In a day and age filled with fast food dining and other meals consumed on the living room coffee table, I grew up in a different time. My mother and father were rigid about a number of things, but few things had my attention more than at meal times.
With the exception of breakfast (which I frequently missed due to over sleeping) meal times were important times in the Denzler home. The mid-1970’s were a time prior to microwave ovens and in a time when if you missed dinner, there were no do-overs (or warm ups) – breakfast would be served at 7 a.m. the next morning.
My parents painstakingly taught my brother, sister and me table manners.
At the dinner table, I sat to my father’s right. Numerous attempts on his part were made to explain me that no one eats until the entire family is seated and then not before the prayer was followed with other insightful words of wisdom such as “sit up straight and don’t slouch” and “quit resting your arm on the table, Frank.” A final lesson was that we could not get up until we were excused from the table.
After failing to gain my attention, my father would reach over and I’d get thumped right upside the head, much to the glee of my younger brother and sister, who would immediately follow my father’s suggestions to the letter. It may have helped that they were out of his reach!
Those lessons that I came to understand early on (with a few refresher thumps along the way) regarding table manners must be a thing of the past in some households. They must be dead, or at the very least, must be dying a little with each passing generation.
It may seem as if I am standing on my soapbox, but it has been my finding that kids need to not only be taught right from wrong, but also to be taught manners.