Peter trying to be well mannered.
but this inevitably happens...
A very well mannered boy from Kate’s school approached me today while picking up Peter from CCD. No it wasn’t Peter. Peter could use some polish, but I still love him nonetheless. This boy came up to me and said in his most proper English accent that he has been very pleased with my blog. When a sixth grader tells you something you have done is “lovely”, it is hard not to blush. What makes me smile is that this sixth grader probably has never been to England before. Apparently, he has continued this accent for three days now. At this point he puts Daniel Radcliff to shame with a more polished English than the great actor himself. I wonder if it has occurred to him that girls love English accents. I remember my coach Ian who possesses a real English accent, could make anything sound pleasant. Perhaps that is how he got me to pull my hardest 2000 meter pieces by simply saying please. When asking for a wrench while adjusting the rigging on my boat, he would use the word spanner. It made the adjustable piece of metal sound like poetic prose. Few Americans have this eloquence. Perhaps John Wayne could say the word wrench and it would have a better effect. American English is an unfortunate thing. I spent 4 years in the Bronx and growing up in New York has virtually reduced my potential of being eloquent to nil. The drawback to our melting pot of a country is that we took the worst accents from every language and made it our own. Just think of accents hailing from Boston, Brooklyn, Alabama and Minnesota...just painful. Patrick Stewart, we are not. So it really comes down to good manners. Unbeknownst to my sixth grade friend, he could lose the English accent and get by just fine with his boyish charm. He has been taught well by parents who by the way have outstanding manners. If we can get it through to our kids (and ourselves) to drop the “um’s” and look someone strait in the eye when being spoken to, that would be a good start. So whether you say potato (long A) or potato (short A), there is still some hope. Robert Fulghum helped us understand that kindergarten taught us everything we’ll ever need to know. Some important manners are included here. Unfortunately for many, we spend the rest of our lives, unlearning them. If you "look" , we can change this. Here is what he wrote.
These are the things I learned:
• Share everything.
• Play fair.
• Don't hit people.
• Put things back where you found them.
• Clean up your own mess.
• Don't take things that aren't yours.
• Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
• Wash your hands before you eat.
• Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
• Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
• Take a nap every afternoon.
• When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
• Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
• Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.
And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.