While we all know that ‚ÄúYes, Ma‚Äôam‚Äù and ‚ÄúNo, Sir‚Äù should be a regular part of everyone‚Äôs vocabulary, manners are a product of respect. Teens and adults can make life much easier on themselves if they would simply use their manners. Table manners, phone manners, and other useful manners make life more pleasant.
We once took a friend of my son‚Äôs to dinner with us at a pizzeria. He asked us if we liked seafood. ‚ÄúOh, yes!‚Äù we replied. Then he opened his mouth and showed us the chewed up contents it contained.
‚ÄúSee, seafood! Get it?‚Äù This is NOT the way to behave when you are out with your friend‚Äôs parents for dinner.
You don‚Äôt have to sign up for charm school to learn good table manners. Simply sit upright with both feet on the ground. You should already know not to chew with your mouth open or put your elbows on the table. There may come a day when you attend a special dinner. If you learn good table manners now and put them to use every day, you can get through any social dinner without embarrassing yourself, or worse, your date.
When families don‚Äôt dine together, it is tough for our kids to learn good manners. It all starts in the home. Start having dinner together as often as possible. We served dinner at 7:00 p.m. and we expected the kids to be there. If they didn‚Äôt help with serving dinner, then they helped with the cleanup before they could disappear again into their rooms or off to another approved activity. Dinner preparation and cleanup did not count as chores. Don‚Äôt nag your teens about their manners; instead, compliment them on the good manners they do use. If someone burps at the table, don‚Äôt laugh or try to out-burp them; simply explain that in our society burping is considered rude. Have a social dinner. Invite friends and relatives over for meals so your teens can practice their manners. What you want your teens to learn from the experience is manners, sharing, and conversation.
Try taking the family out to a nice restaurant for dinner, one where you can hold a chair for someone to sit, rather than a fast-food restaurant where the chairs are bolted to the floor. Teach them to properly hold a fork and to use a knife. Teach them how to use the appropriate silverware.
1. First the little fork for salad, then the big fork for dinner.
2. A butter knife is for butter, not for cutting meat.
3. You are supposed to cut up your meat one bite at a time and rest your sharp knife on the edge of the plate between bites.
4. You stab food with the tines of your fork; you don‚Äôt use your fork like a shovel.
5. The super-long-handled spoon is for iced tea, the biggest spoon is for soup, and the smaller one is for dessert.
6. Put your napkin in your lap and actually use it instead of your pants leg.
7. Cover your nose and mouth and turn away from the table if you must sneeze or cough. While many experts say it is okay to blow your nose at the table, I think you should excuse yourself from the dinner table to handle this bodily function in private.
8. Don‚Äôt begin eating until everyone is seated.
9. Never reach across the table. Ask for the item to be passed to you. When someone asks you to pass the butter, don‚Äôt throw it the length of the table like a football.
10. Don‚Äôt chew with your mouth open.
Good table manners begin with these ten easy rules and make the meal more enjoyable for everyone.