Doctor Love: P’s and Q’s

Sunday, July 21st, 2019


Readers email your question to [email protected] Your letters are edited solely for grammar, spelling, and length

Dear Doctor Love,
I’d like to respond to “Not Sorry,” a mother of a toddler who doesn’t make her child say “please” and “thank you.”
I want to see her letter to you when this kid is fifteen and is an ungrateful, demanding teenager who shows no consideration for anyone and girls ignore him because he is impolite. How will this mother feel when he treats her like the maid, telling her to get him a sandwich or take him to practice? She’s setting her son up for social and relationship failure by not teaching him that please and thank you are not just words they are the epitome of courtesy and good manners.
Saying please when asking someone to do something for you is, on the surface, being polite. On a deeper level, it is acknowledging that the person is performing a task that they are not required to do and is instead, doing it out of kindness. Saying thank you when the task is completed is acknowledging that they went out of their way, kept their word, and completed the task. It is not begging or humbling yourself to say please, it is asking kindly for a favor.
There are no substitutes for please and thank you, and it is such a simple way to show gratitude for someone else’s kindness. It can make someone feel as though they are appreciated and should always be added when possible. From the waiter in the restaurant to your family and friends, people deserve to be acknowledged.
/s/P’s and Q’s

Dear P’s and Q’s,
You’re not the only one who feels strongly about this issue. Read on:

Dear Doctor Love,
In answer to the woman who hasn’t taught her son to say please and thanks you, I’d like to tell her how his teachers will respond when he forgets to be polite. We will happily remind her son how to speak properly, especially to adults in authority. Hopefully, he will learn those good manners are more than just “regurgitating words that society has decided are proper.”
/s/English Teacher

And one more:

Dear Doctor Love,
I hate it that my boyfriend just says to get something for him or tells me he wants this thing and he never says please. I tell him sometimes that he needs to ask me nicely, but he thinks that if he isn’t talking mean to me, he doesn’t need to say please.
/s/Anon

Dear Anon,
It takes a mere exhalation of breath to add please to a request. One simple word changes demand to a polite appeal.


 

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