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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

Embarrassment: An Etiquette No-No

I'm going to discuss a subject I believe we can all probably improve on - using embarrassment to try to persuade others to perform or meet our objectives.

I work with teenagers, and oftentimes, when I ask them questions about their lives, they share things about school, family, and relationships.  One issue they share with me a little too often, meaning it's happening a little too often, is adults using "embarrassment" in order to get teens to do things, behave better, study harder, perform at higher levels of achievement, etc.

Recently a teen shared a situation that happened in her math class. She said that her teacher called on a young lady to answer a question.  When she didn't know the answer, the teacher reportedly became frustrated and asked the student to stand up and explain why she didn't know the answer.  The teacher said she was going to write a three-page essay explaining why she didn't know the answer and then informed her that she needed her mom's phone number so she could call and discuss this with her. She capped off the lecture with, "It looks like you need to go back to middle school."

Perhaps some of these details would be reported differently from a different witness to the event.  I don't know, because I wasn't there myself.  However, here's what I do know.

It is NEVER productive to humiliate and embarrass others when trying to inspire them to perform better.

If showing good manners means that we act and speak in a way that shows value to others, then embarrassing them would be the complete opposite of that goal.

Once we engage in this type of behavior, we lose the respect of those around us.  Without respect, we can't motivate others, people don't care whether they please us or not, and we can't inspire people to want to change.  We cripple our ability to lead others to succeed when we don't have their respect and admiration.

We all have wonderful memories of teachers, youth leaders, and adult friends who truly inspired us, made us want to work harder, study more, and achieve greater things.  What was so special about them?  For me, they were the teachers, leaders, and parents that I knew cared about me and want me to achieve, learn and grow.  They bent over backwards to help me succeed.

Whether we're teaching, parenting, or working in any position of leadership, we must ask ourselves why we're here.

Do we really care and want to help, inspire, motivate, and change? 

 If so, remember to always use respect and honor to those around us.  We'll never receive what we're not willing to give.

Monica

Helping Our Children to Politely Receive Compliments

We all can struggle at times when we receive a compliment from someone. Often, it can make us feel awkward because we’re not sure the best way to respond.  If it’s difficult for us, then we must assume it also can be difficult for our children.

The best way to respond to a compliment, is simply, “Thank you.”  However, we want to show our sincere gratitude as we say, “thank you” and we can do this by looking the person in the eye, and with true sincerity, express our gratitude.

With our children, it is a great idea to role play a few example situations.  For instance, let’s say someone at church says to our daughter, “That is such a lovely dress you have on today.  You look beautiful.”  Our child would hopefully look up and make eye contact and then say something like, “Thank you so much.  My grandma bought it for me.”

On another occasion, a neighbor could come up to our son and say something like, “Wow, you really are fast on your bike.”  Hopefully, our son would stop, look up at the neighbor making eye contact while smiling and say something like, “Well thank you so much for noticing.  I’ve been practicing a lot and trying to get faster.”

Today, it seems very  impressive when any child or young person simply makes eye contact and speaks directly and purposefully with adults.  Too often, children and young people look down at the ground when an adult tries to speak to them and mumbles responses that are sometimes difficult to understand.

Parents, as you role play some scenarios with your children, they will increase in their confidence and be able to handle compliments from others with kindness and gratitude.  Practice makes perfect.  

Have a great month!

Monica Irvine

Business Telephone Etiquette

All businesses hopefully realize that the way in which they answer the telephone and communicate with their customers on the telephone is their most important asset.

How often have we as consumers decided in less then 10 seconds whether or not we were going to do business with a company or someone depending on how they answered the phone?  It's so important.

The best way for me to discuss these skills in this particular platform is to list them out.  However, if you're interested in a much more detailed approach, please see my professional services page on my website.

📱 Answer the phone by the third ring, expressing a welcome, identifying the company and then yourself.

📱 Remember that customers can hear your mood and appreciation for the call by your voice, tone, speed of speech, and energy level.  Smile--they can hear it your voice.

📱 Try to make sure there's no background noise or distractions while speaking to the customer.  You really can't multi-task well when you're talking on the phone to a customer.

📱 The person who initiates the call is the person who should initiate the end of the call.

📱  Before discussing personal matters with a customer, verify that now is a good time for them to discuss such matters.

📱 Never get too personal with a customer unless the customer is the one to initiate such comments or questions.

📱 Never place a caller on hold without getting their permission to do so first, and never leave them on hold for more than 30 seconds without coming back to inform them of progress or possible further wait.

📱  Always reply with a yes or no or perhaps a "let me check to see if he's available" before asking the caller for their name after they have asked to speak to someone.

📱 Ask the caller for their name and number before transferring them to another department or person in case the call is accidentally lost.  Inform them of who and where you're transferring them to and why are doing so.  Give the name and direct number to the caller in case the call is accidentally lost.

📱 Give needed information to the second customer service rep so the caller doesn't have to repeat information already given.

📱 Show customer appreciation for their call by thanking them, asking them if there's anymore you can help them with, and wishing them a wonderful day.

The are just a few etiquette skills that go a long way in ensuring that our customers feel our appreciation for them and our commitment to excellence.

Warmly

Monica Irvine