Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Manners and Morals I Endeavored to Teach My Children

I was clearing my desk this evening and found some old, hand-written pages of notes from one of my goal sessions back when the children were small. I listed things I wanted the children to learn as they were under my tutelage. I think I got them from a manners book somewhere.

  1. Always say "thank you," "excuse me," and "please" when you have been done a favor or when you are apologizing.
  2. Write a note to someone you love who has received good or bad news.
  3. Invite your least popular classmate to your party because they are probably rarely invited anywhere and it would mean so much.
  4. Be a bathroom manner expert being meticulous about tidying up and being considerate of others who use the bathroom.
  5. Be creative for a friend who is sick at home or in the hospital.
  6. Keep your noise level down when it could disturb others nearby.
  7. Don't blow bubblegum bubbles in others' faces; don't crack gum when others will hear it.
  8. Always knock and ask permission before entering someone's room.
  9. Always RSVP promptly to every invitation you receive.
  10. When your authority tells you to do something, do it cheerfully and well -- the tasks are easier and accomplished faster that way.
  11. Return anything borrowed on time and in good condition.
  12. Be on time for appointments; leave on time, too, for nothing is more boring than someone who overstays his welcome.
  13. Learn how to pay compliments. Start with the members of your family, and you will find it easier later in life to compliment others.
  14. Go up and down stairs quietly, not like a lumbering elephant.
  15. Open and shut doors softly.
  16. Don't "leave it for the next person" when an unpleasant task presents itself.
  17. Obey all signs. They have a purpose.
  18. Don't put your feet upon the furniture.
  19. Give up your seat to someone who needs it more than you do.
  20. Be a good volunteer.
  21. Don't spit, pick your teeth, fiddle with your nails, or comb your hair in public. Girls should never apply make-up in front of others.
  22. Treat books with greatest respect.
  23. Treat public property the same way.
  24. Never cheat on your place in line. At grocery store, if you have a lot of items and the person behind you has few, offer it to them.
  25. When you dial a wrong number, say, "I'm sorry, excuse me."
  26. Drive your car, ride your bike, skateboard, motorcycle, or roller skates carefully in consideration of others and to save lives.
  27. Show respect to anyone in authority from your parents to the bus driver.
Table Manners:
  1. Handle your plate of food carefully.
  2. Seat yourself close up to the table. All four legs of the chair should be on the floor at all times.
  3. Keep your attention on how you handle and chew your food.
  4. You may speak quietly as long as there is no food in your mouth.
  5. Keep your feet on the floor and your elbows off the table.
  6. Take small bites and chew slowly. Enjoy the taste of your food. Your lips should be closed as you chew quietly.
  7. Food and drink are not to play with ever.
  8. Use a paper napkin to blot your mouth, face, chin, or hands when you get food on them.
  9. Take small bites so the mouth is not full.
  10. Wipe your mouth with your napkin after drinking or taking a messy bit of food.
  11. Don't eat with your mouth full.
  12. Don't eat chicken with fingers at a dinner party with adults.
  13. Don't use a toothpick at the table.
  14. At a buffet, younger ones should go to the end of the line to allow adults to go first.
  15. A child should not sit down until the adults at his table are seated.
  16. Don't tilt the chair back, but sit up straight.
  17. Control nervous habits like drumming your fingers on the table.
  18. Unfold your dinner napkin in your lap (half fold if dinner sized, fully open if luncheon sized). At the end of the meal when everyone gets up to leave, fold the napkin neatly and lay it on the table.
  19. Take small, not pig-sized portions of favorite foods knowing that the platter can be passed again or one may go back to the buffet table.
  20. If someone passes a large serving platter, replace the utensils side by side on the platter.
  21. If the serving spoon falls into the soup or gravy, clean the handle with your own napkin.
  22. Begin eating after the host unless there is a big party where hot food is being served, then you may begin even before everyone else is served.
  23. If the child is served something he doesn't like, he will eat a little in order not to embarrass his host and will refrain from saying "I hate fish" or "I can't eat this stuff."
  24. Tilt the soup bowl away from you and spoon out even the last liquid away from yourself. Replace the spoon on the saucer, not in the bowl or cup. No slurping. (Exception #25)
  25. Select eating utensils from the outside to the middle and the next utensil for each course.
  26. Taste your food before seasoning. Do not reach across the table, but wait until you will not interrupt conversation and ask to be passed something.
  27. Do not ask for condiments for the meat dish even if you think it would taste better.
  28. Keep elbows close to the body. 
  29. When cutting, hold the fork in the left hand and knife in right hand, transferring fork to the right hand to take a bite (or remain in left hand as is an international practice).
  30. Fancy restaurants and hotels serve a finger bowl before dessert. It is a small bowl of water on a doily on a plate. Move the doily to the upper left of the plate and place the bowl on it. The plate is for dessert. Dip your finger tips in the water and wipe them on your napkin.
  31. At home, no one eats until the parents are served and begin to eat.
  32. When done with fork and knife, place them fork on left, knife on right (with blade inward) in center of plate.
  33. Leave dessert fork and spoon on dessert plate, on under plate of bowl, or in bowl if it's too big to leave room on under plate.
  34. When you've dripped something on your front, use a clean knife to scrape it off and quickly and inconspicuously dip the corner of your napkin in your water and dab at the spot.
  35. Sneeze: excuse from table, finish blowing nose in bathroom, and bring paper tissues back with you. 
  36. Food stuck in teeth: wait until after dinner if possible and fix problem in bathroom. If you can't wait, excuse yourself and do it in the bathroom.
  37. Burp: cover nose and mouth with napkin and say "excuse me" to no one in particular. If an attack of burps or hiccups overtakes you, excuse yourself until it passes.
  38. Bugs in food or drink: capture them, kill them, and fold them in your lap napkin inconspicuously.
  39. If no grace is said, say yours quietly to yourself. Offer grace at your own table and always follow the customs of the home in which you are a guest.
  40. At home, when you are finished eating, throw your paper napkin away, scrape your plate into the garbage or compost, and place your dishes and eating utensils carefully into the sink.
  41. Ask permission before leaving the table.
 I think I could use a brush up on a few of these myself. *sigh*

Can you think of any others you would add to the list or ways you would improve on those I found?