Posts Tagged 'manners'

Across the US: Our Great Adventure: Part 3


Sophie folding her arms and Micah tying his shoes.

Sophie folding her arms and Micah tying his shoes.

Somewhere in Iowa we stopped at a shopping mall to get food and unwind for a while. Sophie was having a grand time running around screaming, and Micah was too.

One of the things we have been working on with Micah is tying his shoes. They come untied a lot, so he gets lots of practice (yes, we have him double knot the bows, and they still come undone somehow).

In this photo (taken on my camera phone) you can see Sophie getting distracted just after we asked her to fold her arms. This is a relatively new trick (the folding of the arms, not the getting distracted) that nobody really expected her to do. She just started doing it all on her own. It’s super cute though, and now she does it on command all the time, or even just when we say, “OK, time for a prayer.”

Micah’s getting better about tying his shoes, but we still have a long way to go on that one. The first few attempts were very frustrating for everyone, and they lasted hours. These days it depends on how interested he is in doing it, but it will only take him anywhere from an hour to ten minutes to tie both shoes.

Ever since I got back from training Sophie has been playing a game with me that she came up with all on her own (and she thinks it’s hilarious). When I initially returned she saw me and knew that I was the “dad” guy she talked to on the computer. She called me “Dad” or “Dada” for a couple of days, then one day she looked at me and thought about it before deciding to call me “mom” instead (very deliberately). The way she said it I knew she was playing around, so I said, “No, not mom. Dad,” with a smile on my face.

“Mom?” She persisted.

“No, dad.” We were both smiling and her posture indicated excited anticipation.

“Mom?” She just kept repeating it every time I corrected her.

This went on for a little longer than I would have thought it would, then one time I said, “No, silly. I’m dad.” With that she let out the silliest and most mischievous little laugh you ever heard and nodded her head.

“Dad,” she said decidedly.

“Yeah, daddy.”

“Dad-deeeee.” She repeated (kind of).

Now, any time she feels like playing the game, she looks at me and says, “mom?” Sometimes the game lasts a few seconds, other times she drags it on for most of the afternoon. Sometimes strangers feel bad for the father whose daughter doesn’t know how to say, “dad,” so they try to console me. “It’s ok, some children don’t distinguish well between their mother and father with words, but she knows you’re her daddy.”

I just smile and let them think what they like. My daughter knows exactly what to call me, and she knows how to play too. Sometimes, if I really want to get a good giggle out of her, all I have to do is start calling her “mom” or “Micah.” That really gets her going. I never worry about her not knowing who I am though. She knows who I am. Sometimes she even cries when I leave the room (which both breaks my heart and gives me a warm feeling inside at the same time) or begs for me to pick her up.

And you should hear her manners! “Peeeeeeeeez” and “dank-oo” can be heard very clearly these days (though “please” usually comes out with a “t” instead of a “p”). Sometimes she forgets her manners though, and in that case she just says, “mo?” (more) over and over again until you make her say please.

We’ve got more photos on the camera, but the camera is out in the car and I don’t feel like going to get it. Tomorrow we’re going to a free zoo in Chicago and we’ll take a lot more photos there. Look for updates to the photo album tomorrow evening or sometime Sunday. Of course, when I update I’ll try to post here, but sometimes all I get around to doing is uploading the stuff and going to bed. We don’t ever drive too late (most days we stop before five in the afternoon), but that doesn’t keep us from having long days.

M&E According to Me

The title stands for Manners & Etiquette According to Me, and this may become a reoccurring theme here.  Sometimes I just need to get something out of my system, or I may just want to share something I think everyone should follow in the department of manners and etiquette.  I guess the first “official” post to this category should be the one called Bleeping Beep that I published back in April.

Today though I have something different.  It’s kind of an addition to an already existing rule of etiquette – the rule of excusing oneself after expelling excess gas (through either end).

Allow me to set the scene.  You’re hanging out with someone (or a bunch of people) and suddenly you hear a random “excuse me” from the person you’re with, completely out of nowhere.  Your immediate reaction is “what?  Excuse you for what?”  An onslaught of possible meanings for the much overused “excuse me” begins to zip through your brain as you try to make sense of what you just heard.  Is someone trying to get through?  Did someone interrupt?  What is going on?!?

What actually happened is that the person who said, “excuse me” felt the need to excuse themselves after burping or passing gas.  The whole confusing mess (well, maybe not all of the mess) could have been avoided by following my simple rule:

Thou shalt not excuse thyself in a voice louder than the sound your body hath made.

