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The Polite Press
 A regular newsletter published by The PoliteChild, Inc.
 Vol II, No 9
November 2003 

In This Issue

1. President's Corner
 
2. Message Board for Social Skills and Manners
 
3. Now Accepting Nominations for our 2nd Annual “Bah Humbug” Awards
 
4. Where You Can Find Us This Month…
 
5. New Look and Feel for the Website
 
6. New Manners and Social Skills Tips Pages
 
7. Neighborhood-organized Classes Increase in Popularity
 
 
 

President's Corner - Happy ThanksGiving

Dear PoliteChild families, supporters, and friends:

The holidays are looming now that the Great Pumpkin Day has come and gone. And, for a lot of you, with the holidays comes fear: fear that your children are going to run amuck.

Now, how do I know this? Well, the number of web searches or email messages about kids’ holiday manners, what to do at the big family dinner, or even responding to party invitations has really increased in the last two weeks.

It’s not surprising that we are all trying to have a happier holiday season. It’s expected of us, for heavens sake. Look at Hallmark, look at the TV ads. So, we’re encouraged to buy, cook, eat, drink, and no matter what, be merry!

If you spend any time watching the TV, or reading the newspaper, shopping online, etc. you will definitely get the impression that the merriment factor is directly proportional to how much money you spend on food, gifts, and decorations. You’re not having a happy holiday if you aren’t trying to blow everyone’s socks off. Sky’s the limit – “after all, it’s the holidays.”

While it’s completely acceptable to indulge a bit at this time of year, it’s helpful to keep in mind the other people around us and who might be watching. Parents are the most important role models for their kids, so what lessons are they learning if we go overboard and spend or party beyond our limits. “Bah, humbug” you say: that’s what credit cards are for. In the December issue of Parents magazine (see more below about this issue!) the article “I Want It” states that, on average, parents spend $315 per child on gifts over the holidays. I don’t know about you, but there will not be a grand dropped on kids’ gifts in my house.

As a society, we have developed this "entitlement" mentality that says we DESERVE to have everything we want and that, if we can't buy it ourselves, it's our due to have someone give it to us. We don't appreciate what we have, and, as a result, aren't happy unless we have "more."

What our kids need to learn is that we are NOT entitled to mass volumes of stuff and that "stuff" doesn't make us happy. When we are given something, we should appreciate that it took someone time, effort, and perhaps money to provide this something to us. We don't realize how much we really have unless we teach our kids that. Our children don't know, by themselves, that things we take for granted ?like a good education, like nice homes and warm clothes, like enough (too much!) food to eat, books to read, electricity ? are not universally available to everyone. If our children don't understand that, and are taught to appreciate even these basic things, and show gratitude when they receive something, they’ll lead a very shallow life because all they will be looking for is more, more, more. A mass-consuming society that is happy with what it has for about as long as it takes to burn out the first set of batteries.

And, it’s not the stuff that makes holiday memories so special. Quick, how many of you can name your most important gift you received when you were…say, eight years old? Probably not many; I can’t. But, what we do tend to remember, and wish to recreate, is that homey “togetherness” feeling that is picture-perfect for a Norman Rockwell cover. Think back to “A Charlie Brown Christmas” where Charlie rejects the shiny, plastic and foil Christmas trees because a Christmas tree should bend and smell. The holidays are about spending time together, seeing family and friends you haven’t seen in a while, sharing a meal and lots of laughter. These are the things we remember.

In a season where our senses are constantly assaulted by commercialism, stop to consider those who don’t have “more,” who don’t even have “enough.” There are more of them this year than in many years in our memory. Maybe the garland should be cranberries and popcorn this year instead of shiny foil, with the money you saved given to someone in need. Or stop in to a retirement home or convalescent hospital and bring a bouquet of flowers and give it to the first person you see. Give of yourself this season – of your heart, of your caring, of your abundance.

After all, it is Thanksgiving and we have so much to be thankful for!

Corinne Gregory
President and Founder, The PoliteChild, Inc.

P.S. As always, you can reach me at corinneg@politechild.com with your feedback and comments.

