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Children and the wai
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  1. #1
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    Children and the wai

    I have always heard we do not wai children and a recent thread brought a few questions to mind. I know we do not wai children, but the wai is done when respect is due. Then Syn mentions the phrase 'except in special circumstances' and I am curious what some of these might be outside of royalty?

    Do the wai receptions become more common in the teenage years as they being to do more adult like things?

    For example, if a young 16 year old boy finds my wallet and returns it to me with cash untouched in my mind that would call for one. If I stop to help a broken down motorist and a young person walks up offering a cell phone to use, this I would think would call for it. I guess the way I see it is when young people show responsibility, honesty and general actions that seem to be above that of what their peers might do (or just behavior like that of an adult) they would deserve the respect that any other adult would get. So how far off am I?

  2. #2
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    Re: Children and the wai

    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua View Post
    I have always heard we do not wai children and a recent thread brought a few questions to mind. I know we do not wai children, but the wai is done when respect is due. Then Syn mentions the phrase 'except in special circumstances' and I am curious what some of these might be outside of royalty?

    Do the wai receptions become more common in the teenage years as they being to do more adult like things?

    For example, if a young 16 year old boy finds my wallet and returns it to me with cash untouched in my mind that would call for one. If I stop to help a broken down motorist and a young person walks up offering a cell phone to use, this I would think would call for it. I guess the way I see it is when young people show responsibility, honesty and general actions that seem to be above that of what their peers might do (or just behavior like that of an adult) they would deserve the respect that any other adult would get. So how far off am I?
    One should never initiate a wai with a person younger than yourself regardless of the circumstances, unless they are in the monkhood or a member of the royal family. In the event of the younger person having done you a favour, a warm "thank you" is all that is required.

  3. #3
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    Re: Children and the wai

    Quote Originally Posted by Surawut View Post
    One should never initiate a wai with a person younger than yourself regardless of the circumstances, unless they are in the monkhood or a member of the royal family. In the event of the younger person having done you a favour, a warm "thank you" is all that is required.
    That is what I wanted to say but I forgot. hehe ( my lame excuse)

  4. #4
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    Re: Children and the wai

    I agree with the above. You should never initiate a "wai" with a child or youth. Some people believe this brings bad luck and could even take off years from their life. If a child gives you a "wai", a smile and nod of acknowledgement is enough. As they start to get older - early teenage years - you can begin to "wai" them back, but only use the chest level "receiving wai".

  5. #5
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    Re: Children and the wai

    You receive/respond/return a wai from someone who's younger than you with a wai (at chest level only).
    Don't just love him, but show him

  6. #6
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    Re: Children and the wai

    I am an outsider on the issue of course and I make mistakes all the time (btw how on earth are you supposed to wai back to a parent for example when you are eating an icecream or your hands are full of stuff?)

    I see how Thai teachers and parents are teaching small kids about wai. our kids are 3-6, but there are always "nongs" coming with their parents. with the smallest 2-3 year olds, Thai teachers kneel down besides them and sawatdii the kid first, so she/he knows exactly what to copy and does it better every time. by the time they are 4, they can wai first, but the teacher wais back the same way the kid is expected to wai, so that the pattern is reinforced by mirroring the correct action. now that my kids are 6, they get a chest-high wai from the Thai teachers when they line up and enter the classroom and give the teachers a very low bowing wai. now they know how to do it correctly. it is not so easy to learn and some of them are still a little clumsy.

    I admit I wai kids when I get a present, I know I should not but I do it. I just quickly raise my hands with my fingers touching my chin. I remember on wai khru day we also did a similar wai when receiving flowers.

  7. #7
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    Re: Children and the wai

    A lot of Thais (higher than elementary level) put their hands at the same level no matter whom they are waiiing.

    By the way, we still try to wai even when our hands are busy, Betti. The person whom we are waiing will see our intension in waiing them and respond or just smile. I know it's funny but that's what we do. lol I never dump ice cream on my nose or shirt, though. lol
    Don't just love him, but show him

  8. #8
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    Re: Children and the wai

    Quote Originally Posted by ThuggieDuckie View Post
    A lot of Thais (higher than elementary level) put their hands at the same level no matter whom they are waiiing.

    By the way, we still try to wai even when our hands are busy, Betti. The person whom we are waiing will see our intension in waiing them and respond or just smile. I know it's funny but that's what we do. lol I never dump ice cream on my nose or shirt, though. lol
    Yes. This is what I understand from observation and reading, it seems the effort of trying to bring the palms together is more important than actually achieving it!

  9. #9
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    Re: Children and the wai

    thanks Thuggie - I figured out how to do it now - bow head, raise hands slightly, even when carrying five full plastic bags - embarrassing when I have a banana skin in my hand or all sorts of junk first it was confusing, should I put it down, put it in my pocket, or what? and then there is eating or talking on the phone. or riding on a motorcycle
    childen are taught to put down whatever they have in their hands (especially if they have their shoes in their hands!), wai properly, pick up the things, walk on. but then they will ask, should I put my apple on the floor to wai or what?
    it is all these small tricks that make the wai difficult to learn.

  10. #10
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    Re: Children and the wai

    It needs sense too.
    Don't just love him, but show him

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