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The Berenstain Bears Forget their Manners

The Berenstain Bears Forget their Manners

By Stan and Jan Berenstain

Copyright 1985 by Berenstains Inc. Published in the United States by Random House, Inc., New York.

Discussion Guidelines and Ten Questions

By Liz Eleftherakis


Summary: Mama Bear is fed up with the Bear family's rude behavior so she comes up with a plan to fight the bad habits with good habits.


Discussion Guidelines:

Question one deals with why manners are something we seem to forget every once in awhile.  How do we forget them?  Question two deals with how me remember them?  The question actually deals with memory in general.  It seems as though the main way we remember our manners is when someone reminds us.  If I were trying to remember my friend's last name, would I need someone to remind me or could I eventually figure it out on my own?

Question three addresses the meaning of "fighting" bad manners.  Obviously, we can't do that in a physical nature, so then how is it done?  It is supposed to invoke a discussion on the different meaning of the word "fight".

Question four is more of a general question of why we need manners in the first place.  It is also supposed to make a correlation between having bad manners and no manners.

Question five asks why Sister and Brother Bear thought that Mama Bear wouldn't want them to act super polite?  What was the logic behind their reasoning?  They obviously thought that having too much of someone is bad, but why did they think that?

Question six and seven deal with habits.  I bet the students don't realize the number of habits they actually have.  If they say that brushing their teeth isn't a habit then ask them if there is a certain way they always brush their teeth; that could be a habit within itself.  Also, we all come from different families and different backgrounds so we all accumulate different forms of habits.  Start a discussion on the different habits the students and the students' friends may have.

Question Eight discusses how habits become harder to break over time.  How can things be hard to remember at one point and become a habit (and hard to forget) at another point?  An example of this would be tying a shoelace.

Question nine asks how something could be considered a good manner and a bad manner.  Is it both meanings at the same time or different meanings at different times?  Can a manner be good or bad to different people?  The answers the students offer should be very interesting.

Lastly, question ten suggests that using good manners all the time might not be the best way to act.  If someone said that a good manner is to let someone go ahead of you, what would happen if you used that good manner ALL the time?  Should it be modified?  This question should lead into a lot of discussion.  





1.)   The Bear Family forgets their manners

a.)  How is it possible to forget your manners?  Have you ever had to be reminded to say thank you or please?  Why do we sometimes forget?

2.)   Continuation of question 1

b.)  What does it mean to remember your manners?  Is it different from remembering names?  What reminds you of your manners?

3.)   Mama Bear says you fight bad habits with good habits.

c.)  Can you really fight bad habits?  How is fighting bad habits different from fighting with a person?

d.)  How do good habits fight bad habits?

4.)   Mama Bear said that manners are very important.

e.)  What would happen without manners?

f.)  How many times a day do you think you use good manners?

g.)  If you didn't use good manners would that mean you would use bad manners or no manners?  Is there a difference between have bad manners and having no manners?

5.)   Brother Bear and Sister Bear thought that if they were super polite Mama Bear would call the whole thing off/

h.)  Why did they think that?

i.)   Is it possible to be too polite?

6.)   When Brother and Sister bear got into the habit of good manners they didn't even think about it anymore.

j.)   What does it mean to get in the habit of something?

k.)  How do you do something without thinking about it?

7.)   Continuation of question 6

l.)   What are other kinds of habits?

m.) What kinds of things do you do without thinking about them while you're doing them?  Do any of your friends have weird habits?  Do they know they are doing them?

n.)  Was there a time when you had to be reminded to do something and now you don't have to be reminded to do it anymore because it has become a habit?  How does that happen?

8.)   It was hard for papa to get in the habit of good manners.

o.)  Is it harder to change habits when you're older?  Why?

p.) What type of things do you do that would be hard to change?  Would you have to make yourself forget to do them?  Is that possible?  For example, if you know how to tie your shoes, could you make yourself forget how to do it?

9.)   Papa says that sometimes you have to use bad manners instead of good ones (like interrupting someone to tell them they have a leaking bottler in their cart).

q.)  Can something be a good manner and bad manner at the same time?  For example, interrupting someone to tell him or her something important?  How can something be both good and bad at the same time?

10.) Continuation of question 9

a.) Would it ever be bad to be nice all the time?  What would happen if you always let people cut you in line?