Dear Dr. Packer,
I wanted to share with you a story your book “How Rude” inspired.
I was teaching a combined 6-7-8th grade class at a Catholic school in Illinois. I noticed that the kids did not know or were not using just plain common courtesies in dealing with friends or teachers. I designed a unit around your book “How Rude.” It took a little encouraging passing it by the principal but she agreed. At first the kids balked and the usual grumblings occurred but as we got further into it, something changed. They looked forward to Fridays for a whole new reason. I also heard from parents that the kids were actually practicing their manners at home... sometimes correcting their parents!
My 8th graders were planning their banquet and were attending a play as well as dinner. I stressed the importance of their behavior in such a grown up setting and they didn’t let me down.
I was seated with several other teachers as well as the principal at one table and the students (all 10 of them) were at another table. To our surprise, each of the boys held the chairs out for the girls, rose when they left, put napkins on their lap, and conducted themselves in an adult like manner.
Our stamp of approval came from an older couple also having dinner. The waitress came and said that an anonymous older couple wished to buy the children dessert because they have never seen children their age conduct themselves so well in a formal situation. The grin on my face couldn’t have been any bigger, I also had to fight back the tears of pride I felt for these kids. I also received a nod and a raised eyebrow of approval from the principal. I went over to tell the kids and they were so excited.
As I sat with the teachers we were surprised as the waitress came out with the largest Banana Splits I have ever seen. Now, to the kids that was proof that good manners do pay. To me it was the pat on the back that I did the right thing. To you I hope you take it that you have touched the lives of several young kids in Illinois.
What a sweet story—all 10,000 calories of it! Thank you for your kindness in telling me. It’s now my turn to have a big grin on my face after hearing about your initiative and the wonderful results it produced. There’s simply no question that good manners will bring good things to kids—positive relationships, respect, opportunity, self-confidence, and gooey desserts!