My Granddaughter Reinforces the Rules

by Donne Davis on March 23, 2009

On our summer vacation last year, five-year old Juliet rode in the backseat of our car and kept a keen eye on my driving. She pointed out that I wasn’t always using my blinker when I changed lanes or made turns. So I started paying more attention and diligently used my turn signal for every turn and lane change. Whenever I did, she would pipe up from the backseat: “Good job, Baba!”

The day after we got home, I was driving to my yoga class and smiled to myself.  At every turn, I signaled and imagined hearing Juliet’s voice reinforcing my good behavior. I am a proud graduate of Juliet’s Blinker Training Academy.

Juliet is equally conscientious about washing her hands, a habit ingrained by her mother very early in life. Even before she turned five, Juliet was keenly observant in public bathrooms. On a visit to the library we went to use the bathroom. While we were in there, a woman who used the toilet, walked out without washing her hands. Juliet noticed immediately, then turned to me and said: “Baba, that woman should have washed her hands.”

When we left the bathroom, Juliet walked straight over to the library guard and announced in a really loud voice: “A woman went potty and didn’t wash her hands!”

The guard got a big kick out of it. But, it turns out she was onto something. Peer pressure helps people remember to wash their hands. In the March 15 USA Weekend Magazine an article listed “5 Things You Don’t Know about Hand Washing.” One of them cited a study of hand-washing habits among 100 college women. When students were alone in the loo, 45%  “forgot” to wash their hands, vs. 9% when another student was present.

I hope Juliet keeps her wonderful honesty. We need kids who know how to model good behavior.

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Juliet’s grandpa satirized the library incident in a cartoon for the family journal…

{ 1 comment }

Sally Wendkos Olds March 25, 2009 at 8:19 am

I love this story about Juliet’s broadcasting the poop (forgive the pun) about the woman who didn’t wash her hands! In fact, I was just planning to write a letter to the New York City commissioner of health recommending a change in those signs you see in every restaurant bathroom saying that employees must wash their hands. I think there should be an added sentence saying that EVERYONE SHOULD wash their hands, for their own and their families’ health. Maybe Juliet can help in that campaign!

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