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One TODAY mom's work/life moment on manners

From Alicia Ybarbo, TODAY producer & co-author, TODAY'S MOMS:  Essentials for Surviving Baby's First YearToday I produced a segment for the show about manners (video) and how today's parents are making a shift towards more traditional etiquette, primarily influenced by the First Lady, Michelle Obama.  My guest was Linda Murray, of BabyCenter.com, who recently surveyed a little more than 1000 mom

From Alicia Ybarbo, TODAY producer & co-author, TODAY'S MOMS:  Essentials for Surviving Baby's First Year

Today I produced a segment for the show about manners (video) and how today's parents are making a shift towards more traditional etiquette, primarily influenced by the First Lady, Michelle Obama.  My guest was Linda Murray, of BabyCenter.com, who recently surveyed a little more than 1000 moms on the subject.  An overwhelming 81% of moms shared that today it's more important than ever to teach a child manners. 

Easier said than done. 

If there's one thing that I learned from my parents (which I'm still learning) it's manners.  "Please" and "thank you," "pardon me" and "after you" were all elements of my childhood that weren't taught, but picked up.  My siblings and I were never sat down and taught etiquette/manners (I don't really know anyone who was).  We were taught by example, and today, I try to do the same with my own children.   

My family: Jack, Lucy and Mark

But, by golly, I got the most encouraging news from my son's kindergarten teachers yesterday at his parent-teacher conference.   First thing Ms. Stacy and Ms. Ali shared was a note, folded several times, from Jack.  A thank you note! This is what it said:  

"Daku for te me wou to masurz I noh to mak surz naw" 

It may look like hieroglyphics, but it was Jack's FIRST handwritten thank you note.  Unsolicited, unprompted, it was all Jack's doing.  Loosely translated, for those who don't understand my five-year-old’s writing, "Thank you for teaching me how to make stars. I know how to make stars now." 

I was beaming, could not have been more proud of my thankful little boy.  (Enter Ode To Joy music here.)  This was a moment to mentally photograph and keep forever. 

So for all the times that I (often unsuccessfully) prompt my children to say hello to people, thank parents for play dates at their house and ask to be excused from the table... I need to remind myself that, if we continue to teach by example, that one day they will pick up on it.