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  Message Boards for Social Skills and Manners


You are among the first to hear about a new online community
, called The PoliteChild, hosted by Yahoo! Groups. You can reach the community at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/politechild/ . The purpose of this community is to create new ways for people to find information about The PoliteChild, and for people to share ideas about social skills and manners online. You can join the community by clicking on the "Join" link - you'll be able to read and post messages, as well as view files, photos, and take part in polls.

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 Now Accepting Nominations for our 2nd Annual “Bah Humbug” Awards

Last year we started something that we hope will become an annual feature of the December newsletters. We launched our “Bah Humbug” awards which was to go to the company, individual, or group that really epitomizes the “me first” philosophy around the holidays or even throughout the year.

We announced our first “winner” in last year’s December newsletter. For details, see last year's Bah Humbug story.

We’re accepting nominations for this year’s “Bah Humbug” candidates. Deadline for submission is Friday, December 12th. That will give us enough time to review submissions and see if any of you have clear, common favorites, and to research the winners. Submit your lucky candidate to bahhumbug@politechild.com.

The person who submits this year's winning entry will receive a PoliteChild "Got Manners?" T-Shirt.

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 Where You Can Find Us This Month…


This month, we’ve had two great “outings” in the press: first, in the November/December issue of Today’s School magazine.

Then, equally exciting is that we’ve been quoted in the December issue of Parents Magazine in the article “I Want That!” It’s all about materialism and how to prevent the “gimmes” and the fallout when the kids don’t get what they want or think they deserve. The December issue of Parents went on sale just this past week, so it should be readily available if you’d like to check it out.

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  New Look and Feel for the Website


As our website grows, it can be difficult sometimes to find the information you are looking for. One way you can always try is using the “Search” facility on the homepage. You can also try the Site Map page, where all pages on our site are listed by category.

But, now we’ve made it even easier for you to get to your area of particular interest. On the homepage, we’ve built a new “Information for…” section beginning at the upper right side of the page, right under the folders. From there, you can select whether you are interested in information for public schools, private schools or organizations, parents, or if you are interested in business opportunities currently available with The PoliteChild. You’ll be taken to new pages especially designed with the links you are most likely interested in.

For visitors who visit us regularly, we’ve also put in two shortcuts:
www.politechild.com/publicschools will take you to the page for public schools and
www.politechild/privateschools takes you to the private schools and organization pages.

Of course, you can always get to any part of the website, regardless of what your interest area is. We hope that our new facilities will help you spend more time on finding, and not so much on looking for information and resources. Let us know what you think!

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  New Manners and Social Skills Tips Pages


Another change we’ve made to the website is to add a new “Tips” page. We’ve had this page “under construction” for quite some time and have always intended to finish it. But, as many things go, this “to do” got pushed farther down the list as other priorities jumped in ahead.

But, as the year is coming to an end, we wanted to finish up the loose ends we had hanging around. So, we’ve compiled a list of the questions most-frequently asked by our readers and added a few “evergreen” social questions.

You can find the results at www.politechild.com/rss-tips.htm. This page is intended to be a regularly-updated catalog, so if there’s something you’ve been wondering about or think we should include, please contact us!

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  Neighborhood-organized Classes Increase in Popularity

We’ve had quite a jump in the number of requests that have been coming in for classes to be held in individual’s homes or in other locations. It’s always fun to teach these kinds of classes because they allow us to get much more individual both with the students and with parents. We tend to do some things that we might not normally do – such as play on the theme of a recent “Tweens Bootcamp” where the students all received camouflage caps at the start of the 2-day course. And, we also can work on specific issues at the request of parents that we might not generally be able to cover in depth.

There are many ways that these classes can be done – organized around a familiar group like a Brownie or Boy Scout Troop, church group, or sports team, or you can open it up to a limited number of public attendees. And, if you choose to be an organizer of such a course and you can bring in at least 5 more students of similar ages, your child goes free! It’s our way of saying thank you for being willing to help us get a class underway.

For more information about these or other classes, contact us by phone at 866.485.4089 or by email.

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