Growing up, my mom taught my sisters and me to be very polite young ladies. Our left hands were always found in our laps at meal times, we were expected to ask to be excused from the table, we said "please" and "thank you", and were strongly encouraged to be very respectful to our elders. I could always tell that manners were very important to my mom and as I grew they became very important to me, as well.
When Tony and I were first married and would talk about our future children I would always mention how I wanted to teach them to be polite and respectful. He always agreed, because his parents taught him some of the same things my mom taught me.
When I was pregnant with Audrey I said to Tony (half-kidding, half-seriously), "My kid may be stupid, my kid may be ugly, but there's one thing this kid wont be: impolite."
Well, I guess I set the standard pretty low, because my one goal as a parent has already been reached. Tony and I have been really hitting hard lately on saying "please" and "thank you" with Audrey. If she didn't say "please" then she didn't get what she was asking for. We would remind her, then she'd say it, and in return get the thing she asked for. We also constantly reminded her to say "thank you" when we would give her something she asked nicely for. In the last couple days Audrey has impressed us by saying "please" and "thank you" all on her own. Sometimes you can see her catch herself when she forgets to say it, and I think it's super cute.
At dinner tonight I offered Audrey more broccoli. "No, thank you, mama," she replied. When she was finished eating she asked, "get down, please?" While playing with the iPad she needed some help so she walked over to me, handed me the iPad and asked, "help me, please?" After I helped her out she patted my knee and said, "thank you, mama."
It makes my heart so happy that Audrey 1) actually listens to me and learns from me, and 2) IS POLITE! Whether or not she knows she's being polite or even what polite is, I feel like she's gotten into a good habit of using those "magic words." I'm one proud mama! :)