Thursday, January 24, 2013


To my son Tommy,

You have such good manners especially for a four year old.  "Yes please" and "No Thank You" are common phrases in your conversation.  Even in dire situations you remember your manners.  You have more than once thanked a doctor or nurse for a shot.  Getting a needle in the arm is probably one time we would expect decorum to go out the window, but not with you.

Everyone comments about your politeness and asks us how we did this.  Honestly your mom and I didn't set out to try.  Sure we give you an occasional correction here and there, usually when you decide to call one of your aunts by the first name without the Aunt title.  But that is about it.  I guess you got it like I got it, from imitating your parents.

Your mother and I have not now, nor probably will ever, fallen into too much comfort that we don't use those "magic" words when talking to each other.  Some believe such formalities are not necessary for someone you love and are so close to.  They assume they are "understood" and omitted for brevity or conservation of energy or some odd reason of the like.  I personally believe if I am going to "spend the effort" on kind and polite words that I should spend it on the people I love first.  It sure has given us a very enjoyable side effect of you learning such a good trait in dealing with other people.

Even when you and I play with your toys and make them talk to each other, we use polite well mannered conversation, well except for the Scooby Doo monster figurines whom you eerily refer to as demons.  But even then you can occasionally hear one of those spooks say "Excuse me Mr Shaggy sir, I am here to scare you please, so Boo!"

To this day, I say "Yes Sir" and "Yes Ma'am" to just about everyone.  I say it to your mother, your grandparents, and such people that you would expect deserve respect.  I have had some of your mom's relatives say it isn't necessary but it is part of who I am.  I also say it to you and your cousins and many people no matter their age.  Some observers, who don't know me and my sincerity, think it is condescending but it certainly is not meant to be.  They also don't know I spent 20 years of my life as an army brat where such answers are the norm.  I learned it from watching my father use these same phrases just like you are learning from me.

So when others ask me how I "trained" you to be so polite, I have no clue.  Just lucky I guess.  There is no magic secret and if you have to make a concerted effort to teach manners, perhaps you need to look at your own manners and how often your practice them.  Of course the moment I start to think we have the most well mannered son in the world, I try to sit and talk to him about letting mommy be, because she is not feeling well and get paid back with screaming and a couple swift kicks to the groin as you try to break away.  Life is never perfect.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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