Monday, January 4, 2010

My take on Manners

Have you ever tried to do things differently in your family and it actually worked?

We had this experience yesterday.
My 2 oldest sons, Brock and Logan, along with their children and their Arizona grandparents came for dinner. That's 17 people.

My 7 year old granddaughter Elora made place tags for everyone. Even the twins.

So right after we had prayer, I explained that we are going to do things a little differently now. I explained that their grandparents were our "honorary guests" so they would be first in the buffet line. Then the mothers, Erin and Amy, followed by the girls, and then the boys. Den and I since we were the "hosts", we would go last.

At first I heard someone say, "Why do the girls get to go first?" I explained "Because boys want to protect the girls and take care of them, so the boys want to make sure the girls get their food first."

Growing up I thought my mother was the best person on the face of this earth. But I also saw her as not having feelings of her own. I thought her sole purpose was to take care of us. So this is partly why I think the Moms should be served before the children. I think they need to notice their Moms and show respect for them. Old fashioned as that may sound.

My favorite part of the evening was this:
At one point Chandler thought his sisters were finished getting their food, so he got in line to get his. Well turns out Laurynn came back in the line because she forgot something. She said something like, "Remember Chandler, girls are first." Chandler quickly jumped back behind her and said,
"Oh I am so sorry. I am really sorry."
And he did not say it sarcastically or jokingly at all. He was just really determined to do the right thing. What a sweet boy he is!

I happened to get a picture of Laurynn and Chandler
right before he realized his "mistake."

The lighting is all wrong on this picture too
but you can see the general idea of how it was last night.

Sometimes I think we fail somewhat as a society
teaching our children manners.
For example, on several occasions lately at church, I have noticed teenage boys filling up chairs while women are standing by holding babies. Or older women walk into the room.
These are really good boys, because I know them.
They just don't seem to know any better.
I can sort of understand why they might feel funny giving their chair to a girl their same age, but how can several guys all be sitting and talking and relaxing
as women are standing near by with no empty chairs?
Shouldn't we be teaching our boys these simple courtesies?
Has anyone else noticed this?
Am I the only one bothered by this?


Tom and Karen Mortensen said...

I love this Jill. I have noticed all of this too. People, in general, just don't have good manners any more like they used to. It is kind of sad. We really need to get back to that. Thanks for the reminder.

Richard said...

I will come to your house for dinner anytime and happily eat last, first, or whenever there's a break.

grandmapeg said...

What a nice idea to have your boys' grandparents be the honored guests, and then you followed in order of what I think is a very good idea. I have noticed a lack of manners in the youth all the years that my kids were in junior high and high school and up to the present time. I remember as a leader trying to teach our youth groups in church the proper manners and I hope it helped but I think it needs to be taught at home and in school. Anyway, it this was a nice post.

The Gage Cage said...

What a cool tradition and a worthwhile lesson! I think a lot of the way boys learn to be good men is to see their fathers being chivalrous to their mothers and sisters. Society as whole is WAY to casual for my taste. I have to admit, I'm not perfect at letting Paul be's faster to get out of the car myself... I really need to do a better job at teaching our kids manners! It's worth the inconvenience! I also think it makes the men feel like REAL MEN. Good manners go beyond "please" and "thank you". Thanks for this post Jill. I'm sure Paul will read this and have a little talk with his young men...that just don't realize...

Mary said...

I agree that often we as mothers are more like the family "martyrs" than the respected matriarchs we ought to be. We feel guilty if we go first or take the last chicken breast or whatever. We want to serve, not be served. However, as my children got older I started working on shattering their perception that I was put on this earth to wait on them. It's starting to pay off nicely! They seem to enjoy doing nice things for me, which allows me to reciprocate without feeling it's expected. They don't always notice when they should do something "chivalrous" for others, but we're getting there!

lindsay lark said...

I LOVE chivalry/good manners. Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong generation. At work, even the men that have Alzheimer's often hold the door for me- now if only I could find one my own age that would do the same thing:)

Susan Rozier said...

Jill, We whole heartedly agree with you and all the comments. Of course we do--we're the oldest people alive at any dinners we go to and therefore get to go first! However, Richard has a good point--we'd go last just to have your good cooking. Yes! This should be taught at home to the young people. Love, Dad and Susan

the Rich girl said...

You know, Tyler and I have talked about this several times. He's mentioned the lack of respect that many missionaries seem to have when they come into the MTC, which leads to poor manners.

One thing that I noticed my freshman year here at BYU, is that 90% of men would open a door for me (and other women), even if it meant going totally out of their way to do so.

In fact, I got pretty used to it. When I went home over the following summer, there was at least one or two instances where I forgot that I was in a different world and began waiting for men to open the door for me, only to realize that they weren't planning on getting the door in the first place.

I guess my point is this: it's nice to be treated like a lady.

Jill said...

This also tells me Karen that those really nice boys in our ward do grow up a bit more by the time they go to college and then know how to treat a woman. Thanks, that was encouraging....90% at BYU...not bad!

Rebecca said...

I have always taught my boys "old-fashioned" manners. From an early age they learned to open doors for me and other ladies.

Sue said...

I HAVE noticed this, Jill. I've been in places where young men have been sitting in chairs even though there were pregnant women standing. It's so different than when I was having my children. Every man or boy always jumped up to offer me a chair. They always used to offer seats on busses, subways and elevated trains, too. Not so, these days.

What I notice now is that other women are the ones offering the pregnant women their seats!

Luke and Nat said...

I'm so excited to teach my little boy...someday boys...good is so cute to see a little boy, even 2 yrs old, trying to hold the door open for his mom at church. It equates into good manners/morals/values when they are older...hopefuly boys that learn to respect their moms/sisters and have manners aren't the ones being morally unclean when they are in college and on their own...and can set good examples for their roommates/companions!

Dorothy said...

You hit the nail on the head and yes I agree with you and my mom always taught us to be fair and considerate and when there was company never have seconds that's for the guest..I love the old traditions they are healthy and wise and make really great adults..


Dorothy from grammology

Logan said...

I just want to say I love this! It was such a treat to be served first for once. You and Dad were such great hostess! I think it so important to teach our children these simple acts of kindness. Thanks again for such a wonderful evening.

darlene said...

Great idea, Jill!
Please check your email again as I have an important question to ask you!

Eileen said...

Yes, Jill, I've noticed that, I've long ago given up on men/boys giving seats to women of any age on the subway and/or buses (although a few do surprise me once in awhile!), but it does shock me to see men/boys seated while elderly and women with babies are standing! I give my seat to them!
On Christmas Eve the priest actually asked young people to let the elderly sit! You would think they wouldn't have to be told! And I grabbed Jayden up and told an elderly lady to sit in his place (and Jayden cried! Not loud or obnoxious crying, just quiet tears, he was hurt, but when I explained it to him after Mass he was okay about it).

Anyway, I loved this post! Your home looks so nice and welcoming, and your family is beautiful! I almost always serve buffet style because we usually have a big crowd and I always announce 'adults first'! But I like your idea better!

I've missed so many posts here! I'm off to read the others!
All the best,

Brock said...

I appreciate chivalry and I love when a male extends his seat or opens a door, but I don't think it is because they need to protect females. I think it should have more to do with honoring them.