Monday, March 22, 2010

Soapbox 3- Eating Together as a Family

So I recently had the opportunity to speak at a moms' group in The Woodlands (Texas). Among the many, many, many points I made while there, I got up on my soapbox about not only the importance of sitting down at the dinner table together as a family in general, but how this is the perfect time to teach (and model) table manners for your children. The main point I made was that it drives me crazy to see parents reprimanding their children out in public restaurants when I know damn well they aren't being taught table manners at home. How on earth can you scold your children out and about when they aren't even taught in your own home? And you must be consistent. Children don't have the cognitive ability to discern that they don't have to use their manners at home or the lake house but they do have to while in public or at a friend's house. It has to be consistent if you're going to be successful in "training them up" the proper way. The way you will be proud of.

While speaking, I surprised even myself at my very kind of 1950's view of the woman's responsibility to provide dinner for her family each night. I didn't say to cook it per say, but to provide it. And if that means you have your husband pick something up on his way home, then you can set the table for a nice, leisure sit-down dinner as a family. There are no excuses in my book. None. Trust me. Some of these women tried to give me some and I didn't hear one I agreed with. I know our lives are busy these days, but it is OUR responsibility to slow it down when necessary to facilitate the moments that actually matter in our family culture.


  1. I wanted to state that after I spoke, a mom who was in the audience emailed and said she went home and did some serious "manners boot camp" while eating dinner as a family. One of her kids responded to this new environment as "manners on steroids." Mission accomplished. Wink.

  2. Hey Leya,
    Love your blog! I thought I would tell you about what my parents did to teach us manners. We played "pass the pig." We had a little plastic pig that joined us for family dinners and if anyone was spotted eating with their mouth open or with elbows on the table, etc., they got the pig on their place mat. Whoever had the pig at the end of the meal had to clear the table. It was a fun way to learn basic etiquette and we will certainly play "pass the pig" in our home!
    Take care!
    Kristen (Short) Bennett