“Thank you,” said the girl as she walked through the door that my 7-year-old son was holding open. She was midway through a line of children and the first to acknowledge us.
“Did you see how that little girl thanked you?” I asked after the kids had passed.
“Kids should always use their manners,” he answered.
“Not just kids,” I added. “That goes for all of us.”
“Even when it’s another kid?” he asked.
“How did it make you feel when she thanked you?”
“Then I think you have your answer,” I said.
We walked down the hall, looking at this and that, up some stairs, and through a door that a child held open.
“Thank you,” my son said.
The child smiled.
“That kid was using manners, too.” I noted.
“By holding the door open?” he asked. “That’s what I do for people.”
“I know you do.”
A woman walked by with a handful of books. She dropped one about a foot from where we were standing. My son ran over, picked up the book and handed it to her. He asked if she needed help, and she replied that she didn’t. Then he went to the door and held it open.
“Thank you,” she said to him.
“Your son has very nice manners,” she said to me.
“Yes he does,” I answered as he ran up and took my hand. We started to walk away.
“Daddy,” he whispered (which is basically just a huskier version of his yell). He pulled me close, “You were supposed to say thank you.’”
Touché, kid. Touché.
He held my hand as we walked together down the sidewalk. He paused often to point out random acts of kindness. I paused too, and I thanked him every single time.
Photo: The hills are alive* via Flickr
Whit Honea is the author of The Parents’ Phrase Book. Read more at his site Honea Express. You can follow Whit on the Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and Pinterest (his opinions are his own and do not reflect those of Babble, Disney, or most rational people).