I remember it well. It was my tenth birthday, and my great-grandfather had just given me a new fishing rod and reel. Without thinking, I ran out onto the lawn and started catching imaginary five-pound rainbow trout out of my mother’s flower garden.
In my state of euphoria, I’d forgotten to thank him for my gift. Like a lightning bolt, my mother shot out of the house, screen door smacking behind her. “What did you forget to say?” she asked with loving authority.
I was lucky enough to grow up in a home where three words were modeled and always expected. Two of them were “Thank you” and the third was “Please.” We heard our parents use these words a lot. They used them with each other, with other adults, and with us.
We learned early on that forgetting these words meant certain disapproval and potentially sad consequences. As a result, saying "please" and "thank you" became a habit.
Are your kids developing this habit? If not, it’s never too early to start.
Dr. Charles Fay