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Polite Moments Review by Carissa Ruiz

Gary and Cathy Maldaner
Plain Path Publishers
P.O. Box 830
Columbus, NC 28722

Polite Moments is a short and simple book on manners. It is divided into six major sections dealing with these subjects: General Topics, Visiting Other Families, Working for Others, How to Be a Servant, and Learn to Do These Things. 

I used this book before they consolidated the six little books into one book. I have found this book more than helpful. 

Every school day we would do a page of manners. We would read the title, then read the message for that title (usually it is one to two paragraphs). Then one of the kids would read the Scripture that went with that lesson, and we would look up any other Scripture they might refer to. Sometimes we would not understand how the Scripture they chose was related to that lesson, but we still thought it was a good lesson. We had so many wonderful discussions. The kids and I would come up with examples of the do's and don'ts for that day's lesson. We usually took about thirty minutes, sometimes up to an hour, to do a day's lesson. If I just read it to the kids and quickly explained what it meant, it would take about five minutes. It took us so long because of the amazing discussions the topics brought up. We have reread the book about five times over the course of several years. 

I have loved Polite Moments and have used this as my only manners program. Though I have researched and read others out there, I found them either overwhelming or too opinionated. This book gives the manners, the reason why, and a Scripture. It is simple and leaves the parent to expound on it, and that is what I love about this book. 

Polite Moments covers a wide range of basic things that we, as parents, tend to assume our kids would know but don't. For instance, one of the lessons is titled "Can I Look at This?" Because of this lesson, I have never had my children go to someone's house and open things without asking first. Yet, we are amazed by the number of families we know whose kids open drawers and closets without asking. This is rude. The parents assumed the kids knew better, but they didn't. They have to be taught. This book fills in the gaps we may forget about. 

It also doubles as a great tool for correction. When my lovely, yet sin-natured, kids get in trouble, they sometimes have to go through the book and identify the topics they should have practiced. The most common one they come up with is "learn to mind my own business." 

To conclude, Polite Moments is a great manners book. I can only speak well of it. It is simple, to the point, and covers relevant topics. I think Polite Moments helps a child to see why manners are needed, and therefore they learn to apply them at the correct times. I highly recommend this book for parents to train their kids in how they should behave. It is appropriate for ages 4 and up; even teens will benefit from this book. 

Product review by Carissa Ruiz, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March 2010