As I See It

Where Is Miss Manners?

Where is Miss Manners when you need her?

Remember when dinning manners were taught in school as well as home? Remember when your mom use to say, “Where are your manners!” when you talked with your mouth full? Remember when it was frowned upon to lick your fingers at the dinner table?


Well, this week I’ve seen it all in a local buffet restaurant. From licking a plate, to licking fingers to licking a whole hand. I thought by the time I got out of there I would be nuts. (It wasn’t just one person, it was several adults and children.)

Do you remember the Miss Manners column in the local news paper? Everything from table manners to dating etiquette was written about. We need that column today! Bring Miss Manners back!

I remember being taught table manners in Jr. High school. Everything from how to put your napkin in your lap to which piece of flatware you used first. In fact, table manners was one of my favorite lessons.

My folks expected good dining manners at home so the Jr. High lessons were just a bit of frosting on the cake. At home, we didn’t slouch or put our elbows on the table. The proper way to cut our food with a knife was taught in our home. In other words my folks taught and expected proper table etiquette.

As I look around and see a decline in general respect, it has certainly spilled over to the dinning room, at least at the restaurant this week.

However, in perspective, more folks were on top of their dinner manners that day than were not. Most adults and children were respectful and showed excellent table etiquette. Thanks goodness.

It was a reminder to me to be aware of my own table etiquette and general respect for myself and others. Teaching table manners begins at home and example is the best teacher. I don’t want my grands witnessing poor manners and table etiquette from me.

Just a little rant for today.

Til Later,

Kathy Griffiths

P.S. Are you Miss or Mr. Manners in your home? I bet you are!

As I See It

Cell Phones & Text Messages Aren’t For Real

Yesterday, my cell phone went South. I just purchased my phone two months ago… and it froze while I was calling a number. Yikes! I immediately ran to the Verizon Store for assistance. By the time I got there… the phone battery was dead. They thought it might be the fact that I needed to update the software… so, I left it there for an hour while Verizon did the job.

Upon my arrival back to the Verizon Store, I discovered that my phone was a dud (something that occasionally happens) and they replaced the phone… no questions asked. I love that kind of service.

However, getting the new phone took a bit of time… (like an hour.) While they packaged up the old phone and did their thing on the computer, it gave me plenty of time to sit, and watch people. Very interesting.

The Verizon store was very busy and their little sitting area was pack with customers waiting for various services to be completed. Those folks without phones were milling about looking at new phones and visiting with each other. I watched a couple of total strangers strike up a conversation about BYU football. Another gal commented on a cute baby that a new mom was holding. In a minute they were sharing baby experiences.

On the other hand… those who still had their phone in their hands were texting, or talking to someone on their cell, even though they were just a foot or two away from another person. There were two guys, who apparently had come in together but, they spoke very few words to each other because both were busy text messaging someone else.

All this reminded me of an article I read in a magazine a few month ago, warning parents of the dangers of technology dependence. It warned parents of the growing number of young people, who lack the ability to communication one on one, face to face…due to Internet Social forums and text chats. It warned of virtual relationships…(virtual means: almost or simulation of the real thing.)

It’s easy to hide behind a computer or phone and have an “almost relationship.” If your relationship is “almost,” you don’t have to take much responsibility to keep the relationship alive… or real… just turn off the computer or hang up the phone of you don’t like what’s going on.

Now, I not ready to give up the internet, nor my phone. They’ve been a blessing in my life. (I don’t do the text thing. It seems like waste of time for me because my fingers don’t move fast enough to make it worth my time.)

However, I can certainly take a look at my own real relationships. I ask myself… Do I miss the opportunity to really get to know someone standing next to me in line at the bank because I’m chatting to my daughter on my phone? Do I spend too much time on line with virtual relationships when I could be developing new face to face friendships?

This is certainly not just a issue for the youth… but for tech minded adults too.

Lots of food for thought.

Till later

Kathy Griffiths

Insightful Nana

P.S. I have met lots of nice folks on line… which really makes me want to meet them in person. The virtual thing just isn’t enough. There is something to be said for face to face relationships for sure.


