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Monday, January 9, 2012

Maryann B. Sawka Guest Blog

Today, Maryann B. Sawka shares her views on inspiration as well as the incident that prompted her to write a book. 

Writing a book is hard work! Sometimes the words flow easily from your mind directly to your keyboard or pad and pencil, while at other times you suffer from the dreaded “writer’s block” and go to amazing lengths to unblock the block.  Perhaps your unblock is to venture out for a walk, literally walking away from the project to clear your mind and refresh your senses by focusing your energy on an unrelated task.  Maybe you are the type of person who relishes the calm, soothing movements of yoga to relax and refocus your mind.  By pushing the writing from the forefront of your mind and releasing it into your subconscious thoughts, you are giving yourself permission to become inspired. 

Inspiration is a key component in most of what we do in our daily lives.  Imagine that you are inspired by a pair fashionable shoes that are priced beyond today’s balance in your checkbook, so you go to work each day in hopes that the shoes will inspire you to deliver an excellent product so that you can afford the new shoes that call your name with each passing glance in the store window.  Inspiration keeps us going even when we dream of giving up.  Inspiration is the hook that draws us in even when we have thoughts of turning the other way.  Inspiration is what changes an impossible task into a mere challenge.

When I began writing my book, Good Table Manners Made Easy, I was inspired by a negative that I hoped to turn into a positive.  As a parent of two young children, I occasionally found myself spending time in fast-food restaurants that offer “play places” where children can unwind while waiting for their meal or release some energy after enjoying their meal.  It was during one of these outings when I realized that as parents, we often throw our children into social situations without always teaching them the rules of appropriate behavior.  They are involved in activities with people who are around their same size and age, but not always with the same skill set for socializing.  Without teaching them how to behave and interact appropriately, how can we expect them to act in an acceptable manner? 

This was clearly brought to my attention during an outing with my daughter who was around five-years old at the time.  She was going about her business of playing, going up the stairs and down the slides, having a good time when another child in the play area rushed up to her with a mouthful of food and screamed in her face.  The look on my daughter’s face was a strange combination of shock, revulsion and disgust as she politely told the young gentleman that he “should not talk with food in his mouth.”  Bravo, I thought!  She did not dissolve into a fit of tears or run to me for safety.  She shared her thoughts in a polite manner and went on about her business of climbing up the stairs and sliding down the slides without seeming to give the incident another thought.  I casually turned to look at the young gentleman with the mouthful of food who was still standing with his mouth hanging open after my daughter’s comments were made to him.  His mother was involved in a discussion with another parent and didn’t notice the incident.  After swallowing his mouthful of food, he returned to his table where he finally decided to eat his meal while sitting down.

I decided that if my daughter could share a brief manners lesson with a peer, that I could help her by educating others in the lessons of appropriate behavior and manners.  My daughter inspired me to be a voice for better behavior that helps our society be the best that we can, putting forward positive interactions that build strong characters full of self-confidence and ambitions to be better.

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