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Keepers at Home

Keepers At Home
October 5, 2015


So, are you practicing manners with your kiddos? I’ve been able to be the “manner police” for my neighbor girls! They learn quickly, and I notice they are using their manners. On their own, they even used their manners at Sam’s Club, when given a sample. Make it fun and teach them, while you have the time.

Let’s now visit a couple more adult areas that should be addressed:


Three years ago, I spent several stays (4 days to 8 days at a time) in the hospital.  Obviously, I had lots of visitors. I learned some valuable principles during this time. I generally am one that loves going to the hospital to visit, BUT when someone is VERY sick or recovering from surgery, there are limits. I must say, before you, as the reader get the wrong impression, I understand what a sacrifice it can be for someone who is already busy, to take time to go up to the hospital to visit. It’s never just a few minutes from start to finish. I get that. I also want you to know that I really appreciated EVERY single visitor. Really, the hospital is sort of a lonely place. It’s wonderful to see a familiar face and happy smile!

But, on one particular day during my first hospital stay, I received 18 visitors. IN ONE DAY! I finally dragged myself to the nurses’ station and begged for a piece of paper and marker and wrote “PATIENT IN BED 2 REQUESTS NO VISITORS TODAY.” With that situation being my example, let’s consider some polite approaches to hospital visits.

Here are some things to consider:

  1. GOOD TIME TO VISIT? Because there are extenuating circumstances while in the hospital- tests, Dr.’s visits, patient being very sick, patient recovering from a serious surgery, etc.- it might be best to either call the patient or a family member to see what time would be good for a visit. Even new mothers need a little bit of time to regroup after giving birth, before the onslaught of family and friends! Respect the patient’s requests.
  2. HOW LONG TO STAY? Prepare to stay no more than 15 minutes. I know that doesn’t seem like much time, but if 10 non-family members come that day, it’s 2 ½ hours of visiting. Sometimes the family will step out of the room to continue a visit or share more with friends who come calling, BUT, generally a 15-minute limit is a good rule to follow.
  3. WHAT CAN I BRING? Ask what you might be able to bring to the patient? Of course, who doesn’t love flowers? BUT, here’s another suggestion: how about asking, “What are you craving? Is there anything special I can bring you?” Sometimes fresh fruit is the greatest gift. Other times, a good cup of Caribou coffee is high on the list! I like to bring Trail Mix, or veggies or fresh fruit in a Ziploc bag, etc. for the family that is doing vigil. Healthy snacks are always good. Be creative. If you are willing, sometimes you can bring a whole meal up for the family and it is VERY MUCH APPRECIATED! Always ask if what you’re thinking would be helpful.
  4. ANYTHING I CAN DO FOR YOU AT HOME? If the person you are visiting has children at home, how about asking to pick up her laundry or taking the children for a day or afternoon. Another good idea is to offer a day of cleaning before the patient comes home. As good as or BETTER than a visit!
  5. I loved it when someone, before leaving, would say, “Let’s pray!” Never wrong; never takes very long.

I think it goes without saying that other good hospital manners include knocking before entering, washing your hands, not visiting if YOU are sick, stepping out of the room if the Dr. comes in, avoiding wearing fragrances. Respect the privacy of the other roommate. Don’t be too inquisitive about the nature of the stay. Don’t allow these suggestions to discourage you from going to see someone in the hospital; just be aware that some things are better to do than others. If I am ever in the hospital again, I like my Caribou coffee decaf with cream! J


“Oh, no,” you are probably saying. “She’s NOT going to speak on this area of my life!?” Well, yes, I am. As many of you know, I don’t carry a cell phone. Yes, we have a smart phone. Yes, I know how to text, send pixies, do WhatsApp, use GPS etc. However, I choose to use a land line FIRST and FOREMOST because it is the only phone on which my 92-year-old mother can hear me. I also PREFER not to be hooked to my phone- either talk or text! (Just a personal quirk.) I understand all the reasons why people have them. I am not saying one word AGAINST having a cell phone. Whew! Now you can relax.

