Past Please and Thank You

R and I were talking the other night about how, because of how "connected" we are as a society, we are losing touch with certain things. Like handwritten thank you notes and holiday cards. So maybe we aren't more connected at all; we are more plugged in but probably more disconnected as humans. 

I have been thinking about this in lots of ways – how people communicate via Facebook, how many more of us would rather send a text than make a phone call, how most of us connect with our people via technology rather than face to face – the old fashioned way. I think important things are getting lost.

When my in-laws were dating, my father-in-law wrote letters to my mother-in-law in this amazing script penmanship. (Do they even teach cursive in schools anymore?) She still has them, tucked away in an album somewhere. When R and I began dating, we emailed and texted but we talked on the phone more than anything. The first time he told me he loved me he wrote it in a greeting card (which got lost in the mail, then ultimately returned to him which created a bit of an awkward situation) that I have tucked away in an album somewhere.

I wonder what the kids are going to have to tuck in their own albums some day. A text transcript that they emailed to themselves and printed out? Not if I have anything to say about it. I mean, I did just have Theo help me send out dozens of holiday cards and we talked about each person as we addressed them and how we know them. And this year they will be sending out their own thank you notes after their birthdays instead of me writing them. The handwritten kind. 

Because I want them to have old-school manners. Beyond saying please and thank you. Teaching good manners feels really important, especially as we are raising a son. I want him to be the guy that impresses his date's parents, the one who is "so polite", who opens doors and pulls out chairs and picks up tabs and gives up his seat on the subway. And I want Ana to look at that and to know that she deserves a guy who acts like that. I want to raise a girl who expects to be treated well. 

I read something today that said "Your children will become who you are. So be who you want them to be." It is a lot of pressure, being responsible for someone else and helping making them into contributing members of society. But I don't want my kids to become who I am – I want them to become better than I am.