Wednesday, July 22, 2015



Manners of the Heart, that is.

Sixteen years ago, Jill Rigby began working to craft a curriculum to be taught in schools that would teach children manners and respectful behavior.

Her belief is that with respect, parents can parent, teachers can teach, children can learn, and communities can thrive.

She is being proven right.

Jill came up with Manners of the Heart, which teaches Biblical character principles and respectful behavior without mentioning religion, the Bible, or anything the public school system would have to edit out.

Schools have been implementing her program and have been doing so long enough that results are coming in.  They are all positive.

One school principal who insisted that Manners of the Heart be taught in her school noted a 64% reduction in students being referred to the office for discipline and a 34% increase in reading ability among students.

That was in one year, folks.

This is a program that works.

Jill has a favorite story of one young girl who was somewhat of an outcast in her class, with a terrible home life. Each student in the class had been assigned a project, and the most popular girl in the class knew that this other girl would get no help from her family.  She took it upon herself to gather the materials and invite the girl to her home so she would also have a project to turn in.  Even after that, she continued to mentor and befriend this girl, and she said she did it because of what Wilbur the Wise Old Owl, mascot of Manners of the Heart, had taught her.

Again, this is a program that works.

One problem has been getting it into the schools around here at home.  Most schools that have brought Manners of the Heart to their classrooms have been out of this school district or out of state.  That has led to the problem of many people asking her, "If it's such a good program, why won't your local schools implement it on a wholesale basis?"  We all know how prophets aren't accepted in their own country, and that's been a struggle for Jill.

She's had the program in local schools in our district, but only a few.  Those have had tremendous success, including one that had the program, decided not to use it one year, and saw a teacher rebellion until it was brought back!  Another Louisiana school district used it because the superintendent of schools in that district implemented it and he took that district to the top of the state.

He's now our local district superintendent, and he's going to do everything he can to bring our school district up the way he did the other one.

One way is by bringing Manners of the Heart to 15 of our local elementary schools right off the bat.

This huge jump created the need for 310 more teacher kits, each with a labeled box and the three character puppets in them.

Wilbur the Wise Old Owl puppets come complete, but the two raccoon characters need either a bow for the girl or a baseball cap for the boy hot glued on.

Jill asked for volunteers to help with labeling, gluing, putting puppets in kits, and getting the lids on.

It was fun, and except for running out of the baseball caps for the last few raccoons, it's all done.  Those caps were ordered 3 weeks ago, and the company has said they will overnight a new order, so in the next two days it should all be finished.

Now we get to see what Manners of the Heart can do for our area.

We have kits!

Today is

Aphrodisia -- Ancient Greek Calendar (bathing festival of Aphrodite and Peitho [Persuasion]; through tomorrow)

Bregenzer Festspiele (Bregenz Festival) -- Bregenz, Austria (an amazing performing arts festival, through August 23)

Casual Pi Day / 
Pi Approximation Day (22nd day of month 7; 22/7 is the approximation of Pi)

Festival of Boredom and Reverie -- Fairy Calendar

Hammock Day -- don't know who came up with this one, but at the height of the dog days, it seems appropriate; on some sites listed as Summer Leisure Day

International Childbirth Education Awareness Day -- can't find confirmation on this, but if you're going to have a kid, it's not a bad idea to get educated about what to expect!

King Father's Birthday -- Swaziland

National Penuche Fudge Day

Oregon Brewers Festival -- Portland, OR, US (81 microbreweries from across the nation showcase their best, including rare, hard-to-find, and exotic beers; through Sunday)

Ratcatcher's Day -- celebrated by the British dating of the Pied Piper story; celebrated June 26 in Hamelin, Germany

Revolution Day -- The Gambia

Soma-Nomaoi Festival -- Haramachi City, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan (Wild-Horse Chasing, a four day festival in which a thousand horsemen, clad in ancient armor, compete for possession of three shrine flags, and along the Hibarigahara Plain, men clad in white costumes attempt to catch wild horses)

Spooners Day (Spoonerism -- Named for William Archibald Spooner, English cleric and scholar who once fussed at a student because "You hissed my mystery lesson," told a groom it was "kisstomery to cuss the bride," and once accidentally referred to Queen Victoria as "the queer old Dean.")

