Home Uncategorized Manners: Dominion at the Dinner Table!

Manners: Dominion at the Dinner Table!

by Kelly Crawford

In an age where “ME FIRST” is the motto, it is little wonder that the once-esteemed importance of manners and protocol are quickly dissolving.

Interestingly, too, is that a homeschooler still gets battered about the lack of socialization his child is receiving, (while the child stands there and interacts graciously), and the questioner’s public-schooled child can barely offer a decent greeting to adults (this is general statement…don’t take it personally 😉

We’ve been reading a book called “Protocol Matters” by Sandra Boswell. It has been such a great reminder of the importance of training children in basic human behavior.

Then, yesterday, I ran across a very old children’s book called “Manners Can Be Fun”, and this is the book’s definition of manners:

“Having good manners is really just living with other people pleasantly.”

Love it. And to a Christian, having good manners is really just loving your neigbor as yourself.

So, I thought I’d tell you some of the (forgotten) things our family is working on, and maybe you could join us! It can be hard with little ones when you’re just trying to make it through a meal without spilling a glass of water. BUT, it’s when they’re little that the training is so important.
Children who are old enough to sit by themselves and hold a cup are old enough to begin learning proper behavior.

Here are three things we’re working on, this week:

1. Everyone stand behind his or her chair until the hostess (mom) is seated. (This is a new practice for us. Years ago, you didn’t dare sit before the hostess. And if we are to expect proper manners when we are out, we better practice them at home!)

2. The boys should help the girls with their chairs. People once sat a party at the dinner table so that there was a lady to the right of every man. Each man helped her with her chair. (You know, back when women were so devalued? *sarcasm*)

3. Everyone waits to take a bite until the hostess has taken one. Unless she gives them the go ahead before her. (This one is tough with little ones, but not impossible.)

BTW, aren’t these great lessons in self-control! When you start observing these manners, you’ll begin to notice when you go places how few people, especially children, have been instructed in protocol. And you’ll begin to see how rude it can be when you sit down with your plate, and the teenage boy beside you has already shoveled his whole plate of food into his mouth with no thought for anyone else at the table. Let’s teach our children to consider others before them in every area!

Christians taking dominion at the dinner table!

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Kim M. June 11, 2008 - 8:51 am

It’s interesting that you posted about this, because I just got a book from the library to read to my kids about manners. And I was shocked yesterday when one of my boys wanted to ask me something he said “Excuse me” very politely. I couldn’t believe that it had even begun to sink in that quickly.
I will have to find that book you are reading.

Anonymous June 11, 2008 - 9:04 am

My mother always insisted on the part about waiting until the hostess began eating, at least when there was company or we were visiting…and I found myself waiting for someone else when I was the hostess myself last week! It’s a pretty strange realization that I’m the one to start….
Mrs. G

Holden June 11, 2008 - 4:47 pm

I remember being given a copy of “Tiffany’s Table Manners for Children” when I was young, even before any finishing school. And then, when I was thirteen, my mother gave me Emily Post’s “Etiquette” (which covers absolutely everything). Kudos to you for passing this on to your kids. When they’re older, they’ll appreciate it (now I have to go call my mum and tell her!)

Mrs. Taft June 12, 2008 - 6:18 pm

I’m not sure I could swing the “waiting until the hostess took a bite”, but it’s VERY important that we wait to eat until we have prayed. Usually we are all sitting down and ready at that time…I have slacked on this a bit, must remedy!

preciouspeas June 17, 2008 - 6:00 am

That is so funny, I have that book, Manners are fun. The girls especially like Mr. Touchey, who touched so many things his arms grew and grew. Or, ME First, who had to be first so many times, his nose grew so big.

Manners is such a constant training for little ones. It’s not for the weak and weary.


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