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The Polite Times 
 A regular newsletter published by The PoliteChild, Inc.
 Vol III, No 10
December 2004 

In This Issue

1. President's Corner

2. Manners Making a Comeback

3. Holiday Survival Guides – Continue to be Available!

4. Missing Correspondence?

5. Third Annual “Bah Humbug” Awards

6. PoliteChild in the Press

7. Feedback Wanted

President’s Corner – Holidays with a Heart

Dear PoliteChild family, supporters, and friends:

This issue will be a short one: the holidays have rushed upon us, and I don’t know about you, but they’ve taken me by surprise once again! How do they do that, when I have 365 days (or more!) to get prepared for the next Big Day?

It’s a gift. 

This year, our holiday manners classes were very interesting: the emphasis seemed to be on teaching kids where the value of a gift lies. And, we used some interesting comparisons to drive the point home. Kids were asked to consider, for example, if they’d rather have a $2 gift, or a $20 gift. You can imagine where the hands shot up. But, change that to $2 worth of gold vs. $20 worth of straw, the “value proposition” became much different. Then, consider further the “worth” of a homemade batch of cookies, or a purchased frozen TV dinner.

What makes the difference in the “worth” of a gift? It’s the intention and motivation behind that gift, isn’t it? It almost doesn’t matter what we “get” if it’s given from the heart.

It’s why time spent with loved ones is worth more than 100 new Nintendo games. It’s why a kind word or deed can melt even the hardest character. It’s how “magic” gets into the little things we do this time of year. Everyone is a little closer to the good side of the world, and a little more in touch with those who don’t have the many things most of us are lucky to take for granted.

Overwhelmingly, though, the lesson taught in the Holiday Manners classes was this: there’s really no such thing as “holiday manners.” Good conduct, kindness, respect, consideration, compassion – these are things we should be putting on and operating with every day, not just on special occasions. Sure, we dress up more during the holidays, may have to contend with more silverware and different types of “weird” food that we don’t see normally, but our basic mode of being, of how we treat people shouldn’t change.

Give with a heart, and get with a heart. Kindness, compassion, consideration, caring aren’t supposed to be seasonal. They never go out of style. I think we’d find a longer lasting holiday spirit in each one of us if those “virtues” were on the menu for longer than it takes us to unwrap our holiday gifts and toss out the shredded paper. There just has to be a way that each and every one of us can commit to making that spirit “stick.”

Wouldn’t that just be the best gift you could give? Or get?

In the spirit of the holidays, I wish you peace and prosperity for the holiday season, for the New Year, and for everyday! I welcome your comments and observations at   corinneg@politechild.com.

Corinne Gregory, President & Founder


   Manners Making a Comeback

A recent article appearing in several papers indicate that people seem to be living a kinder, more polite lifestyle these days. At least, that’s what the folks at Lenox – makers of fine china – say. Here’s the full story as reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel http://www.jsonline.com/enter/gen/dec04/281931.asp.

But, it helps support the trends we at PoliteChild have noticed: people are beginning to place a higher value on good social skills, and are increasingly considering how their own manners (and that of their children!) can be improved.

It’s a terrific trend because we do stand a chance of realizing a society that once again values the “old fashioned” virtues and where others actually think about how others might react or feel to something that is said or done.

And, we think that’s a good thing. Wouldn’t you agree?


 Holiday Survival Guides – Continue to be Available!

We continue to get such a terrific incredible response to our offer of the “Holiday Social Survival Guide” for parents and kids,that we’ve decided to make it a permanent feature. But, just in case you don’t know about it, we thought we’d let you know about it, as a gift to you!

To download a copy of the guide that is appropriate for your child’s age, simply go to the home page at www.politechild.com and scroll down on the right of the page where you’ll see the image of the booklet. Click on the image and follow directions to be taken to the download site. And, feel free to share the information about the guide with friends, family, or anyone you think can benefit! It’s our way of saying “thank you” to our friends and supporters.


 Missing Correspondence?

Have you been missing an issue of The PoliteTimes? Or, does it sometimes seem that The PoliteChild isn’t sending you timely responses to email inquiries? Well, we think we know why.

These days, email spam and viruses are rampant, and so many Internet service providers are clamping down on unsolicited email. Many of them are using technologies intended to automatically identify and filter out what they “think” is spam mail. And, not all of these technologies are perfect and they tend to register a lot of “false positives,” which means they are tagging email as spam, even in cases where it isn’t.

What can you do? Well, for one, add info@politechild.com to your list of “approved” addresses if your ISP or email service uses one. You may also have to check your “junk” or deleted email box to see if there’s mail in there (from us or from others!) that ended up there by mistake.

