If the phrase above has a tune of its own floating through your mind right now, you must have a child around the ages of 8 to 11 who used to watch Playhouse Disney. Do you remember the name of the show or (bonus points) the name of the character who walked around singing the song?
Even after my DS (Dashing Son) stopped watching the show, I caught myself tuning in alone. I loved the primary colors, simple themes, and catchy songs. Was I brainwashed by the Disney Toddler Programming? Nah. But it was about as complex as my mommy-of-two-under-the-age-of-three brain could handle at the time. And I appreciated the fact that the parents on the show tried to teach their two children manners.
I always had the usual goals when it came to raising our DS and DD (Darling Daughter). I wanted them to learn their letters, draw and paint, play with Play-Doh, create imaginary worlds with Matchbox cars and Barbie dolls. But for some reason, I always had a strong urge to teach them manners from a very early age. Maybe it was because I had my DS first and felt out of my league. I had two sisters, we were “perfect angels,” and I knew nothing about raising a boy. Maybe I was overcompensating for my lack of boy-skills, but I was determined to have my DS be that little boy in preschool who was so adorable because he always said please, or God bless you, or excuse me.
But I have something even better. I have a DS who taught me that it’s the meaning behind the manners that matters most. (Wow, say that 3 times fast!) It was more important for him to know why mommy wanted him to say these words. And for years he would say the magic words if I asked him to, with or without understanding why, and I thought that was enough. I am happy to say we have reached a turning point this summer. He is almost 9, and I see him really feeling it when he tells me he’s sorry, or when he gives me a quick hug and says, “Thanks, Mommy.” It means more to know that he truly understands the sentiment behind the action, the reason for the words. Don’t misunderstand – I still remind him that an “excuse me” is needed even when his sister is giggling uncontrollably because he just burped his ABCs (thank you to Hammy in Over the Hedge). And don’t get me started on a discussion of the proper way to address potty talk. But it’s a start.
Oh, and back to that classic Disney show that inspired this blog. The award goes to Rolie Polie Olie, and more specifically, to Zowie Olie, the toddler sister and singer of the “Yes Thank You Please” song. Now who gets those bonus points?