What’s The Magic Word?

I believe manners are the cornerstone of society. They’re simple and powerful. They open doors and they share the love, making people feel respected.

Thank you and please are so ingrained into my vocab I can’t not say them, even if the person is rude and I would like to be rude back.

But time and again, despite our sterling example, my kids need reminding.

“Dad, can I have a biscuit?” they’ll ask.

These days, with the older kids, I don’t even answer them. I just raise my eyebrows.

“Please,” they’ll eventually tag on the end of the sentence.

“Here you go,” I say, holding out the biscuit, which they’ll try snatch out of my hand.

I’ll refuse to let go of the biscuit until I hear a thank you.

Inevitably, I won’t get it immediately. What I’ll get is a blank look.

“What?” they’ll say,  both of us still clutching the Tim Tam.

I’ll do the eyebrow thing again.

“Thank you?” they’ll say, like they’re unsure.

I’ve always assumed it was me, because other parents comment on the manners of my kids in a positive way.

I got a message from the parent of one of Miss6’s friends this evening. It seems Miss6 had walked up to one of her friends and, like the prima donna she is, announced, “Okay, you can play with me now.”

“What’s the magic word?” her friend, who obviously also has a father who refuses to let go of the biscuit, asked.

“Chocolate!” announced Miss6, and they ran away together to play.

I guess the tradition of giving a box of Favourites as a thank you is starting to have some unforeseen consequences.

 When not typing away over here and checking his stats every two minutes Bruce Devereaux hangs out at his ‘BIG FAMILY little income’  Facebook Page.

 ’raising a family on little more than laughs’


  • “May I leave the table?” at the end of a meal was a big one in my family, and it thrills me endlessly that Mr16 politely asks me every single time. Can’t wait for the first time he goes to a girlfriend’s house for dinner…

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