© 2018 THE LONG ISLAND LITERARY JOURNAL

Mind Your Manners

by Marian Kaplun Shapiro 

 

Risk Management

 

Don’t

       put that in your mouth

       hit your sister

       play in the street

       talk back to your father

            talk back to your gramma

                         talk back to your papa

                                     talk back to your teacher

                                                  talk back to your babysitter

 

(can I talk back to Aunt Lucy?)  Just don’t talk back!

 

And don’t talk to strangers.

 

(But Mommy, if I don’t talk to strangers, how will I make a new friend?)

 

 

 

When visiting our new neighbor,

 

Don’t

       interrupt

       say a bad word

       make noise

       act silly

       spill your milk

       complain

       ask for another cookie

       stick your nose where it doesn’t belong.

 

And when we leave, smile, and say thank you to Mrs. so-and-so, and don’t tell her I said she is a mean old bitch.

 

 

When you go to a birthday party,

 

Don’t

       eat too much cake

       be jealous of all the junky presents

          (most of them will be broken by tomorrow anyway)

       spill your juice on the good rug

       sit on the white leather couch

       forget to say please

       go near anyone who has a cold, and

don’t forget to say thank you for inviting me

       when you say goodbye.

 

Have a good time!

 

Going To The Movies

 

Don’t

       eat too much popcorn

       drop it on the floor

       fidget

       scream

       laugh

       jump on the seat

       poke your friends, even if they are

            poking you,

            fidgeting

            screaming

            laughing           

            jumping on their seats…

 

Don’t forget – I’ll be watching with my magic eyes           

             whether you can see me or not.


Starting School

Don’t

       tap your feet

       wiggle

       suck your thumb

       chew your pencil

       pinch your neighbor

Don’t

       bother your teacher

           ask questions

           call out

           wave your hand

           act like a know-it-all

 

And don’t drink too much at lunch time so you don’t have to ask to go to the bathroom.

 

At 3 o’clock the bell will ring, and you can go home.

 

Don’t run!