If you’ve sent us an inquiry and haven’t heard back in 24-48 hours, please do contact us again. And, please provide us a telephone number so that we can at least reach you this way if it appears that our email response to you isn’t getting through. We’re afraid that our clients and prospective clients may not be getting the responses we’re sending, and that’s not only bad for business, but it appears to be poor customer service, too. We’ll be changing our email and webforms shortly to make phone numbers a “recommended” field, with an explanation for why we are asking for it, so that we have some way other than email to contact the people who are contacting us.

We promise you that we never send out unsolicited emails, don’t sell our lists, and promptly remove anyone who requests that we do. Sometimes we do make mistakes, and we also find that if we have duplicate subscribers on our list we may not always get the multiples on the first request, especially when the subscribers have used different email addresses. But, we do our best to honor and respect all our subscribers, clients, and prospects and not pester them with information they don’t want or need. If you can think of ways we can improve our customer service and response rates, please do let us know. Via email at info@politechild.com or by phone at 866.485.4089.


  Third Annual “Bah Humbug” Awards

Well, folks it’s time: we have the pleasure of announcing the winners of our third annual “bah humbug” awards!

And, this year, we think it’s appropriate to pick on all the mortgage companies and lenders who, rather than really “help” people out of a jam when their financial picture takes a turn for the worse, use this opportunity to squeeze every last drop of blood out of the proverbial turnip.

This is a little different from the groups we select as our usual winners – organizations and individuals who directly have an effect on kids, their happiness, or their holiday spirit. Why the deviation? Because these mortgage companies take advantage of families. Families who are often trying to do anything they can to keep their reputations and their credit ratings intact, not to mention a roof over their children’s heads.

And, what do these mortgage lenders frequently do? Well, they delay and delay in providing information to their “clients,” or make it next-to-impossible to comply with the stringent terms and regulations they have foisted on those families who have no other options than to cooperate. And, with every passing day the lenders delay or drag out a payoff or fail to live up to their “we return all phonecalls within 24 hours” promises, it’s another day’s worth of income they can collect, another home they can get for pennies-on-the-dollar through a foreclosure.

Oh, yeah, they’ll help you all right…right after they help themselves. There’s a word for that: usury. In bygone days, it used to be that this was the lowest form of exploitation known to society. Taking advantage of good, honest people who are down on their luck is cheap and low. Certainly there are plenty of people out there who would rather walk away that step up to meeting an obligation or responsibility, and those people should be dealt with harshly. But, for the many, many honest and decent folks out there, who just need a break, there should be some way for them to get it.

And, not at the hands of these leeches. The “break” they are willing to give you will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

So, congratulations to those “mega lenders” out there who have perfected the art of sucking in those folks who can least afford to be manipulated and exploited. And, to those folks who work for them, in spite of knowing how they operated, we would like to offer you these words for consideration: we hope you never find yourselves in the situations your clients have experienced, because you just may be the next “sucker” who loses his house because no one is willing to help you when you need it.


 PoliteChild in the Press

Well, due to some good luck, it’s likely that this month our readers know more about where we’ve appeared than we at the Corporate offices actually do! Why? Well, the story on reducing materialism originally run in the Dallas Fort Worth Star Telegram in November was picked up by the AP Wire Service and the New York Times News Service.

If you’ve seen it in your local paper, would you let us know? We’d love to find out! Email us, please at info@politechild.com.

Other “appearances” we’ve had this month:

Kiwanis Magazine – on the importance of meals at the family table.
The Jill Spiegal Show – a repeat appearance on Saturday, December 18th, discussing the “attitude of gratitude” and how to develop this in our kids (and ourselves).

Still to come this month to a newsstand near you:

San Jose Mecury News – late December; we still don’t yet have a publication date.
The Seattle Times – December 25th! All about how to deal with that “not so perfect gift” your child may have received!

We’re still holding out hope for Entrepreneur Magazine but not likely for 2004. Can anyone say 2005?


  Feedback Wanted

At PoliteChild, we always strive to come up with information for our newsletters that is interesting and relevant to you our readers. We’d love to get feedback on how we’re doing – are we meeting our readers’ needs?

Let us know if you’d like to see a specific topic addressed or if you have a question you’d like answered. We can keep it anonymous, of course – we wouldn’t want to embarrass anyone because that wouldn’t be polite.

But, if you have a topic on raising kids with better social skills, education reform, basic (or not-so-basic) manners or etiquette question, please   drop us a line and we’ll look to feature it in an upcoming issue!


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