Yes, your children can grow from alarming to charming this summer with helpful tips from America’s Etiquette Expert, GiGi Lewis. If you are you looking for empowering and fun things to do with your children, read ahead! Kindness, sportsmanship, selflessness and cheerfulness are great qualities to teach, and the point is to “notice kids doing something good” — with the Bible as inspiration.
Kindness in Scripture
Bible verses play a big part in teaching character traits. In Club Etiquette summer camps, Lewis tells members that the Manners Police will be looking to see who is following the Bible verse of the week. Children are asked to read the verse and also repeat it back as it is read to them. For Week One, the focus, for example, might be on Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another.” When exploring this verse, possible questions to ask include:
What does this Bible verse mean?
What is an example of someone being kind to another?
What is an example that you can think of when you had to forgive someone, or someone had to forgive you?
What does tenderhearted mean?
Sportsmanship in Scripture
The point is to train children to think not only of themselves, but what is best for others — the theme of Corinthians 10:24. “If you have more than one child,” says Lewis, “I would encourage them to show good sportsmanship by congratulating their siblings who win an award, but I would see to it that each child is a winner at some point.” The idea is to catch children doing something right instead of something wrong, and give them a big pat on the back for it. Possible questions to ask are:
Will we pout if we don’t win?
What are other things that we can tell the winner?
How about, “Good job,” “Great way to go,” and “Try hard, and maybe you will win the next time!”
Selflessness in Scripture
Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” To teach children to be less selfish, possible questions are, “What is an example of someone thinking more about another person than themselves?” and “What is an example of someone being selfish, or a time when you might have been selfish yourself?” For younger groups, you can ask, “What does selfish mean?
If your child needs a prompt, perhaps share an analogy. For instance, if you were at your home and were hungry, would it be okay to go to the refrigerator and get something to eat without offering food to your visitor? Or if there is only one serving — say one cupcake — what should you do? Not only do these questions teach thoughtfulness, but also introduces children to host manners. According to Lewis, parents should “reward, reward, reward” positive behavior.
Cheerfulness in Scripture
According to Proverbs 17:22, “A cheerful heart does good like medicine.” Parents can ask, “What does this Bible verse mean?” If kids need an explanation, parents can say, “When you are happy and cheerful, it makes you feel better like medicine does.” Then the rest of the day can be spent focusing on a cheerful attitude… and children may notice that things are better when we smile!
This also teaches that when things go wrong at home or away, people can still choose to have a happy attitude. For example, if a child’s best friend is playing with someone else more than her, the lesson is that it’s okay to have lots of friends. It shows that you are growing up when you make more friends yourself, and befriend someone else who doesn’t have many friends. This is yet another opportunity to teach children how deal with life’s disappointments in a positive manner.
About GiGi Lewis and Club Etiquette
“To feel comfortable with the world, you must first feel comfortable with yourself,” says Lewis. “At Club Etiquette, we will help you to carry yourself properly in social situations, business settings, and a variety of daily activities. We want you to enjoy life to the fullest, whether you are a beginner or proficient.” Club Etiquette has the resources to help people of all ages improve themselves.
Lewis grew up in a typical south Louisiana small town in a home where courtesy, dignity and respect were reinforced. She completed her education in Art History and Interior Design at Southeastern Louisiana University and Louisiana State University. She is an educator, lecturer and active community volunteer, and quietly founded Club Etiquette in 1995. She developed and refined the Club Etiquette method and curriculum and now teaches etiquette, personal development and Cotillion at over 20 Houston locations.
Mom to Christopher and Blake, Lewis is an adult Girl Scout, an Associate Member of Houston Jr. Women’s Club, and has been a Sunday school teacher. She also sat on the Board of Directors for H.J.W.C., a local charitable organization which in 1999 was honored by the award of Outstanding Community Service Organization by the National Society of Fund Raising Executives. She also served as the Awards Chairman on Executive Board of Spring Branch ISD Council of PTA’s for a two year period.