Let me explain.  It’s really quite simple.  If you say “excuse me” in a voice louder than the noise your body made, people are going to hear you excuse yourself that didn’t hear what you did.  Why do you need to excuse yourself to them?  Even if there’s a smell, they didn’t hear the noise so you don’t need to excuse yourself unless they say something (or pass out).

If the loudness of your voice matches the volume of your blunder, only those who heard the deed will hear you excuse yourself, and this avoids the confusion entirely.

Personally, I excuse myself in a voice softer than my bodily function’s volume.  In this way, I completely avoid the confusion, and (as an added bonus) I keep those barely within earshot of the bodily noise guessing as to what just happened.  This is much more fun than being a bore and assuring myself everyone hears my apology for contributing to global warming in the most natural way.

Bleeping Beep

Anyone who has made a trip to the movie theater lately has seen the creative advertisements reminding moviegoers to silence their cell phones. Nobody questions the need for such ads, because we all get the point – it would be really annoying if some guy in front of you (or behind) had a cell phone ringing to the tone of the latest pop hit right at that crucial moment when everyone is leaning into the film.

As a result of such advertisements and signs in specific public places, cell phones do not cause quite the disturbance they are capable of. There is another disturbance [in the force], however, that is much older and far more annoying than the cell phone. I’ve heard many an excuse for these disturbances, and I am aware of potential uses for the perpetrator, but I am this close to coordinating a large-scale movement to have a particular feature of a certain, common, personal electronic device completely abolished.

Please, allow me to share a few ways that these horrid devices have ruined many a special moment for me.

Imagine the feeling: Everything was perfect. We had planned this moment for a long time. As a missionary for my church, I had worked and served and planned so that a new baptism could take place at our meeting house. We filled the baptismal font with perfectly warm water, scrubbing and rinsing it out beforehand so the tiles would shine. We vacuumed the room where the service would be held preceding the ordinance to be carried out. We set out the programs on a table just inside the entrance. We laid out the hymn books, one on each seat for the attendees. We had the white baptismal clothing cleaned the night before and had it hanging, waiting in the changing room. Everything was set up to perfection. The guests all arrived, the young man who was getting baptized, the bishop… Everyone was in their proper place five minutes early. We had a CD player singing beautiful, soft music in the background. What a knockout job of setting the mood for such a memorable day for the new member of our church.

Then, the program started, right on time (of course). A couple of speakers, a special musical performance by a family we had asked to participate, and finally the moment arrived for us to huddle around the baptismal font and carry out the special ordinance. A missionary descended into the water with the young man, who was beaming with glee. They stood in the water, said the pr– BEEP BEEP! What the… ?!? Who… ? How inconsiderate! Of course, the baptism continued without any other incidents, but that moment will be engraved in my mind forever.

One of my earliest memories with this rude, inconsiderate molestation takes me back to middle school and high school. Back then, the BEEP BEEP usually signaled the end of class and I was glad to have it… most of the time. Every once and a while, though, one or a few of them would sound in the middle of a special class, or a moment of silence in the morning.

Now, in my current job we pay a lot of respect to the flag and we hold special ceremonies from time to time. Every once and a while my old nemesis returns to steal the show and get those two BEEPs in as loudly and conspicuously as possible for such a small device.

If and when I have been able to identify the human possessing the bleeping beeping device, I have asked them why they keep that ridiculous hourly alarm on. Some respond with the most ignorant response possible, “I don’t know how to turn it off,” and others just shrug. To those who truly don’t know how to turn it off and were too lazy to consult the instructions or never received them, you know there are people around you that know how to do it. For every one person that doesn’t know how to turn it off, I’ll bet there are at least two who would be willing to try to figure it out for you (and it’d probably only take them a few seconds to actually turn it off).

Of course, these bleeping beeps are not confined to special moments or church events. Oh no, these things go off in movies too. Why in the world would someone silence their cell phone but not their watch? If I don’t want to hear your Brittany Spears cell phone ringer, why would I want to have that jarring BEEP BEEP go off at the climax of the film?

Please, out of respect, turn off your darned hourly timer. If you are one of the rare people who uses it to keep track of how much time has gone by at your job or something, get a separate watch and leave it at work or school. Don’t take it with you to special occasions, movies or anything else where you would be expected to silence your cell phone. It’s just logical, if you think about it, but it’s the considerate, humane thing to do as well.

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July 2020

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