Etiquette is becoming a lost art--whether we're honking in traffic, hanging up on telemarketers or forgetting to say a simple "thank you" it seems the busier we get the more we forget to practice good manners and courtesy.
In an effort to help my children learn better manners I came up with a system of "A Manner of Month" that we've implemented off and on as our children have grown. Each month we focus on one manner--one aspect of courtesy--which we practice throughout the month.
It is usually a table manner that can be practiced at the dinner table when we are all together at meal time though sometimes it's telephone etiquette, writing thank you notes, how to greet someone, opening doors for others or saying "excuse me."
For example, we might focus on the following:
January--boys seating girls at the table
February--napkins on laps
March--chewing with closed mouths
Map--asking to be excused
June--thanking the preparer or host
July--waiting until all are finished before leaving the table
August--no elbows on the table
September--not complaining about the food
October--saying "please" and "thank you"
November--using the correct utensils
December--not reaching across the table
Or any number of other aspects of proper behavior. While you still might be shocked at what goes on at our dinner table, in my defense I can say that if you could see us now, just think how bad it would be if we hadn't done anything! It could always be worse . . . and they're a work in progress.
The goal is to some day be able to learn that they were seen eating in a public place and be embarrassed--for them to participate in a meal at someone's home without their host wondering if they were raised by wolves. It could happen . . .
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