Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Posts tagged ‘Good manners’

Train Up A Child In the Way He Should Go…

Little Judah was already tired. He’s just three years old and he had this long, unwavering patience not found in most children. Lans had to tag the little boy with us because she was his babysitter for the day.

“Ban-og ka (Are you tired)?” she asked Judah in Ilocano.

The little boy shook his head a wee bit as we were trudging along an inclined path. Still, she lovingly gave him a piggyback ride on her back.

I was impressed with this little boy. He has been with us in an event full of adults, an almost childless place where he could have the right to be bored and display social tantrums. But I did not hear him whimper a sigh of complaint. I have noticed that this has been the personality of most Igorot people – they are not pushy and they are very kind. I wonder how well they were raised as children. I could see that Lans and with the other adults around him are raising him well.

Most parents today, especially those who the Igorot people would label as lowlanders, are quite confused with the thin line of discipline and cruelty, as well as kindness and spoiling children. I find some parents not being aware that their way of discipline is actually destroying them.

I had observed how some parents would berate and try to embarrass their children in public by calling them “stupid”, “fool”, or “useless”. A former colleague felt sorry for a three or two-year-old who was berated by his father by blurting out a curse just because the child accidentally spills his drink inside the jeepney. Parents who would scold like that would never discipline a child because they are just declaring who their children might be when they grow older. They usurp their authority as a parent because they don’t realize there is power when they are declaring names over their children.

I must admit I don’t like children who do not regard their elders around them. There was a five-year-old girl who did not give me a mano (the Tagalog tradition of children placing their elder’s hands on their forehead as a sign of respect), despite her mother nearly screaming at her to do it. In return, I could not help but glare at her threateningly to set down her utensils because she was already waving them before our faces (despite her mother screaming at her again). Most of the times, screaming and shouting is not the way to discipline them. I guess children are tired of their parents’ screams so they would taunt them by closing their ears. A sincere heart-to-heart talk is all they need because they need to understand the consequences of their actions.

Let me go back to little Judah. Now, Judah has an elder sister named Blessie. At one time, Blessie made drawings on the wall and Judah imitated her. You know how messy a clean wall can become when scribbled by a playful kid. Lans, in her patient nature, set aside Blessie and talked with her gently.

“Did you see the drawing on the wall?”

The little girl nodded.

“Did you see what Judah did after you wrote on the wall?”

No long sermon needed. By the sound of her question, Blessie understood her mistake. She nodded without a word.

“Do you see it’s wrong to draw on the wall?”

Blessie nodded.

“That’s right. You should be a good example to your little brothers because you are their ate (elder sister). So be careful with what you do. Ok?”

No raising of voice. Words were just spoken calmly like the morning waves of the sea. But it deeply strikes the conscience like an arrow. Blessie did not leave any marks on the wall anymore.

It’s tragic when our lighthearted culture dictates it looks cute when small children display tantrums around elders because they look funny. But tolerating that would only tolerate rebelliousness. That’s why when parents correct bad habits by the time children are older, these kids snap out of it and slap it back on their parents’ faces.

Much needed to correct in the way we correct our children. Somehow, most parents in my generation are not used to be disciplined because they belong to a generation waning away from the strict authoritarian rule exuded by our much older Spanish ancestors. They have created their own way of discipline. There is a need for parents to be aware how to discipline their children well without removing love out of their system. There is a greater need for parents to learn how to pass down good traits to their own children in a well-mannered and disciplined way.

I have this sense that our culture has a big factor in the way we react to correction and discipline. Truly Proverbs is already advising us to “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” If we instil into them the wisdom to do what’s right at an early age, they will embrace it as they grow up. When we discipline them in the correct way, they will grow up as good-mannered citizens. With this, we can be proud of ourselves and with them, because we are adding up another history maker in this generation that needs deeper understanding on what is right or wrong.

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Good-mannered Surprise Visits

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One of my goddaughters came to our house recently. There was no occasion for the visit, she said she just wanted to hang around. I would have gladly received her, but her visit was unnanounced. Worst yet, it was an unholy hour for a ten-year old girl to come a long way from her house.

Her visit bothered me (and my chores). First of all, she came without adult supervision. Second, she did not knock at the door but tried to get in as if it was her own house. She had this rude sense of familiarity to others. Lastly, she had a little friend that was a complete stranger to me. They came without a purpose. All she did was talk a lot and poke around my unfinished projects. My mom guessed that she just wanted to brag her pretty godmother to her friend. My guess was that she just wanted to catch the attention of some people by bothering them. In the end, we shooed them away nicely.

It’s good to have visitors in the house. But there has been this sense of over familiarity with others that we have lost courtesy to them. So, instead of being welcomed, visitors tend to become bothersome.

Maybe a few of my good-mannered lessons in life can keep one from being labeled as an unwelcomed guest:

1. Have a winsome purpose in dropping-by.
Usually, an occassion (like a birthday or a wedding) is enough reason for visiting a friend or a relative. But if you are to ask for favors, please don’t drop by again and again just to ask for a brush, a stereo, and to borrow money and borrow money again. What would touch the host’s heart is that you would visit to just to see them because you love them.

One of my mother’s former students has been a regular visitor at home. But he is always treated as a welcomed guest even if he would just see how she’s doing or he would be simply asking for advice. He has never been a nuisance because he has always shown courtesy, which leads me to my second point.

2. Show courtesy. Knocking the host’s door is one. Another would be giving your host a heads up by texting or calling them before arriving at their door. I’m not against surprise visits, but it would be an embarrassment for the guest when the host is not at home.

I also mentioned about familiarity. Please, don’t poke around the house (and the fridge) as if it’s your own. Only high-leveled, close buddies can do that. Try to be courteous by not touching anything (except for coffee table books and magazines) when you’re in. If things in the host’s house are interesting, you can talk about it. But if you find it irrisistably interesting, you should ask permission before you can touch (or poke) it.

3. Bring a little blessing to your host. My mom taught me to bring something whenever we visit a friend or a relative. You might think it will cost you much but doesn’t necessarily be a smogasboard to please your host. I guarantee you that generosity can bring happiness. An old friend I gave surprise visits before was happy with the take-out meal or small pastries I gave her. Bringing something to the host can be an expression of love. Visitors should show their appreciation by giving a little something to their hosts.

The next time you give somebody a surprise visit, be sure to be called a welcomed guest. Although guests should be treated highly, the guest should also show their appreciation to the host by being well-mannered.

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