My kid’s shocking behavior: watch your kids for the same

I have always said that I would prefer that if my kids were going to have moments of disrespect, disobedience, and disarray, I would rather those episodes occur within the confines of our home where I can deal with it swiftly and privately.

I always have also reminded both of my children to use their manners. I  have reminded them to take others’ needs into consideration. I have reminded them to be kind.

And for the most part, I have had to trust that what I have taught them to do in my absence actually happens.

They were sent to every birthday party, family function with the former husband, and social event with a reminder (or nagging statement), “Hey, kid…remember to: say please…say thank you…offer your seat to another…smile…say please and thank you again…offer to help.”

And they would respond, “We KNOW, Mama. We KNOW” with an occasional eye roll.

Out the door they would go and when they returned, I would grill them: “You used your manners? You were helpful?”

“Yes, Mama!” with another eye roll. And a big sigh.

After a while, I just had to trust.

Until last Friday night.

We had a casual family dinner with my out-of-town sister and her family at our dad’s house. It was a laid back evening: great barbecue takeout from a top KC BBQ joint (the one housed in a gas station!), a late dinner, and no formal table. Perfect for a Friday night to connect as a family.

Repeatedly through the evening, I observed moments of sheer bliss as a parent. My children were applying what they had been taught. Without nagging, nudging or needling.

They brought chairs into the room to accommodate extra seating.

They gently reminded their cousins when an elder needed room to sit.

They engaged with others.

They used their manners.

In such an amazing way.

And as a final stamp of approval, Thing Two, when he said goodnight to me on the night that we registered him for high school, kissed me on the forehead and said, “Thank you.” 

I paused and said, “What for?”

“For taking me to the high school to get everything ready for the year. I know you’re busy. I know it’s extra. But thanks, anyway.”

Shock and awe.

Beautiful shock and awe.

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