Seeds of Civility


I welcome May with excitement, zest and gratitude. It is a season that with every budding rose brings a reminder of nature’s promise for extravagant beauty and anticipated beginnings just above the horizon.

For my business, May marks the completion of my first year teaching manners classes in multiple Charleston County Elementary Schools and the launch of my first book! For my personal life, it marks the demise of my carefree and exploratory 20’s and the birth of my third decade. These are mile stones that appear to be paradoxically monumental, yet are welcomed with both reverence and appreciation.

I believe the transition into this new season feels as natural as it does because for the first time, in a long time, my values and goals seem to finally be aligned with who I am and what I want. And while this lesson may have taken me 30 years to figure out, it is a lesson my students are already mastering before they even get to middle school and a lesson I want to take a moment to share with all of you today.

The lesson is called ‘Growing Character Plants’ and the following steps are designed to help teach our children the parallels between the importance of nurturing our gardens as well as our budding values and core character traits.

Step 1: Cut out a 6 pedal flower from a paper plate

Step 2: Identify three character traits and three core values that best describe you and write them down on each pedal.

Step 3: Glue a popsicle stick and your photo onto the backside of the flower.

Step 4: Put two cups of potting soil and two pinches of seed into a cup.

Step 5: Place your paper flower into the soil and water the soil every day for 2 weeks.

Not all of my students come back with lush gardens, but the students who do return to class with growth also come back with an undeniable sense of pride and accomplishment. My hope is that getting to witness the fruition of their seeds, will plant even the smallest sense of dedication when cultivating their own character skills and values.

Whether going through times of abundance or times of drought, entering middle school or mile stone birthdays, knowing that we have the potential to foster these abilities will help bring ease, comfort and confidence during season transitions and lifelong evolutions.









About Aly Murphy

Aly Murphy is an international etiquette consultant based in Charleston, SC. She previously lived in Manhattan while she studied the history, social psychology and neuroscience...

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