Most recently, we've had a refocus on good manners in our home (any mother of young boys understands why the focus!) So I was very happy to discover a series of books written by the great Wilbur Munro Leaf (The Story of Ferdinand) and boy how I love these! I first found a couple of these from the library before locating the entire collection on Amazon and eBay.
Written in the 1940s, they predate the embrace of individualism and entitlement
our culture has experienced over the last few decades. They strip it down to the valid truth that it is important to get along well with other people. None of us can thrive to our full potential alone in a bubble.
In a time where it is so easy to be plugged in and tuned out from living people,
the critical skills of socialisation and self -discipline seem lost. We want to teach him the value of a good strong handshake and the importance of honesty, fairness, strength of character and wisdom. How to Behave and Why covers these topics charmingly. We have other books on manners but these are so simple and clear, with fun illustrations.
There is so much magic that happens when people connect, support and
share their knowledge and friendship. He is already learning the lessons of teamwork but in time he will need to work on many teams with many different personalities.
Manner and good behaviour go beyond 'rules', incentives and "because I said so" - it is a personal choice that we all make and I hope he learns that manners go beyond chewing with his mouth closed or elbows off the table. It is understanding that manners are also about other people (gasp!) and the the value of actually caring what others think about us (double gasp!) and setting examples. And let's be honest, it is also a little bit about putting the cap back on the toothpaste and using a napkin. :)