PASSIONs part II
Do you remember when your parents taught you something that perhaps you really weren’t interested in or cared about at the time? You heard a final thought and knew it was coming “You might not appreciate it now but you will when you get older!” My parents did just that and one of these “somethings” was the skill and attention and habit of TABLE MANNERS.
I’m not saying I was a hard headed, thick skulled, or a snotty nose brat. I was a good kid, I always wanted to obey and follow the rules and my parents knew how to instill them, it was a technique called FEAR! Lol!
Yep, I mean I heard from my mother “wear clean underwear every day in case you get into an accident”! I think maybe, just maybe if I did get into a accident I probably wouldn’t have clean underwear so what was the point? But that fear of “in case” got me and you bet, to this day, you got it, I’m always in “clean underwear” (as if I’d wear unclean??) anyway… Another thing was “Do your chores and go the extra mile, what if Jesus Christ was to walk in this house”
It’s now with the “what if’s”… well, I certainly don’t want The Savior seeing a messy room, how embarrassing! So, I always did my chores, and went the extra mile! I did learn how awesome a clean house is, especially if you’ve been in and seen a messy one!
Classics from my dad were “Don’t slouch, you’ll be a hunchback”, “Don’t get too close to the T.V. You’ll end up cross eyed” “Don’t swallow watermelon seeds, they will grow in your stomach”, and we would get warnings or PSA reminders like “Remember, only you can prevent forest fires”, and “Never take wooden Nickels”. I seemed to always check my change after that, making sure it was all shiny.
The list goes on, so much to process and take in but never a dull moment growing up, and I am grateful for many of the messages that my parents passed along my way, especially “manners”.
Here is a interesting fact: Fortune 500 CEO’s will take a potential hire out to eat to secretly observe their manners. That potential candidate could not get hired simply because they totally suck at the table. Sorry for my harshness but come on, an adult who doesn’t know, or doesn’t value table manners, that’s pretty sad and not to mention… gross!
Forbes put out an article called Dining Etiquette: The Business Meal As A Test Of Character by Rob Asghar.
This among hundreds of other articles shares a quite similar perspective as mine, check them out before heading to your next big meal (or trying to impress a date, or your spouse)!
I did my best teaching my kids table manners. I even enrolled my young sons in a table etiquette class. The class was run by a well to do elderly woman, so proper, so poised. My boys were the only guys among a dozen young ladies and they were so upset with me for making them go. But I wanted them to truly embrace table etiquette, after all they were getting a full meal and snacks along the way. I just knew that after the course I’d have little sweet proper table manners boys on a whole new level!
It was an exciting moment, I arrived after the class and it was like the teacher wanted to murder me with her eyes, her face said it all. That’s what I thought, then I looked at my boys and they looked back at me (a little red in the face) and I just knew that it wasn’t a pleasant experience for her. I looked back at her and felt obligated to ask “How did they do?” I looked at my oldest and he just shook his head, my younger son looked up and all around, oh no…
She said “these are the worst students I’ve ever had, don’t bring them back!” I said, let’s go kids.
In my head I was laughing I only wish I was a fly on the wall. I didn’t say anything and they were quiet until we got in the car then my oldest son said “Mom, that class was so stupid, she made us drink tea from a cup and saucer and stick our pinky out then made us wipe the corner of our mouth by dabbing the napkin on our face”. He said they looked at each other and laughed and giggled at many things and did their best! Anyway, I tried, I’m sure she tried too. At least if one day they have tea and crumpets with the Queen, they will know how to behave!
Now days it’s teaching my step kids (and their father, my husband) this thing, this passion of mine called “table manners” that I’ve come to learn isn’t always taught in the home, therefore not reinforced. It’s a uphill battle, but a worthy one indeed, because just like my Parents told me “you’ll appreciate it when your older!”
I ran my martial arts school seems like forever, and my business has much to do with etiquette, like table manners. Etiquette in MA is like saying Yes sir, Yes mam’, No Sir, No mam’, please, thank you, May I, excuse me, pardon me, I’m sorry, accepting things with 2 hands, waiting your turn, showing respect, cleanliness, and discipline.
Successful leaders want their hires with the utmost etiquette, after all they are a reflection of that business and Likewise every single person is a reflection of their parents or those that raised them when it comes to things like this. I enjoy teaching etiquette in cultivating that into my martial art program I believe they go hand-in-hand!
How important was table manners in your household?
In mine it was WILDLY IMPORTANT. My dad mainly taught them and he shared how important it was when he grew up and I didn’t really understand it all that much as a young child but as I grew up I became to see the importance. As an adult “OH MY GOSH” it’s crazy, super, especially important!
Its also important to set a good example for table manners, it’s definitely obvious when you see others who have none! You’re not ever going to offend me if you’re not politically correct because I certainly am not myself but somehow I get offended when it comes someone having bad table manners. If I don’t know you I’ll turn the other cheek, but if I know you, I might just all the sudden look all walleyed (and maybe silently gag).
Why is this I ponder…
The dinner table is my refuge, my happy place, one of my passions and one of the monumental moments in a lifespan! The meal and it’s colors, it’s variety, it’s presentation, it’s aroma, it’s taste, it’s company, it’s time and preparation are all a beautiful thing to be had, not just savor the flavor but savor the moment!
But all that can be ruined by bad or lack of table manners (in my humble opinion).
Table manners shows etiquette, it shows dignity, it shows respect and honor, it’s shows consideration. Table manners is appreciated and I think table manners is sexy! Is sexy the right word? Perhaps table manners is attractive, and to me that’s sexy. James Bond has good table manners, he makes eating dinner look classy. The Blues Brothers, they make eating dinner, well, trashy (funny, but trashy).
