When I was 10 months pregnant with my first son, I remember waddling onto the Metro in DC after meeting my mom for lunch.
It was a bazillion degrees, because I had a coat and a bag and a hat and gloves and a massive belly and 60 extra pounds of a weight. And it was one of those early November days that couldn’t decide if it wanted to go ahead and be done with fall, but in the meantime was all, “Screw you winter, you’re not the boss of me!”
I shuffled onto the train, during rush hour, pushed and prodded by busy commuters who could not care less that a briefcase just whacked my fetus in the spine. I grabbed onto the pole to catch my breath and looked around for a place to sit.
There were none.
Even the disabled seats were taken.
Young women, young men, earbuds in, their faces angrily jammed into some reading material (the actual paper kind because this was in the olden days, before iPads and Kindles and stuff).
A few people made eye contact and then quickly snatched them away, pretending they didn’t see the sweaty pregnant lady with the beard and the labored breathing (do NOT question the beard, it’s gone now, but it was there during pregnancy, I think to make me look tougher or, um, something).
So I held onto my pole for dear life, and I leaned against the door for support, and I took off as many articles of clothing as I could and I looked around to see who should be the one to catch the barf I knew was coming (probably the guy who’d nearly trampled me to take the last remaining seat when we’d entered).
After a couple of stops a mom, with THREE small children on her lap, one of which was a teeny baby, yelled down the train car to me, “Girl, you better get that belly over here and sit down!”
I didn’t want to, because SHE HAD A NEWBORN, but my back was contracting something fierce and literally every single other able bodied human on that train car was ignoring me like I had an invisibility cloak slung around my shoulders.
Thankfully a fellow mother was looking out.
Sadly the rest of humanity in the DC Metro area could not be bothered to.
I wish I could’ve video taped all of the men on that train, and put the video on YouTube for their mamas to see (darn you YouTube, why weren’t you invented then?!). I seriously hope there would be some Thanksgiving shaming over it, but I’m fearful their inconsiderate apples don’t fall far from the tree.
There will be no inconsiderate apples falling off of my tree.
Here’s how we teach The Dudes the fine arts of chivalry, good manners, proper etiquette, and gratitude.
Teaching Boys Gratitude, Etiquette, Manners & Chivalry
1. Lead by example. Confession: before The Dudes came along I was terrible about things like thank you cards. Like really, hideously bad (sorry everyone who gave me a baby shower gift in 2001 and didn’t get a thank you card). Now, I make it a point to not only do it with my boys, after a birthday party, but I also let them see me doing it. Writing out cards, calling a friend to say thank you, sending someone flowers just to say I appreciate their friendship. Now, bring me a gift so I can thank you for it!
2. Teach them the proper way to write a thank you note. If you don’t know, that’s cool, kinda weird, but cool and fixable. Check out this little tidbit from Hallmark for help: How to Write a Thank You Note. Knowing the proper technique makes the task easier, allows you to be more creative, and takes the pain out of the process.
3. Make it a gift, not a chore. Be positive about writing thank you notes. Don’t make it this thing you have to do, but something you want to do. Remind your child to think about how whatever prompted their “thank you” made them feel and then ask them to use that energy to create something special for the person they’re thanking.
4. Keep the supplies handy. We always have a stack of thank you cards on hand. You never know when you’re going to need one!
5. Personalize them. Years ago I saw some card deal on some random website and I had like 3000 hundred blank cards with The Dudes holding a thank you sign on the front made for like $19.99. Dude 3 was about 18 months old in the photo, everyone had a ton of hair, my photography skills were negligible, but I still send those out today and people love them (maybe even more now than they did then). You don’t have to use a custom made photo card, but having your child take the time to write a message, or draw a picture that is special helps them understand why expressing gratitude is important and it so makes the day of the recipient.
*Disclosure: Today’s post was inspired by Hallmark’s Life is a Special Occasion campaign that reminds us to cherish moments and celebrate them.