Tag Archives: manners

Practicing Dinnertime Manners

Our blended family of six usually sits at the kitchen island for meals.  Only steps away, our dining room table plays host to some stacks of homework.

With four boys in a variety of evening activities, dinner has become much more informal in these final weeks of school.  Puppies run through the house, we shuttle kids from one practice to another.  My oldest stepson finishes 8th grade soon and he has dinners, dances, and banquets.

Photo Credit: Kuba Abramowicz via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Kuba Abramowicz via Compfight cc

Chaos was winning.  Manners were losing.

My wife had a great idea.  We needed to revive dinner in the dining room.  Napkins.  Silverware, Candles.

Waiting for everyone to sit before saying the prayer and eating.  Elbows off the table.  No talking with food in your mouth.

We did this last night, and had one of the best dinners we had had in weeks.  We had a great conversation, lots of laughs, and everyone even ate their broccoli.

Granted, we did bribe them with pizookie (a decadent cookie dessert) if everyone behaved.

But, even without the dessert, the time at the table was more enjoyable for everyone.  They proved to us and to themselves they had not forgotten how to act politely.

Looking at the family calendar, we may not all sit at the table again for several days, but we will do this again…pizookie or not.

What bad habits do you model at the dinner table?  Have you ever sent your kid to bed without dinner for bad manners?

Teaching Our Kids About Manners

I was a kid in the 1970s and my parents came to Arizona from farming communities in the midwest.  They raised me with many of the customs from their childhood…which makes perfect sense.

My parents taught me to open doors for everyone (especially ladies), to make eye contact when speaking to adults, and to always say “please” and “thank you.”  They did not have to deal with electronics at mealtime as so many of us battle against today.

young woman bored to date while her boyfriend having business cell on mobile phone

young woman bored to date while her boyfriend having business cell on mobile phone

As time has passed, I have had the sense “manners” have changed slightly.  Holding doors for people can be met with either thanks or indifference.  Rarely do I remember to stand when a lady gets up from the table.  I do, however, open the car door for my wife nearly every time we get into the car.

My son and stepsons pay close attention to my actions and I do my best to model good manners.  But I have wondered if any of what my parents taught me has changed.

Thankfully, I heard a podcast by the Art of Manliness about the subject, and I encourage each of you to give it a listen.  We have all heard of Emily Post, but I had no idea her family had kept her legacy alive and relevant.  You can find one of her old books in the used bookstore, but the modern Emily Post empire is alive, well, and keeping abreast of modern manners.

The podcast reminded me to keep up on my manners and gave me some tools to use with respect to email manners even text messaging.

We model behavior for our kids and it does not hurt to brush up on good manners so we can equip them to stand above the rest as they grow up.

Can you name one time your parent(s) asked you to leave the dinner table for bad manners?  Have you sent your kid to her/his room for bad behavior at the table?