Friday, June 15, 2012

Manners Matter

Some days all I really want is a kind word.
We live in a world that most often focuses self-ward, not outward; and regular manners are regarded as old fashion, silly, purposeless.
Yesterday, we had a tea party. And, if one is to have a proper tea party, there is a certain protocol to follow. The girls wore dresses, as they often do, and Mel washed their hair and made it “very fancy.” 
As I baked cookies, I considered the logistics of saving my Lenox butterfly china while tea partying with four pre-schoolers.
Setting up our table with a Christmas tablecloth on the front porch, Flora said, “This table will be beautiful because this is red.”
And as children and mothers consumed tea, Tang, and nearly four-dozen cookies, we put cloth napkins on our laps and dabbed chocolate from our faces. We even spoke a little French with “S’il vous plait” and “Merci.”

I have shared tea with all my granddaughters and their mothers from tea on the porch to tea at the National Gallery in London. We speak softly, napkins on laps, but—most importantly—we just enjoy being together.

But, it’s rarely tea-time best behavior when we interact with most people.
I had a student this past school year who said, “Thank you, Mrs. Borkert” as he filed past my desk and out the door at the close of every school day. It took me so by surprise at the beginning of the year that I could hardly keep from replying, “You talking to me?” in response.
But, as the days, weeks, and months played out, many of us learned the significance of a simple, kind word.
Some days all I really want is a kind word.

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