I don't do these very often, but I think I need to start - not because I think I know the best of everything out there - but because I always love it when seasoned moms tell about something that works for them. It prevents me from having to reinvent the wheel, or just spend (waste, however you look at it) a lot of time finding that resource that will help with a particular need.
Our household is in the very beginning stages of teaching and learning social graces and manners. Raising 3 boys especially makes this task a sometimes difficult one. I am tired of sleeves of shirts being used as napkins or kleenexes - and while encouraging my boys to be all the boy they can be, I would also like them to be able to not stick out like a sore thumb when out in public.
So here is one thing that I am using that I really like so far and this book has become my absolute favorite read aloud for the kids. It is called Everyday Graces: A Child's Book of Good Manners, a compilation of stories by Karen Santorum.
I found this book at a conference I attended a month or so ago and while it was rather pricey (not terribly so, though) I rationalized the purchase because A.) I desperately needed something to help us and B.) it was celebrity endorsed by Bono from U2 - and I know that my purchase would be justified to my husband right there because he loves U2 just as much as every other person that lives in the western world.
Seriously though, this book is a collection of chapters and snippets from classical works of literature - everything from Robinson Crusoe to Greek Mythology to poems to Biblical verses - all heralding the importance of key virtues such as responsibility to manners, to obedience and contentment. You get the picture. Our favorite story so far is called, "Pansies" by J. F. Willing. It involves an issue that I have tried and tried to get across to my boys for what seems like years with very little success. This story illustrated it perfectly and it clicked with Isaiah so very well. So now I will tell him "be a pansy" and he will know exactly what I'm talking about and it causes him to stop and correct his behavior. Oh thank you Lord!
Now you're curious aren't you! Go out and get the book! Believe me it's worth it - and even Bono says so.