How many of us have heard our parents say, “What’s the magic word?” when we wanted something? I know I did many times. The “magic” word, of course, is “please.”
Only it isn’t all that magical, is it? It’s only “magical” when the person (or God, for that matter) definitely wants to give us something we’re asking for. Otherwise, we can say “please” all we want but it won’t do any good.
It seems like a simple, harmless way to get children to say “please.” Yet, as I just mentioned, we can say the “magic” word all we want and the answer will still be “no.” Do we really want children growing up believing that by saying “please,” they’ll always get what they want?
I don’t think that is quite fair to children. Magic, in and of itself, isn’t always real and certainly doesn’t always work. “But I said ‘please.'” Yes, but the answer is still “no.”
The child probably thinks: So what happened to the “magic word?” It only works sometimes.
Even as an adult, there are many times when I wish “please” was a “magic” word. My husband and I have been going through some really tough times. I have spent days and nights pleading with God for life and yet life has been taken away from my loved ones who are now in Heaven.
I have pleaded for things to get better and for us to get out of the dark valley we’re in. I have pleaded for the suffering around the world to stop. And yet, nothing is happening. God hears our every cry and comforts us, if we let Him, but saying “please” doesn’t necessarily get our prayers answered.
Then there are the mean, selfish people who will never care if we say “please.” They’re going to do as they please despite its detrimental effects on other people’s lives.
Yes, children should be taught manners. Children learn manners best through us modeling them and through play as I don’t believe in forcing children to say, “please,” “thank you,” or “I’m sorry.” We need to model that to children and allow them to practice in a fun, no pressure manner how to be polite.
Some of the politest children I know were never forced to be polite but politeness was consistently modeled to them and they practiced it through playing.
They also need to learn that it’s okay for them to say “no” to something they don’t want to do even when the other person says “please.”
However, they also must learn that just because we say “Please,” doesn’t mean it will always work. As I’m learning, sadly, more often than not, it does not work! Please is NOT a “magic” word!