Classy or trashy, sexy and attractive “Table Manners” is truly one of the things I am passionate about. Might be odd, you might not think anything of it but when you have three square meals a day and share table time with family and others it truly is part of your life and something that I tend to cherish, hence one of my my passions!
So please, indulge me for a moment and I ask with utmost passion to make manners important. For yourself, your kids, your loved ones. Ask not what manners can do for you but what you can do with manners!
I’m using the word important because table manners ARE important. Let me break down some of these right here, some big ones to know, to follow, to embrace and appreciate.
I’ll list the opposite on the 2nd list and try not to gag while writing that one. Let’s say you were raised without ever being taught table manners, and therefore didn’t teach your kids table manners, then this is a “How To” good helpmate or even a good reminder start for you and yours:)
GOOD TABLE MANNERS
- When silverware is not in your mouth, rest that WRIST on the table, keep your other hand in your LAP.
- Keep a napkin ON your lap.
- Wipe your mouth periodically with your NAPKIN, if you happen to overload your silverware or perhaps miss your mouth, your napkin will catch the food/drink.
- Keep your lips closed, completely closed, all the way closed when you chew.
- Swallow your food completely.
- Sit upright in your chair, legs in front of the table, both feet on the ground.
- Use silverware to cut and scoop up your food.
- Pick up your glass/drink with your hand.
- When you want to pause, put your silverware down on your plate.
- Enjoy your food and the digestive process, talk before and after your meal.
- Be polite, courteous and complementary to your host, or your mother and especially your spouse.
- Eat when the food is served.
- Exception to the rule is little ones, they get a pass because obviously they are precious angels! They will continue to learn as they are taught. But Ohhhh so cute watching them learn!
POOR TABLE MANNERS (bad table manners aka gross)
- Placing your forearms on the table as if your doing a plank. Or placing your elbows on the table like you want to arm wrestle or placing your hands on the table like your about to get a manicure, all that is way too much body to be near someone’s plate of food, gross germs, arm hair, dirt in nails, etc.
- It is simply inevitable that food will dab on your lips, possibly splash on your chin or cheek, even drop, like mentioned above. This is what a napkin is for, it is there in a “out of sight” but not out of mind spot (on your lap) to pick up and use and replace. Don’t leave your napkin next to your plate and rub your hand over the top of it, or have a wiped mouth stain for all to see (yuck).
- “Smacking”, besides fingernails on a chalkboard, smacking by far has to be one of the worst sounds a human can possibly make! Do not smack your food, it makes people’s ears melt, makes others want to gag, nobody wants to hear your lips slapping together and food sloshing/digesting, that’s personal, keep it to your self. This includes how you chew your gum folks (lips together).
- Another no-no is nobody wants to see ABC food! ABC stands for “already been chewed“ food. When you open your mouth to say something at the dinner table nobody wants to see particles of partially digested food on your tongue or even have a morsel of your food ricochet out of your mouth and smack them in the eyeball, nobody appreciate you sharing your food that way visually or physically. My personal opinion this right here and smacking are probably two of the worst bad table manners, i’m starting to get sick just thinking about it:/
- There is a time and place for everything and since it is dinner time breakfast time or lunchtime that means it’s time to sit for a spell hunker down and enjoy your meal. Sitting sideways or halfway in your chair or your feet up in your chair just isn’t right are you just interested in eating somewhat? where is the fire? Stretch later.
- Your plate isn’t lick-able wall paper from Willy Wonka, don’t lick your plate, don’t push food with your fingers. The phrase “licked my plate clean” isn’t literal.
- I’ve watched my step-kids grab their cups with their mouths and lift and drink, then spill it all over self, the table and even all over me. It’s even a boredom thing they will just grab it by mouth and roll their tongue all around in that cup like they are training for an Olympic sport. So gross. Also, no one will steal your cup. My military son holds his cup when he eats. Relax Jeff, your in a safe place, ha! But, release your cup, it stays on the table and is there when you are ready to take another drink and then place it back down, and move on.
- I have a step daughter who keeps her fork in the air just in-front of her face and bounces when she eats which makes her fork bounce which makes me nervous. I don’t want your food flying over to my plate, no thank you. Take a bite, then place your silverware down, relinquishing your attachment, bounce with Tigger later and enjoy the savor until your ready to take another bite. I also know someone who points with their utensil and uses it as if they are conducting a choir, please stop, keep it clean, thanks.
- Stop complaining geez Louise if you’d please… If you didn’t cook the meal that has been served to you, don’t complain. Be grateful, appreciative and HAPPY!! Unless your a professional food critic and your judging an entry, keep it to yourself And definitely offer to clear the table (go the extra mile) and wash dishes. Maybe it’s not your favorite meal or even The tastiest dish, still be thankful and find something nice to say, believe me your host will get it!
- Ring, Ring, Ring…that’s the dinner bell! “Come and Get It” (the voice of the Grand Ol Opry’s famous Minnie Pearl) and “dinner is ready” or “Food is in the table” stop, drop, and roll! That’s right, like your on fire!! The cook may have spent an hour or two even more in the kitchen creating a beautiful craft of a meal, so when it is served do not insult the cook by taking your time to come to the table. Post Haste, come with enthusiasm and be the first one there, you’ll make the kitchen chef so happy and even feel most appreciated!
Hope that helped, please comment with feedback and even share your manners input, I’d love to hear it!
Side note, I’ve been to Germany and Spain, I was so impressed with proper table manners and the specialness that is placed on mealtime, just love it! Bon Appetite!
I hope this little story was a good read, or a good reminder or even a good laugh! Here’s to happy delightful meals, smiles and making memorable moments!
Get ready for PASSIONs 3!