Dear Faithful Family & Friends,
While we continue to await the birth of Lucy Elanor, I will share another story about my grandson, Benjamin, if you will humor me. By the way, did you notice that I wrote, in my previous update: “the birth of our first granddaughter?” I was, perhaps, inspired by “Marmee” of “Little Women” and her four daughters . . . .
While we wait, Marmee has been enforcing good manners in her home. It began innocently enough: I told Benjamain [2 & 1/2 years old] that, when I was growing up, my father did not allow any of his children to say, “I do not like this!” when considering a home-made offering at the dining table. Our father taught us what his father taught him: “If your mother made it, it is good! Now, be quiet and be thankful!” My father and mother raised four children on one modest income and my mother was the Queen of Casseroles, Soups, and Stews. As for me, I had a healthy appetite and never met a food I did not like.
Anyway, I offered choices to Benjamin, suggesting “Thank you but I do not care for this” or “I do not prefer this but I thank you” or “Thank you but I am not hungry at this moment.”
Benjamin caught on quite rapidly to the language of polite nonconformity. Soon, he developed the art of defying instructions with exquisitely good manners, as he charmingly refused to pick up toys, take his bath, and settle down for a nap.
I realized, too late, that I had perhaps gone too far in my Etiquette Lessons, when Benjamin’s father, Daniel, related to me this recent conversation:
Benjamin: “I would like to watch another ‘Construction Site’ DVD.”
Daniel: “No, you have watched enough DVDs. You may play with your toys or we can read a book together.”
Benjamin: “Thank you for your offer . . . but I would prefer to watch another Construction Site DVD.”