February 21, 2010

Courtesy is Never Wasted

When my family lived in the Baltimore area, we would spend the day before Fast Sunday (which we called Slow Saturday) at the Visitor’s Center of the Washington D.C Temple. We never tired of the displays, the replica of ancient Jerusalem that told a story and lit up here and there when someone pressed the “start” button.

We watched films and listened to the statue of the Christus talk. We toured the grounds and hiked around the trails in the wooded area surrounding the Temple.

One day, we took our walking sticks and my son, Buddy, who is on the Autism Spectrum, finally had his stick taken away due to dangerous swinging. He threw a fit, jumping up and down, screaming and sobbing, “Don’t tell me what to do! Stop telling me what to do!” After quite a few more tears he became reasonable and able to listen, so I told a story about a boy falling from a high ledge and getting injured because he didn’t want his family counseling him to get down when he was doing dangerous things on that ledge. I asked him what I should do in a situation like that. He sighed and said, “I guess you should tell me to get down.” Moaning, he dropped his head into his hands, folded in on himself, and wailed, “I’m doomed to be told what to do forever!”

Fast forward to another day. I was applying my makeup, while having a conversation with my husband. My son, Buddy, came to me and said, “Mom, you know how everyday you tell us what you want us to do for school at home?”

“Yes,” I replied tentatively, curious about what was on his mind, as when dealing with Aspies, you never know what to expect.

“Well, you forget to say please. And you’re always supposed to say please when you want people to do something!” And he walked away.

My husband started giggling at my thoroughly chastised self. “You’d better remember to say please.” I've decided that courtesy and manners were very important to this boy who was so "doomed" to be told what to do forever. It wouldn't hurt me to be more considerate of this.

Courtesy has always been important in our household but please, would you, thank you, may I, are positive character building phrases to use and teach. We want our children to learn these things, so it's important to use them with them. And since we are all doomed to be told what to do forever, by one person or another, anyway, I am certain that using courtesy begets kindness, kindness begets patience, patience begets love, and love, being charity, which is the greatest of all, never faileth. Especially when homeschooling

~~Teresa is a widow, with 4 children at home, 2 of whom are on the Autism Spectrum. She expects them to be home with her for, at least, the next 50 years, and is preparing for all eternity. You can find them at Wockenflock Daze.

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