gra·cious Pronunciation: \ˈgrā-shəs\ Function: adjective Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French gracieus, from Latin gratiosus enjoying favor, agreeable, from gratia Date: 14th century
a : marked by kindness and courtesy b : graceful c : marked by tact and delicacy : urbane d : characterized by charm, good taste, generosity of spirit, and the tasteful leisure of wealth and good breeding(Merriam Webster Online)
I am pretty sure it gets on the grandparent's last nerve. I am the manners police. Every action demands a "please," "thank you so much" or "excuse me." If I don't hear it, all conversation stops until I hear it. As much as I am trying to make it an action without a thought in my children, it has become an action without thought to me. I catch myself doing it to other people's children, which is as horrifying as it sounds. Believe me when I say I could not care less about your child's manners or lack thereof. It's just that I am so used to saying it that it comes out before I think.
It is clear that being gracious is a value that is important to me. I find myself frustrated with the trend of entitlement that our generation seems to be moving toward. If you think that everything is owed to you, you tend to be less likely to feel thankful for the good things you have.
The thing is, I think there is a big difference between being gracious and having gratitude. Gratitude is defined by WordNetWeb as "a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation." I cannot force my children to feel thankful or appreciative. But I do believe that by practicing the act of being gracious can be training for gratitude. If you say "thank you," odds are better that you will actually feel thankful than if you don't say anything at all.
I have noticed that the manners policing is finally kicking in with my kids. Rumor on the street is that they pull out the manners when they are elsewhere. I'm also seeing that they seem to actually mean it sometimes when they say "thank you." I think that is all that you can ask for as a parent. What do you think?