Wednesday, May 11, 2011

"Heads up! Table 4 blew their nose in the linen napkin!!" - Table Manners

Lord help me my child will never be THAT person who does disgusting things like this, nor should yours be!!

Table manners are something that, as I have witnessed in my many years of waiting tales and generally working with the public whilst they eat their food, have gone to the wayside.  Have the collective "We" really forgotten (or Heaven forbid never been taught) how to use a fork and knife properly, or how to sit at a table, or to not use our napkin as a snot rag? 

I am here to ask that we, as people of culture, take the time to teach our kids (and our adult friends who haven't been taught any better) proper table manners.  Now, I'm not asking that we need to carry cheater cards with Emily Post's signature To Do's printed in illegibly small type, but I am asking that we place our napkins on our laps, USE them on our hands when soiled so as to not dirty our glasses when we drink from them, chew then speak, say our pleases and thank yous, and push the chair in when we leave the table.  These are not unattainable goals for the general public.  I know this because my 2.5 year old knows all of the above and will put to shame (sadly) many of the people I am obliged to serve from day to day.

I started teaching Lorelei the do's and don'ts of table manners as soon as she was sitting up in her high chair.  I thought I was doing a good job of it until one day, just a couple of months after she had started daycare at 18-months old, she took her napkin and placed it in her lap before she started her meal.  I wish I could take credit for this brilliant behavior, but it was the co-director of the daycare, Miss Pat, who insists that the "young ladies and gentlemen in her school will behave as such."

When she said this to me I could have kissed her. 

Since witnessing the revelation that a 1.5-year old can properly place her napkin in her lap, I have drastically ramped up the 'rules of the table' and have seen so much amazing improvement on Lorelei's part. 

What is striking to me is that these are complex rules, i.e. napkin on the lap, don't bang your silverware, saying please and thank you when you ask for/get something, even saying Grace or 'Cheers' with your juice glass.  If a little kid of Lorelei's age (now 2.5) can get this, how on earth is it so hard for grown-ups? 

Anyhoo... that's my rant for the night.  Please don't be that guy/gal in the restaurant, and please oh please don't set your kid(s) up to be either.

Mom's Tip
You will get way better service in a restaurant when your kids are with you if they prove within the first minute that they will be well behaved and somewhat pleasant. 


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