I’m going to let you in on a little secret.
Particularly when it comes to parenting, my hubby tends to be a little more adult. Yesterday I gave the kids Captain America ring pops as a pre-dinner snack, because, well, CAPTAIN AMERICA RING POPS! He reveled in the coolness with them, then presented a beautiful, fresh fruit salad. He is just good like that.
Later, at dinner he had a great, ‘novel’ idea. I felt like Homer Simpson letting out a loud “DOH!!!!!!”. Somewhere in the process of gestating, birthing, and raising little people, the concept of teaching them table manners escaped me. This is a pretty sad fact given the effort our parents put into the deal a few decades earlier. My hubby and I both grew up in households where sitting down at the table each night as a family was priority. You gratefully ate what you were given, you were polite, and you didn’t get up until excused. Napkins resided in your lap, elbows off the table, and “OH MY GOD! DO NOT STAB WITH YOUR FORK – LIFT!” echoed throughout our home’s halls.
I’m not sure how old I was when it started, but I know by the 5th grade, I knew the different place settings and what fork to use. I was likely closer to a little adult then a wild banshee at the table.
So, back to giving my hubby props, who, in the middle of tacos last night declared it table manners training session number one. It’s like every other parenting decision. You just have to decide to start. And do it.
Which got me thinking: I don’t see training in table manners come up to often in my flashy family oriented magazines or hear about it on the radio. I don’t think I have ever walked up to another friend and heard them gush “We had the best family devotional on table manners last night, let me tell you about it!” Sadly, table manners is a dying training category falling prey to busy schedules and its art is compromised and simplified to simply feeding everybody something (other than Captain America ring pops :)). Ask any 30 something with young kids the priorities each night and it is likely food, bath, bed. We are in survival mode (of the rich, first world kind).
So, this weekend, I am on a mission. I’m scouring the internet and going to the library to see what resources are out there for teaching children table manners. It’s time this act got cool again. Everybody should be doing it.