The most commonly asked question I get from parents is “how do I make my kids behave at a restaurant?” There isn’t a magic pill. This takes consistency and lots of grace. When I first started taking my kids out to eat. I made up my mind to be prepared mentally and emotionally to leave at any point where my kids disrupted another diner. Of course, I always make sure to not put my kids in situations that are selfish, such as having them out too late. Last year at ages 3 and 5 we were able to enjoy a very nice, long meal at Commander’s Palace with my mom. My daughter understood that eating there was very special and a treat. This is not to toot my own horn. This is simply what has worked for us and for others. I promise you, it has not been easy from the beginning. When they aren’t accustomed to something like eating at a restaurant, they won’t inherently know how to behave. It has taken consistency in my expectations and sticking to my guns if something happened. Thankfully, it hasn’t in years. Enjoying a meal out is not a right that we are given, so having respect and courtesy for others is important. Here are a few tips that have worked over the years:
Happy Thursday! I’m not sure when school starts for you, but here in Sulphur Springs, we’re down to 12 days and counting. I have completely mixed emotions. I’m so proud of my daughter, and she is so excited to start the first grade. However, I’m also nervous and can’t believe she’s big enough to go to the first grade. I want to simultaneously protect her and see how well she flies on her own. Confusing? Try feeling all of that at the same time.
We’re on the brink of cool weather, warm sweaters, leaves, pumpkins and all things fall. With that, each year, I always notice an uptick in invitations. Birthday parties, Halloween parties, cookie parties, etc.
So, to help us become more helpful to others, I’m encouraging everyone to join in on my RSVP challenge! The goal is to RSVP within three days of receiving an invitation by the sender’s preferred method. If it doesn’t state how to RSVP, I encourage calling to let them know if you will/will not be able to attend.
Hosting a party is stressful enough with the cleaning, buying of food, cooking of food and on and on and on….let’s not add something else to the pile. It’s a simple, FREE way to become more helpful to others. I hope you’ll join in!
Q. I wanted to see if you would be willing to give a little clarification on how to address people on an envelope. Specifically, with titles and without titles. Also, what about women who don’t change their last name after marriage? I appreciate your help!
A. Thank you for reading! I am more than happy to help. Let’s start with the basics. If John Smith and Jane Smith are married and are of equal ranks, it would Mr. and Mrs. John Smith. If you choose a more informal approach it would be Jane and John Smith. The old adage is, “you never separate a man from his name.” Yes, it’s a little dated, but it’s a decent way to remember which name goes first. If Jane had kept her maiden name of Johnson, it would be Mr. John Smith and Ms. Jane Johnson. She would never be addressed as Mrs. Smith, as she didn’t take that name. She would be Ms. Johnson. Now, let’s say she did take his last name of Smith. Traditionally, she would always be referred to as Mrs. John Smith and not Mrs. Jane Smith. Nowadays, it is completely acceptable to list Mrs. Jane Smith, if that is her preference.
If Jane is a doctor, and her husband is not, on the envelope it would be Dr. Jane Smith and Mr. John Smith. If they are both doctors, it may read Drs. Jane and John Smith.
If children are included on the envelope, they are addressed on a separate line below their parents’ names. For a boy, traditionally under the age of 10, the title of Master is to be used. He drops having a title after 10 until he turns 18, at which time he becomes a Mister and warrants his own invitation, even if he lives with his parents.
Girls traditionally did not have a title until age 10. It’s very common now, though, to refer to a female as Miss from birth on. At 18, she, too, receives her own invitation, even if she resides with her parents. I hope this helps!
One of my favorite parts of Cotillion is getting to watch the students experience something new for the first time. Aside from my daughter, none of the other students enrolled in Junior Cotillion had ever participated in an afternoon tea. While our tea time was a bit later than traditional tea (class begins at 4:15pm), they were all too thrilled to get to try it!
Their sweet, puckered faces told me that, while they didn’t love the taste of hot tea without additions, they were willing to step outside of their comfort zone and try something new – a trait that will take them far in life.
By far, their favorite version was the hot peach tea with both honey and a spash of milk added.
My own daughter is participating this summer, so I know too well how, even with correct teachings, kids can be when at home. Put them in a different atmosphere, though, and they really grow and mature. Each student placed their napkin on their lap, and they all did their very best to not splash or clink the glass when stirring. Mouths were closed when the delicious scones and tea sandwiches (avocado ranch and strawberry cream cheese) were devoured.
