The Power of Discipline

Discipline. As a child, it’s hard to understand the importance of not despising discipline, much less liking it and realizing its importance. However, our world lacks so much of discipline. I’m sure it’s because it’s not something that comes instantly after one try. There is much value to be found in waiting. Discipline, itself, is often described as an artform.

Etiquette requires discipline. Similarly, it requires restraint. One of the biggest mistakes someone could make is to confuse meekness for weakness. It takes quite a bit of strength to have control over oneself – control over how you think, what you eat, how you feel, how you respond.

Once we lose the victim’s mentality of thinking everything is happening to us, we come to understand the power we have over ourselves and, thus, our situations.

I appreciate and understand how much etiquette helps with discipline. Those who understand and practice etiquette aren’t puppets. We simply know the how discipline makes us and our world better.

Sautéed Green Beans Recipe

For a very simple recipe, try my sautéed green beans! My kids love it, and it’s super fast to cook for company. The ingredients are very basic, and the process can be adapted for other veggies, such as asparagus and zucchini.

First, cut the ends off of your green beans (I used about 3/4 of a pound).

Slice half of a sweet onion into thin half moons.

Next, mince up a clove of garlic.

Smashing the head of garlic

In a skillet, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. My favorite comes from Olive Paris!

Add in the onions to cook, sprinkling in a pinch of salt. Cook about 5 minutes.

Once the onions are translucent, add the green beans.

Give them about a minute just to get a teensy bit of color on the green beans before adding in one tablespoon of butter.

Next, add the garlic.

If you add the garlic too early, it will burn. Stir to combine and cover to fully cook green beans. Stir every couple of minutes for 10 minutes. Sprinkle in a pinch of salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Reader Q&A – Advice on Dishes

Reader Question: I have been looking at china patterns for our home. It can be a little overwhelming, so I was hoping to see what advice you may have. How many sets do you recommend? What parts of each place setting are necessary? I’m actually looking to replace our everyday dishes, since several pieces have been broken or chipped, in addition to have a set of china. Currently we own no china. We’ve been married for nearly five years, so I’m obviously not doing a registry and will just purchase as we can afford. Thank you!

Answer: It truly can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! As fun as it can be to have every piece made, it just isn’t that practical. For china I recommend a minimum of eight sets – more if you tend to entertain at the holidays, which is when the china will likely be used. For everyday dishes, 12 sets would be more ideal. Many everyday sets are sold as a set as opposed to individual pieces. The most common set includes a dinner plate, salad/dessert plate, bowl and coffee cup. These would be the most basic pieces you need. I enjoy having a bread plate and saucer for the coffee cup, as well. I’ve never found the need for both a dinner plate and a luncheon plate. For my china, I have the same pieces. Each year for my birthday or Christmas, I’ll accumulate more pieces, like a butter dish, serving bowl, etc. The ones I highly recommend would be a butter dish, two serving bowls, large platter and salt & pepper shakers. I have other pieces that I enjoy but don’t consider necessary, such as fruit bowls, asparagus dish, baking dishes for my everyday set, batter bowl, etc. My best advice is to get the type and amount of dishes that suit your lifestyle!

Reader Q&A

Reader Question: I was recently invited to dinner by my boss to celebrate my upcoming graduation from college. I have had to work while going to school, and I have a young son, so money is tight. I was happy to accept the dinner invitation. My husband planned to stay home with our son to help limit the money spent. However, my boss recently decided to change restaurant locations, and we truly cannot afford the new restaurant. I know that, per etiquette, I shouldn’t decline once I have accepted an invitation. I can’t put my family in financial harm, though. Is there an exception to the rule since the game was changed? Thank you!

Answer: Absolutely. First and foremost, congratulations on your upcoming graduation! You can tell by your letter that you have your priorities straight, and I truly admire that. The rule of not changing your response when accepted is for times when it’s simply that something more appealing comes up. In truth, your boss should treat you to dinner since the dinner is to celebrate you. You are the guest of honor. It it completely acceptable to let him/her know that the new restaurant choice isn’t in the family budget but that you appreciate his support of your graduation. He/she may affirm their intent to pay for your meal. If not, they may at least change back to the original location. I appreciate your question, as it helps highlight the importance of everyone (your boss, in this case) knowing how etiquette plays a role

As an aside, I think it is very important to highlight the importance understanding etiquette plays in not putting someone in an awkward situation. I encourage wording such as, “I would love to treat you to dinner to celebrate…” in order to let the other person know your intent, as, unfortunately, not everyone knows that when they invite someone to dinner, they should also pay.

Reader Q&A – Wrong Number

Dear Etiquette By Emily – I have a question regarding receiving a call from a wrong number. I usually just hang up after I say, “wrong number.” My wife, though, said that it’s rude to do that. I guess part of my question is, what else is there to say? What else should I do?

A – Thank you for reaching out! While I don’t think your wife is expecting you to have a full-blown conversation with a stranger on the phone, I do think a little more dialogue would be appropriate. Instead of simply hanging up, saying, “No, I’m sorry. This is the wrong number,” and THEN giving them a chance to say something such as a goodbye or an apology would be more tactful.

Also, if you are the one who dials someone incorrectly, it is always appropriate to give a generic apology and to say goodbye. Kindness goes both ways, and it goes a long way, too!