Friday, July 25, 2008

Bring Back Table Manners!

Found on Yahoo! Shine...I think this is fantastic! I continuously try to install good manners in my boys.

During a dinner date this weekend, I was seated two tables away from a family with a teenager, a tween, a mom, dad and one set of grandparents. Completely wholesome, I thought, until the son got up and walked past us. He was a technological maven:
Ear pods in his ear for his iPod.
A small headset dangling from his right ear while the cable was neatly hidden and tucked in his sportcoat, a la Secret Service
Some sort of text messaging device.
He came and left from his meal about 10 times and when he was seated, he was listening to something on his iPod while he texted away. His family sat around him chatting, laughing, fully engaged. This seemingly polished kid, however, would jump in to the conversation every now and then, only to hunch back over his gadgets. Know what's even more interesting? I've seen this type of display from kids at restaurants before. Sometimes mom or dad will even prop up a DVD player for their kids to watch a movie so the adults can enjoy their meal.May I rant for second? The last time I checked it was still rude to wear a hat or baseball cap at the dinner table. So when did it become okay to turn a meal into an electronic feast for our kids? Shouldn't they learn how to sit at a dinner table -- at home or at a restaurant -- and know how to behave properly instead of being entertained by something else? And even more importantly, what's happening to their social skills? I'm just sayin'.But I'm also calling for us to get back to basics with teaching kids table manners. As in, let's teach them how to have a meal and actively participate in the dining experience. You can go look at
Emily Post's Rules for Table Manners for Kids for all the formal rules such as not letting your kids sit like slackers or talk with their mouths full. Saying "please" and "excuse me." Not reaching over the table. But let's simplify. I believe it comes down to two simple rules when eating at home or dining out:-Everyone should turn off all electronic devices. That means the televisions, portable DVD players, cell phone, video games, PDAs...whatever will pose a distraction. Mom and dad, this means you too. Don't answer any phone. Close the laptop. Make this a family rule. If your teenager wants to text message his buddy, let his room while dinner continues. If he comes back and dinner's over? Oh well. Kitchen's closed. He'll get the message.-Talk to your kids. Engage them at the table. This will teach them to talk to you. You'd be surprised what they have to say, even as toddlers. And if you start young, by the time they are teenagers this will already be a habit and routine that they may even look forward to. I know.Oh, yes, it can be painful at times (trust me, I really, really do know). I also know that family meals are somewhat becoming a thing of the past. When you do have a chance to have everyone sit down at the table together, make it count.

No comments: