Friday, March 4, 2011

Holding Your Breath #1

Welcome to Holding Your Breath installment #1! Please don’t really hold your breath — we’re just referring to those moments when adults (especially parents) anxiously watch as children navigate their world, trying to figure out how to treat others.

Sometimes, children surprise us with a burst of nearly unrecognizable good manners. Sometimes, they make us inwardly cringe as they push or shove on the playground or bawl when opening an unwanted present. Sometimes, we have to leave the room so they don’t catch us laughing.

Our first Holding Your Breath comes from a friend of ours, who shares this hilarious story about a little boy she knows.

A few years ago, the child — then 7 years old and described as having “enough energy for four kids” — was at a dinner part with his family. All who knew him actually held their breath when he entered the room, filled with formally-set tables and antiques on display.

No one expected that the child would sneak into the bathroom, soak his hair in the sink and plaster it flat and back (“like a soggy little reject from an old movie,” writes our friend), and return to theatrically offer to pull out a chair and help seat an elderly woman.

He did this for every woman at the table, and later actually bowed while inviting people to dance.

Apparently, his father had been showing him old movies, and the child had deemed these dashing, chivalrous male film stars of yesteryear as “cool.” (Or, “coooooooool,” as he said, we are told.)

It’s a good reminder that children are little sponges (literally, in the case of this sopping-wet-headed child)—they soak up the information we give them. Even the most spirited can internalize good manners, so parents, keep leading by example and have a lot of patience!

Have a Holding Your Breath moment to share? Contact us via Twitter, Facebook, or e-mail us to send in your stories!

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