Good Table Manners & Kids

Teaching kids good table manners can be a challenge if your wait until you’re at a friends house or a restaurant to in engage in dining etiquette lessons. Bad manners are develop at home and can show up at the most inconvenient time.

However, being one who likes to lick her fingers when eating the Colonel’s Chicken… or Goodwood’s ribs… I can’t be too hard on the kids. (Just how can you eat BQ ribs without licking your fingers?) But… there’s a time and place.. right? Come to think of it… I can’t think of a time and place where I wouldn’t lick my fingers if I were eating ribs. Hmmm… perhaps the White House?

Back to table manners… Training children to have table etiquette begins at home a little at a time…and considering the child’s age. Here’s a few table manners they need to know. These are probably the most obvious to others when they’re not kept. Helping your kids in these areas might save you and your child a little embarrassment…. You know… for when the in-laws come… or your dining at the White House.

1. Elbows On The Table: During the Middle ages, trestle tables were use and the diners sat on one side close to the fire… keeping their backsides warm. If they leaned on the table with their elbows, the table would collapse and dinner would be in their laps… So goes the tradition of “No Elbows On The Table.” Today, however, putting elbows on the table doesn’t leave much room for the person sitting next to you. So it’s best if you keep your elbows off the table and be considerate of your neighbor.

2. Don’t Talk With Your Mouth Full: Now just how do you talk during a meal with out food in your mouth? Get real! It would be a pretty quiet dinner conversation if you had to wait until your mouth was empty before you could talk. The secret is… don’t over stuff your mouth with food. Take small bites so you won’t choke and you can talk to someone while you still have a bit of food in your mouth.

3. Chew With Your Mouth Closed:
Good idea. Do the best you can.. no one like to see half eaten food. Sometimes we’re not as careful as we should be when we’re in a hurry. Best thing to do is slow down a bit.

4. Don’t Eat With Your Fingers: Unless… it’s ribs, of course…or chicken or food that is meant to be eaten with fingers. If your meal consists of finger foods, provide lots of napkins. Cutting food into small pieces will encourage your child to use utensils. (At last try to keep the finger licking to a minimum if your eating ribs.)

5. Don’t Burb at the Table:
If you slip… say, “Excuse me!” However, in some cultures burping is considered a way of showing the host your appreciation for a good meal. (When I was in China… there seemed to be a lot of burping going on… and no one seemed to mind. For me… I kept mine to myself.)

6. Use a Napkin: Wiping your mouth frequently is the trick. If you spill, wipe it up the best you can. Small children sometimes have a hard time with napkins. Help from parents is frequently necessary. (I swear… sometimes I have a hard time keeping food off my abundant Italian chest… so I really sympathize with kids in the spilling area.)

7. Say, Please And Thank You:
Get in the habit of saying, “Please” and “Thank You.” These are probably the number one rules of good table manners in any culture. Often… when we’re in a hurry… those words are easily forgotten.


8. Set A Good Example:
Setting a good example is probably the best teaching tool you have. As you can see by the above suggestions… they apply to us as well as our kids. As you already know… kids watch adults very carefully. Often times kids reflect our own behavior when they’re in public. I know I’ve been caught more than a few times… “Oh my gosh… just who did they learn that from?”

9. Explain The Rules:
Often time, correction is made by the parent and the child doesn’t understand the “why.” Explain “why” certain etiquette is appropriate in our culture. “Son, when you put your elbows on the table, it doesn’t leave much room for your sister.”

10. Make Your Meal A Pleasant Time:
Lecturing kids will turn them off to good manners, plus make the meal unpleasant. The best teaching method is “making suggestions” rather than nagging or putting a child down. They’ll come along if your patient and kind. They just might surprise you at the restaurant with good dining etiquette.

Good Luck… and I’ll be watching you at the restaurant with your kids… as you’ll be watching me with my grandkids. Let’s be kind to each other.

Till Later

Kathy Griffiths
Insightful Nana

P.S. Now for the issues of fighting among siblings, spilling milk, falling off the chair, whining about what’s served… you’re on your own. These are areas where I could use a few suggestions.