The reason that I am going to mention some things, is because I observe the lack of manners generally with cell phone users AND if you read the newspaper at all, or read or listen to any TV documentaries on this issue, you most likely have heard that cell phones have CHANGED the dynamics of the American family. Even users will say that cell phone usage has its own “demons.”

It seems like there is a lack of good manners, lack of respect for others, and even rudeness with cell phone users. I even see this with people who seem to have respectable manners in most other areas. Again, even cell phone users would agree! How many times have you been out to dinner and the table of diners next to you are all “hooked up.” There is little to NO conversation between parents and children. This is the “new normal,” and research is beginning to come in that says children and young adults have difficulty with conversations. They are connected, but they are not conversing. They are actually “lonelier,” even with all the texting! New research indicates that constant cell phone use changes the white and gray matter of the brain that has to do with our emotions and self control. Being hooked to a cell phone has its problems! Research it yourself!

I have several dear friends that have had dinner at our house and have been on their phone once, and maybe even two or three times during the evening. If they don’t get calls, they receive texts and check their phone several times and often text back. REALLY? It is said that 67% of people check their cell phones even if they don’t hear it ring or ping! Ninety-one percent of users keep their phone within arm’s length- hence at my dinner table! BUT NO MORE! This behavior smacks of rudeness. Someone has prepared a meal/evening for you, and yet someone else is MORE important??   If you take THEIR call, that’s what it looks like! I don’t mind an emergency call, and I understand the need to perhaps take a call that you are waiting for, but generally, anyone and everyone can make or take a call later. What did people do years ago, pre-cell phone era? I can tell you, because I am THAT old! When people began to actually have a family phone, you NEVER called someone at “dinner time.” You NEVER called someone after 9:00 pm, because they were getting ready for bed. There were “unwritten courtesies” that abounded. If the phone ever rang other than during a normal day, you thought it was an emergency! So, how to we get back to those courtesies? How about laying down the phones from 5:00-7:00 each evening and having a FAMILY meal and FAMILY time? Plan uninterrupted time to connect with your spouse AND your kids! How about having a Cell Phone Fast, similar to the Facebook Fast that was suggested in a recent “Heart for Wisdom” article? I really do prefer my guests leaving their cell phones at the door!

Here are some actual cell phone user behaviors that will probably make you laugh, but which, in my book, are RUDE!

*Many job interviewees take calls or texts DURING the job interview! That action says something! How about focusing on the interviewer? You want a job?

*Some people actually talk or text on their way to surgery, so that the Anesthesiologist has to ask for the phone before he administers the drugs to go “nighty-night!” What could be that important?

*As a Dental Hygienist, I actually had more than one patient try and use his cell phone- either talking or trying to text- during the procedure. Here I am with all 10 fingers in his mouth, and he is trying to carry on a conversation or have the cell phone high enough that he can text. Of course, his hand is in the way of the light that shines into his mouth and, “Oh, excuse me; did I just gouge your gums?” Put your phone away!

*How about when you are in a conversation with someone, and they take a call or text in the middle of your conversation. We teach our children not to interrupt, but we allow it with the cell phone!

I know we all have been privy to a conversation when we are out and about. Most of the time you do not want to hear any of this—especially unnecessary comments on someone’s relationship. You might be surprised at what Cell Phone Manner experts say in regard to where not to use a cell phone: In church; at a sporting event; at the cash register; in a meeting; at the theatre; in a crowded waiting room; when driving; when dining out…And the list goes on.

So, I am certainly not asking you to not use your cell phone. It’s 2015 and we love having these new and great technologies that in some ways help keep our lives organized. I am asking you, however, to evaluate what your actions and habits really say when you are using your phone?   Are your phone use habits kind? (Call or text) Considerate? Courteous? Respectful?   Necessary? Be as techy as you desire, but have your use enveloped in GOOD MANNERS. “Polite” is the word that should best describe how we conduct ourselves in this area!

(Some information taken from “Mind your Mobile Manners,” “Are We Replacing Conversation With Connectivity?” and “Cell Phone Users Need to Call Miss Manners.”)