By Charlotte Hilton Andersen, REDBOOK
I've never been one of those "Be like little children and world peace will prevail" types. Kids bite, scratch, scream and wipe feces on things that bear no resemblance whatsoever to toilet paper -- who would want everyone to be like that? As moms we spend most of our time civilizing our little savages. And yet the other day as my son was refusing to put on his shoes and my blood was starting to boil, he stopped tantruming long enough to sob, "Can you just say 'please'? I'm a person too!" Point made. Sometimes we could take a lesson in manners from the tiny people in our lives.
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1. Reach out and touch someone. Most grown-ups in our society are not huggers and that's okay. Nobody wants the scary guy on the subway feeling you up. But when was the last time you wrapped your arms around your best friend and gave her a big squeeze, just because? Or held your husband's hand at dinner?
2. Show your excitement. Sure it's not the norm when your sister gives you movie tickets but how awesome would it be if you did jump up and down and squeal with excitement? Fun is more fun when it's shared so show people how happy they make you.
3. Clap for yourself. Kids fall down a lot before they master this walking business and a little celebration over small steps (literally!) goes a long way. So next time you meet a deadline or remember the "Star of the Day" poster and the treats for your child's birthday, why not give yourself a little round of applause?
4. Ask questions. Kids' questions can sometimes be overly personal or nonsensical but they're never afraid to ask when they don't know something. So next time you're clueless, don't just sit in embarrassment, pipe up and ask! Chances are you weren't the only one wondering anyhow.
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5. Be honest. Sometimes children are brutally honest and I'm not saying that's a good thing but you know when kids speak to you they don't have a hidden agenda (unless it's to get candy). If all adults were as guileless as children, 90% of misunderstandings could be avoided. Although we'd lose 90% of romantic comedies as well...
6. Take correction. All day long children hear "Don't do this" and "Please do that" and it amazes me how they not only accept it but often seek it out. They don't have an ego, they just want to figure out how to put their shoes on.
7. Live in the moment. When you are two and playing with a spoon you are not playing with the spoon, watching The Wiggles and checking your Leapster to see if your best friend is online. Step away from the iPhone.
Has your child ever taught you a lesson in manners?
Charlotte Hilton Andersen is a mom of 5 and the author of the book The Great Fitness Experiment: One Year of Trying Everything and the blog of the same name.Read more of Charlotte on Redbook's The Motherboard blog
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