Life Notes: Don’t Let Magic Words Disappear
by Robert “Bob” Flournoy, Ph.D.

Growing up my parents and grandparents always instilled in me magic words: “thank you,” “please,” “yes sir, no sir” or ma’am, if speaking to a woman. Sometimes I would slip and say yes or no but usually one of my parents would correct me. Even today I find myself saying those words to my peers and even younger folks. They have a magic ring!

How does that relate to the Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home? When children come to us they have usually not had proper training on manners and social skills. We feel that proper manners are essential in today’s society. Our staff works on that aspect with the youth in our care.

It is rare for me today to hear the magic words spoken by a young person. I asked one of my grandchildren why he does not say the magic words more often and he told me that other kids make fun of him. What a tragedy. We need to instill in our kids that it is okay to use proper manners. The children on our campus know the magic words and some frequently use them.

My brother and his wife were visiting us a few months ago and had the opportunity to meet and visit with two of our youth. Later that night at dinner my brother, a psychologist, said he was so impressed with these two youth who used “yes sir” and “no sir” in answering questions. He said he rarely hears young people use the magic words.

How about you? Are you using the magic words? If not, try using them and notice how people respond. Let’s not forget our childhood training which should include the four magic words in teaching today’s children proper manners. Parents, if your child or children use these magic words older folks will know you have spent time in teaching proper manners.

The Life Notes articles are written by staff of Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home and are published in The Ruston Daily Leader.

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