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Good manners can be fun

Debbie Spellecy class sure to boost civility in West Linn


Because of Debbie Spellecy, there will be soon be well-mannered children all over West Linn. And parents will be able to go to restaurants without hiding under the table from embarrassment.

Her class Manners Matter, sponsored by the City of West Linn Parks & Recreation Dept., begins on Feb. 7 at the West Linn Adult Community Center, and Spellecy is ready to burst with enthusiasm.

SPELLECY

“I am so excited about this class!” she said. “Parents have told me ‘This is what I’ve been looking for.’ “

Spellecy is truly an expert on manners. As a child she was quite well mannered, thanks to the strenuous effort of her parents. As a parent she turned her sons into well-mannered young gentlemen. She decided to become a manners instructor for children aged 5 to 10 because of many years of overhearing frustrated parents trying to get their kids to do the right thing in social situations.

Finally, the day came when Spellecy said, “’Parents really need help. I would love to do that.’”

Spellecy is filling a gap that has arisen in modern society. The nuclear family that includes grandparents being on hand to instruct the younger generation is much less common, and the loss of their voices has hurt the cause of kids having manners.

“Parents work with their kids, but it’s nice to have re-enforcement,” she said. “Everyone recognizes good manners, and everyone recognizes bad manners.”

Spellecy began her manner teaching career in Spokane and it was a huge success. She smilingly recalls the great popularity of her manners classes in that city, and she thinks she can have the same success in her new home of West Linn.

Her basic principle is that kids will enjoy her manners class.

“You shouldn’t have to drag you kids down the hall to manners class,” Spellecy said. “Good manners should be natural.”

Thanks to Spellecy, many kids have learned the skill of having good manners. But with the zeal of new converts they become experts at observing the lack of good manners in others. Such as their parents.

Spellecy said, “One father told me, ‘I didn’t realize I had such bad manners.’ His child was telling about putting his elbows on the table.”

The dad was not smiling when he told this to Spellecy, but the overwhelming reaction of parents is gratitude at the change in their children. Spellecy is already getting support for this in West Linn.

“Everything about this class is great,” said Terri Jones, recreation coordinator for West Linn. “It’s a great way to re-enforce what parents are already instilling. It’s good that kids get these fundamentals from somebody other than their parents. We’ve never offered anything like it in West Linn. I think it’s going to be a success.”

In any case, Jones said, “We need more civility.”

Spellecy couldn’t agree more, and she bubbles with enthusiasm when anticipating the impact of her class. Her students are so well mannered that they are even polite when they tell their parents to take their elbows off the table.

“Good manners shouldn’t only be for special occasions or for fancy restaurants,” Spellecy said. “They should be practiced wherever you are. Good manners never go out of style.”

To register for Manners Matter contact the West Linn Parks and Recreation Dept. Classes will be held Feb. 7 and 14 and April 4 and 11.

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