Give them an opportunity to meet your expectations, and I promise they will.
A few questions were brought up during tea, and I enjoyed getting the opportunity to teach on more than what was on our class agenda. One of the questions I felt worthy of sharing with everyone, as there is a common misconception on high tea.
Isn’t high tea very fancy? This was the simple question that spurred great conversation, and I’m happy to share my answer with everyone today!
No, high tea actually refers to the high-back chairs around a dining table. Commoners often ate “high tea” on Sundays after work was completed. It is more like our supper today. It was also referred to as a “meat and potatoes tea.”
A low tea is what most Americans think of as traditional tea. It refers to the low tables one might find in a person’s home, such as a coffee table.
Teas were meant to be an informal way of entertaining. While teas may be “formal” in today’s viewpoint, you would never wear a formal gown to one. The term “tea length” originates due to the time of day. Since it’s mid-afternoon, the length isn’t full length, but it would still be considered “nice,” which isn’t a synonym for “formal,” at least in the etiquette world.
Other common terms are afternoon tea or cream tea. An afternoon tea would usually offer both sweet and savory options, and a cream tea may have only scones with clotted cream to serve with the tea.
The students learned so much while trying something new, and I truly think I enjoy as much as they do each time. The next time you’re thinking of having friends over, consider a tea!
Bonus info: When drinking tea, the pinky never goes up!
Welcome, Summer! This time of year brings long evenings, cool swims in the pool, watermelon and baseball with friends. Each year I notice an increase of parents acting less than, um, parental at the ball field. It’s almost as if something happens at the ball field where their brain no longer knows right from wrong. Winning is their sole obsession.
Winning is wonderful. I’m a Type A perfectionist. I want to win. It’s fueled my desire to work hard and succeed.
To my disadvantage, though, I have let that desire to win stop me from trying if I didn’t think I had something in the bag. Learning to lose gracefully is a sign of emotional maturity. It’s also a gift that many do not possess.
The desire to win is not evil.
The desire to win at the expense of anything else is wrong.
I usually don’t write in absolutes. However, I wholeheartedly stand by my statement. We have gotten away from grace. We don’t allow ourselves the grace to fall, so we don’t feel the need to extend grace to others. But, oh, how we’re missing out on a full life when we miss out on grace. Coaches, parents, fans, players – we all have a responsibility at the ball field, regardless of whether it’s Little League or MLB.
- Be a good sport. Calls will be missed. Players will make mistakes. Coaches will play the wrong player. Yelling at whoever messed up will not fix the mistake. The only thing is does is add fuel to the fire. Also, keep in mind everyone there is human, including you. That call may have looked a little different if you had been in a different seat. More than anything, be a good sport.
- Do not belittle anyone. This includes anyone who is in the stands, any player and any coach. Anyone. It is perfectly acceptable to cheer for your team. However, booing for the other team does not make your team any better. (It also doesn’t make their team any worse, just for the record.)
- Appreciate the talent. Some people think that their team or child is just God’s gift to this earth and that no one else could possibly ever find favor. A good fan will appreciate the talent and hard work the opposing team shows. Again, no one is saying you can’t cheer for your team. But by appreciating their talent and work, you understand you aren’t entitled to anything. Also, as a player, by realizing the talent the other team has, you’ll be able to better train and play your absolute best.
- At all times show respect.
By focusing on only winning, regardless of whether or not that win was deserved, we are instilling poor morals and values onto the next generation. Yelling and belittling is easy. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment. It takes true strength to see the players and coaches as valuable human beings. It takes true strength to see beyond the moment.
If you have a child in a sport, I’d like to leave you with this final poem.
He’s Just a Little Boy by Chaplain Bob Fox
He stands at the plate with his heart pounding fast.
The bases are loaded; the die has been cast.
Mom and Dad cannot help him; he stands all alone.
A hit at this moment would send his team home.
The ball meets the plate; he swings, and he misses.
There’s a groan from the crowd, with some boos and some hisses.
A thoughtless voice cries, “Strike out the bum.”
Tears fill his eyes; the game’s no longer fun.
So open up your heart and give him a break,
For it’s moments like this, a man you can make.
Please keep this in mind when you hear someone forget.
He is just a little boy and not a man, yet.