The word please, as in “Would you please…” or “Johnny, do the dishes, please” is used to make a request. It is not used in giving instruction, it is a request for someone to do something. The recipient of a request is under no obligation to honor it; he can take it or leave it, it is his choice. To plead is to make an emotional appeal, to ask for something very serious and in a pleading way, it is to beg for something. The majority of mothers use both requests and pleading to try to coax their children to obey, follow instructions, or to do something that they were told to do. It’s time for mothers to stop. Children are to be taught, instructed, and guided by their mothers, not repeatedly asked or pleaded with to learn how to get along in their families and this world.
Using the word “please” as it is used by the majority of today’s mommas to request that their children do something isn’t using the word in the “good manners” content. It is (often repeatedly) asking a child if he will decide or choose to do what he is told. That is not good manners, for it is very often embarrassing and humiliating to the mother, as most often children don’t choose to obey immediately and often, when they do obey, they do so disrespectfully. It is also often embarrassing to those witnessing it and puts the child in a bad light. Good manners mean that one goes to proper lengths, and often beyond, to make sure that they don’t offend others, which includes making people feel uneasy, embarrassed, ashamed, humiliated, etc. There’s also the tone in which the word “please” is said in and facial expressions that are used by many mommas when saying it. It is a sound and look of frustration or anger, or a “Oh boy, don’t you dare embarrass me” way of relating the word. Good manners are kind and polite, not filled with tension, frustration, or even anger.
Does not ending every sentence of instruction to one’s child with a “please” or not using the word in regard to instructing one’s children make a mother a meanie? No way. It makes her a mother who’s in command of her children. By in command, I mean whose children are obedient and know that momma’s word is law. A mother can, and should, have a kind voice and speech with her children, yet at the same time be firm. By firm, I don’t mean overly strict nor tyrannous, I mean rock solid and strong in a distinctly womanly way. It is not strong, nor is it solid, kind, or firm, to constantly beg one’s child by repeated requests or pleading with him to do something. It is a clear show of weakness and of a momma who really doesn’t know what to do; that the children are on a level field with their momma as far as how they are going to be raised. Children are of equal worth as their mothers (and fathers, and all human beings), but they haven’t the age, experience, abilities, or knowledge to raise themselves – that’s what mommas and daddies are for, and it takes firm, yet kind, strong and wise leadership to get them raised successfully.
No mother who has to repeatedly request or plead with her child to behave feels good about it. On the contrary, they get very frustrated with the whole thing, and it usually happens several times a day. No mother can thrive whose children are being raised to believe that they can take or leave what momma and daddy say to do, and no child can thrive who is placed in such a position of authority when they are mere toddlers and children. Children need firm, loving, kind, and wise guidance. They need the amazing leadership of those who God created to lead them - their moms and dads. Their sense of security and their developmental well-being throughout their entire childhoods and adult lives depends largely upon having responsible, wise leadership and guidance from their parents.
Why so many parents plead and use multiple requests with their children could be because so many of today’s parents practically raised themselves when they were children, were raised by immature and or ignorant parents (ignorant meaning that one just doesn’t honestly know something), or were raised by tyrannous parents. It’s also peer-related; parents see other parents doing that so they do, too. It’s because many of today’s parents just don’t know how to parent any other way. Who really knows all the reasons why. It is clear, however, that it’s time to change this practice that does nothing but frustrate mothers, fathers, and children.
Many, I believe, would like to do just that, as they see that this just can’t go on because families and the individuals that make them up, are coming apart from this lack of firm, yet kind and wise, leadership. We live in a land ripe with frustrated mothers, dads who seem to be on the verge of walking-out on their families because they can’t stand the way their children act and their wife’s habitually frustrated moods, and children who are totally overloaded with trying to be peer-like adults in their families and whose actions reflect – because they honestly believe – that their parents are stupid and incapable of leading them. We needn’t wonder why our families, thus our society, are falling apart. Where there is no leader, there is no order and respect for authority. It is clear that we live in a land that reflects these two things, and crystal clear that we can’t thrive as families or as a nation under these conditions that unravel the very seams that are to hold us together.
There is a way – a path to take – to come out of this muddle and raise obedient, well-loved and cared for, happy, well-adjusted, thriving children and to feel fulfilled, magnificent, and respected as a mother. A way to make our families and our nation whole, respectful, respectable, and to put them in excellent order. Check back in tomorrow, God willing, for part two which shares this path of goodness!