Why I Dress My Best….And Expect The Same From My Kids

You may remember this post where I talked about wearing clothes that were still casual (think cotton) but were just a little nicer than shorts. I was surprised that others took notice. At work, I tend to wear dresses. To me, they’re actually more comfortable than pants are (I’m hippy), but they truly do take things up a notch.

The past several times that I’ve gone to WalMart, I’ve done so right after work. I’m there in my mid-high heels and my dress. Nothing super special. For about five times in a row now I’ve been complimented by strangers on looking nice. Usually by the end of the day, my makeup is a blur, and my hair isn’t the way I had it in the morning. They’re not necessarily inferring “pretty.” They were simply saying the appreciated that I wasn’t there with wet hair and shorts with “juicy” written across.

Our culture has become increasingly casual – to the point where someone in a simple cotton dress is noticed. Can I tell you my secret? I have about seven dresses. That’s all I wear to work. It keeps my closet cleaner. I prefer a minimalistic approach to living. I have two pair of earrings that I wear regularly. I also have a necklace that goes with about four of my dresses. I’m no Kate Middleton. I just do what works for me, but I truly do not think stepping up how we dress is any extra effort at all. As I explained in the first post where I talked about attire, putting on a skirt is really no extra effort than shorts. I’m not turning cartwheels, so I’m not worried about anything in that arena. My top is still a cotton top. It’s still very simple.

I do feel, though, right or wrong, we make an impression on others by how we look. I try to dress my best and for what’s appropriate, and I expect the same for my family. I want my kids to understand that taking a little time on our appearance isn’t vain. It is actually showing respect for ourselves and respect for others.

Thank you for reading! I’d love to hear your thoughts!

When You’re In The Trenches

I’ve had several mommas reach out to me feeling overwhelmed. They want to eat dinner as a family at the table every night. They have every intention of teaching their babies to say “please” and thank you.” They know thank you notes are a kind gesture. It’s the implementation of it all that makes them feel like it’s not doable.

I know. I have felt (and still feel in many cases) like it’s not attainable – that my family will not be like the Cleavers. Laundry goes unfolded many days; we have eat-in-front-of-the-tv nights like that vast majority of Americans; I forget to send thank you notes (have I mentioned that’s my etiquette flaw…ahem). Anyhow, it’s all okay, and it’s all going to continue to be okay.

We’re not perfect, and try as we might, we never will be perfect. And it still will be okay.

Instead of giving up, I hope you find encourgement in this post. Give yourself grace. Instead of continuing to think about whatever it was that you missed (a thank you note, dinner for a new mom, etc.), let it completely go. We can start again right now. We don’t even have to wait until tomorrow. 🙂

Something that truly helps me is to make a list. A to do list, a to buy list – whatever is needed. Getting it on paper helps me prioritize what needs to be done. To help me with gifts for showers or birthdays, I try to buy ahead. This is most helpful with hostess gifts, as I tend to give similar items. These are also items I personally love and would use. If I’m hosting my own party, the cocktail napkins I have in my stash come in handy.

For my kids, they learn best by example. In theory I’d love to go over the history of tea with them, but to be honest, they just wouldn’t be into it beyond an American Girl tea party. Repetitition is what helps them learn with etiquette. Instead of expecting them to know when to say thank you in public, make it a habit at home.

In most cases with etiquette, the saying “better late than never” holds true. I’d much rather receive a belated thank you note and know the recipient got the gift than to never receive one because they thought it was too late. I find people have more grace for us than we have for ourselves.

What tips would you add?

Thank you for reading!

 

How To Raise Polite Kids

Let me start off by saying that by no means are my kids close to perfect. They’re 3 and 5. They love mud puddles (including drinking from them for my son….ick), they kiss the dog, and we finally figured out why we had so many spoons missing after they learned to take their plate to the kitchen. They were simply throwing them away. Sigh.

However, overall I feel my job as Mom is to raise polite adults. This starts with them learning to be polite kids. Today I have a few pointers to share with you, and I hope you find them encouraging.

  1. Be a polite adult. I don’t advocate treating kids like adults, but I do advocate being polite to everyone, including children. It’s like the old saying goes – Monkey see, monkey do. When speaking with my kids (or any child, for that matter), don’t interrupt them or cut them off unless it’s necessary. There most definitely will be times it’s necessary. However, the more I let my kids talk to me like this, the more they tell me. It may seem unimportant to us, but to them, they’re learning so much, and it’s exciting. I also make sure to treat other adults with respect all of the time, including in my car at a four-way stop that apparently is difficult for people to understand. Ahem. They listen always. Be polite.
  2. Use Please and Thank You regularly. This definitely ties in with number one, but one of my proudest mom moments was when my daughter didn’t need any prompting to say thank you to someone who had complimented her. I just love that she knew what to do. My son is finally at this point, too, for the most part.
  3. Have them write thank you notes. If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know that I have to write thank you notes pretty much immediately. Or they get put off. And put off. And out off. It’s my etiquette flaw. I want this to be second nature for my kids, so I make sure they understand why we write these notes, how we write them, etc. My daughter can write simple ones, but for my son, I have him draw a picture or write his name to include him in the process.
  4. Have family meals. There is no better time to teach dinner etiquette than in the safety and comfort of your own home. Basic utensil use, napkin use, and chewing with your mouth closed are all skills honed by repetitive use. Plus, you get invaluable time together.

Do you have something you think should be added to the list? Please leave it in the comment section for everyone else to have a chance to read, too! J Thank you for reading.

 

Church Etiquette For Youth, Part 2

I hope the first part in the series wasn’t too off base for you. This part may not be what you’re expecting, either.

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We, as adults, have an obligation for setting standards for our youth. At an age that is appropriate for the denomination, older youth should have ways to help the church, whether that is being part of the choir, an acolyte, an usher or whatever job is age appropriate. With proper adult guidance, these youth will become the active part of the church. Without them, the church is literally dying.

Kids are much more capable than we often give them credit for. Unless it is against the rules of a particular church, it is proper etiquette for adult church leaders to offer roles to youth. It is important to get parental approval first, though.

Adults, give the same respect to a child participating in a worship service as you would give another adult. If an acolyte is walking down the aisle, don’t cut them off to rush out, unless it is truly an emergency. There is a sacredness to each act, and if we want our youth to respect it, we should, too.

Adults and older youth – if you see a parent with his or her hands’ full, please open the door for them.

Adults – please do not touch young babies without the parent’s permission. If you are sick, wait until you are well.

Now we’re about to get into some grayer area.

As mentioned in a previous post, kids should be dressed respectfully. If they are not walking, though, there is no need for shoes other than parents’ choice. If an outfit is extremely uncomfortable for a child, please don’t dress them in it. It is unlikely they will be still, and they will probably try to escape out of it.

Parents, it is your responsibility to only take your children to worship services when they are well. Just like babies are susceptible to illnesses, the elderly are, as well.

I hope these two posts will help adults and children have more grace and respect for each other. Life isn’t a Pinterest board, and things will not be perfect all of the time. However, through etiquette, we can feel more comfortable in knowing what expectations are set for us.

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Thank you for reading!