So why a family meal and why manners? Aren’t family meals impossible and manners out dated? First of all, I think the family meal is of paramount importance to the raising of good kids. It might be difficult to schedule, but it is in our best interest to make family meals a priority. Research indicates “children who participate in family mealtimes are less likely to be obese, commit suicide, drink, smoke, do drugs, or engage in pre-marital sexual relationships. They are more likely to get a balanced diet, they do better academically, they are less stressed, they report having a better self esteem, and they are more likely to confide in a parent when they have a problem.” (Lynnae W. Allred). No dance class or soccer practice can boast those same results.
Now why teach manners? I think that it is important for children to learn restraint, self-control and respect. Manners help do this. When you wait for everyone to be served before you begin eating, you are learning to delay gratification. You are showing respect for others at the table. In a world of cell phones, instant messaging, on demand movies, fast food, etc. we rarely have to wait anymore for anything. This “give it to me now” world has made us impatient and selfish and I see it in the children too. A comedian said it best as he mocked the impatience people display when they can’t get their cell phone connection right away: He jokes, “it’s going to space…give it a second”. Watch it here. Love, love, love that clip.
Any way, I’ll get off my soap box now. But you will find that, for better or worse, I put a lot of reason and thought behind my parenting.