I bet most moms and dads will agree with me when I say parenting in 2023 is…different…than in years past. The idea of a “tribe” living in the same area to help support us with our kids has changed, if it even exists at all. With so much going on in the world, it’s a challenge allowing our kids to interact with adults. And I think there’s just reason for that. All of that said, I primarily rely on myself and our experiences as a family to help guide and gauge some of the life lessons they need. One of those recurring experiences for us happens to be our local staycations. I use our luxury hotel stays as conduits for them to learn lessons in being little gentlemen. So far, it seems to be helping.

The Power of Paying Attention 

I started thinking about this as my boys and I took quiet reprieves during the downturn of the COVID-19 pandemic. Because hotels were virtually empty, we would take a two- to three-day staycation at a luxury hotel in the area. Some, like the Waldorf Astoria, had reduced rates on Mondays and Tuesdays. There were specific things I remember about the check-in experience there. When I checked us in, the receptionists would offer me something like champagne, but they would also get the boys coloring packets. I thought it was really nice to not only think about the adult but also provide a welcoming gift for the children.

Receptionists would typically ask for my information when getting a room. However, they would always ask my boys their names, also. I didn’t think much of that until we walked back by the main desks after checking in. I would hear, “Have a great day, Breegan. Enjoy your day, Kensi and Kingsley!” The clerks made a point of remembering all our names! It was such a special touch that doesn’t happen at every hotel stay. On other occasions when they realized the boys liked to paint, they would bring up easel sets with French berets for them to wear. It made such an impression on me as a mom.

Since those times, I’ve made it a point to talk to my boys about their experiences during our luxury hotel stays. I would emphasize how cool it was that employees remembered their names out of everyone who was there. We would also talk about what it meant to them that the employees cared about them having fun things to do while we were there. Even at their young ages, both boys recognized those actions made them feel special. I took the time to explain how they should do the same for others. Remembering names helps people feel connected to us. And, caring about what matters to others helps them feel important and loved. It’s my way of empowering them to be emotionally intelligent little men, but on their level. I’ve already seen the fruit of these conversations in their actions toward others.

Kindness Through Conversation

I found similar experiences with other luxury hotel stays with my sons. The staff at The Beverly Hills Hotel was just as accommodating. If I happened to ask someone at the front desk where the pool was, they wouldn’t simply tell me. They would stop whatever it was they were doing and walk us to the pool. Who does that?! On top of personally escorting us to our destination, the employee would start a conversation, and it wasn’t a superficial exchange. We would get questions like, “What brings you to our hotel?” “What’s the best part about your time with us so far?” and “Have you all visited the swan garden?” Those instances were brief moments of courtesy, but they had such an impact.

These exchanges were significant because I recognized they didn’t happen everywhere we chose to stay. Don’t get me wrong: we’ve had really nice people and experiences in budget-friendly hotels. But interactions were different in that they felt more obligatory in those hotels versus the luxury hotels. It was as if people were nice because they were paid to be. Luxury employees seemed to be kind and helpful because they wanted to meet our needs. They wanted us to be happy. What’s more, all of the employees, whether they were managers or maintenance, took so much pride in all they did for the hotel, no matter their position. Being kind to everyone was a detail in their roles that they took seriously and enacted with sheer excellence.

My kids picked up on these things, too, in their own way. My oldest would exclaim how attendants and receptionists made him feel really happy during our luxury hotel stays. He loved how “nice” they were to him. I took those opportunities to discuss the difference between being nice and kind. As a young gentleman, I wanted him to always make people feel the same way the workers made him feel.  He seemed to get it, and it shows in his interaction with both adults and other kids.

Equality Etiquette

There’s so much more I’m able to teach my boys about being gentlemen during our luxury hotel stays. One other thing that has been really important to show them is that being kind is a universal act. It wasn’t just the hotel manager giving great service to us and making us feel special. The housekeepers, the receptionists, the bellboys…they all treated us well. Likewise, we don’t get to treat people differently because of their professional role, pay scale, gender or color. I intentionally taught them through our stays that everyone is valuable and worthy of respect and feeling loved.

As a mom aspiring to raise global citizens, I want my sons to understand everyone has a role to play in the world, and everyone’s part is equally important. We all have a gift and something to contribute to society. One person not doing their part, or not feeling worthy of contributing, can impact us all. Breegan, your boys can learn all that by staying at a luxury hotel? ABSOLUTELY! If there’s a manager running an exquisite hotel with custodians who feel underappreciated, that can impact the success of the entire enterprise. It’s important that EVERYONE feels valued and worthy. People may be on various rungs of the life ladder, but we all have the same heart—and that’s what should be positively impacted.

Raising young boys to be gentlemen is an intentional task. But utilizing what we do as a family, including our luxury hotel stays, helps them live and learn in the moment. That makes the task a little easier for me as a mom. Parents, how are you teaching your kids about kindness? I’d love to know more in the comments.

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