Sunday, January 21, 2001
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Posted on: Sunday, January 21, 2001

Fun House
Vocabulary lesson gone awry leads to laughter

By Deneitra Hutchinson
Special to The Advertiser

My friend Renee and I were discussing how to teach our preschoolers to say "the magic word" - "please" - when they wanted something. But Renee said she had to switch from calling it "the magic word" to "the polite word."

Why the change?

Her son, Max, had recently turned 4 when he received a magic set for his birthday. Then his aunt and uncle visited from the Mainland, and Max wanted to show off his magic skills. But there was a problem: During his magic tricks, when Max’s aunt said, "What’s the magic word?," Max would wave his magic wand and say, "Please!"

Renee realized she needed a different approach. She began teaching Max that "Abracadabra!" is "the magic word" that every good magician needs to know.

Then, Renee taught Max that "please" is "the polite word" to say when he wanted something.

This didn’t work as well as she had planned, however.

A few days later, Max asked his aunt for a cup of juice. His Aunt Pam, unaware of his vocabulary lesson, asked Max, "What’s the magic word?"

He replied, "Abracadabra!"

If you have a true, humorous, unpublished short story about your family or a family-related topic, send it with your name, city and telephone number to: Fun House, Ohana Section, The Honolulu Advertiser, P.O. Box 3110, Honolulu, HI 96802; e-mail ohana@honolulu; fax 535-8170. Preference is given to stories of 200 words or less.

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