solution to this dilemma.  Do our children sometimes need correcting when we are in public?  Do chickens lay eggs?  Of course they do.  Sometimes those little angels of ours are worse than a tic on a hound, however, we must do our best to show complete respect and honor to our children.  Please, please don’t ever yell, spank, criticize, etc. your children in the presence of others, even their siblings.  This means that you have to separate yourself and your child and administer the correction in private.  Sometimes, due to the safety of your other children, you cannot separate yourself at the time.  In that case, you will simply have to pull your child to the side and quietly acknowledge that the correction will happen at a later time.

I know I’m suggesting something that will be difficult at times.  I had all boys in my home, so trust me when I say that this takes great self control and patience.  I can promise you however, that as we make an effort to show respect to our children by striving to protect their dignity, our children’s love and respect for us will increase as well.  As our children realize that correcting them comes from love and devotion, instead of anger and frustration, they will learn to honor our words and our actions.  No, of course it doesn’t mean they will always love or enjoy being corrected, but they will know that we correct because we love them. 

As we consider ways that we can show our children love and respect, I think it will help to simply consider how we would want someone to correct us.  Just because they’re children, doesn’t mean that we have a license to embarrass or humiliate them, regardless of their behavior.  It’s the principle of two wrongs, don’t make a right.  I think this is a topic worth spending some time pondering and considering.  Some day, our children will ponder our parenting when they are making decisions for their own children.  I hope we leave them a legacy of trust, honor, love and encouragement as we help shape their precious lives.

Have a great month.
Monica Irvine
a.k.a. Mary Manners