St. Mary Magdalene's Day (Patron of apothecaries, contemplative life and contemplatives, converts, druggists, glove makers, hairdressers and hair stylists, penitent sinners, penitent women, people ridiculed for their piety, perfumeries and perfumers, pharmacists, reformed prostitutes, tanners, women; Anguiano, Spain; Atrani, Salerno, Italy; Casamicciola, Italy; Elantxobe, Spain; Foglizzo, Italy; La Magdaleine, Italy; against sexual temptation)
   Stilt Dance Day -- Anguiano, Spain (a special stilt dance performed on the Feast of the city's patron, St. Mary Magdalen)

Sumarauki -- Iceland (their calendar's extra days added to take into account the "drift" of the calendar from the moon phases)

Birthdays Today:

George Alexander Louis Windsor, His Royal Highness Prince of Cambridge, 2013
Madison Pettis, 1998
Selena Gomez, 1992
Scott Dixon, 1980
Daniel Jones, 1973
Rufus Wainwright, 1973
Irene Bedard, 1967
Rhys Ifans, 1967
Shawn Michaels, 1965
David Spade, 1964
John Leguizamo, 1964
Rob Estes, 1963
Keith Sweat, 1961
Willem Dafoe, 1955
Alan Menken, 1949
Albert Brooks, 1947
Don Henley, 1947
Danny Glover, 1946
Estelle Bennett, 1944
Bobby Sherman, 1943
Kay Bailey Hutchison, 1943
Alex Trebek, 1940
Terrence Stamp, 1939
Louise Fletcher, 1934
Oscar De la Renta, 1932
Orson Bean, 1928
Bob Dole, 1923
Amy Vanderbilt, 1908
Alexander Calder, 1898
Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, 1890
William Archibald Spooner, 1844
Gregor Johann Mendel, 1822 (Note:  some sources say July 20)

Debuting/Premiering Today:

Plan 9 From Outer Space(Film), 1959

Today in History

King Edward I of England and his longbowmen defeat William Wallace and his Scottish schiltrons outside the town of Falkirk, 1298
The Swiss decisively defeat the Imperial army of Emperor Maximilian I in the Battle of Dornach, 1499
A second group of English settlers arrive on Roanoke Island off North Carolina to re-establish the deserted colony, 1587
Alexander Mackenzie reaches the Pacific Ocean becoming the first Euro-American to complete a transcontinental crossing of Canada, 1793
In the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Rear Admiral Nelson is wounded in the arm, and part of it is amputated, 1797
Death of Josef Strauss, Austrian composer, 1870
First ever motorized racing event is held in France between the cities of Paris and Rouen. The race is won by comte Jules-Albert de Dion, 1894
Wiley Post becomes the first person to fly solo around the world traveling 15,596 miles in 7 days, 18 hours and 45 minutes, 1933
Dezik and Tzygan become the first of Russia's Space Dogs, making a sub-orbital flight, which they both survived, 1951
Japan completes its last reparation to the Philippines for war crimes committed during WWII, 1976
Martial law in Poland is officially revoked, 1983
The second Blue Water Bridge opens between Port Huron, Michigan and Sarnia, Ontario, 1997
The Stonehenge World Heritage Site announces the discovery of a possible new henge, the biggest discovery at a major monument in over 50 years, 2010
Norway is the victim of twin terror attacks, on government buildings in Oslo and a youth camp at Utoya, 2011
Scientific studies reveal that dolphins have unique names for one another, much like humans do, 2013


  1. What a wonderful program. I loved the popular gal that took on the one that needed her most. That's awesome.

    Have a fabulous day and as usual you're involved in this project. I'm not surprised. ♥♥♥

  2. This is very exciting! Please give us an update in the near future. Looking forward to hear how the children are loving it.

  3. What a great project it will be interesting :-)

  4. Manners are in such decline that I heartily endorse your attempt to do something about it.

  5. With school times so tightly set to curriculum and testing you are lucky to get this outside the box project. It sounds like good practical sense!

  6. I'm all for anything that will encourage children to be loving and sharing. Great!

  7. The sounds like a terrific program. Good on your for helping to make it happen. I look forward to hearing how it is progressing in your area.

  8. What a great program. We sorely need programs like this and not ones like multiculturalism.