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.

The Importance of Giving

This past Saturday, Garrett and I had the opportunity to attend the inagural Freedom Ball in Hopkins County, Texas.

After months of hard work and preparation, the day was finally here. It exceeded all expectations I ever thought I had. The venue, Cedar Canyon, was magically beautiful. The speaker was both funny and moving. Mr. Clayton McGraw’s rendition of “Ragged Old Flag” by Johnny Cash brought me to tears like it does every time he performs it. I left with a refreshed pride in my country and for the men and women who serve it.

The event’s speaker

The event’s purpose was twofold. First, we have numerous veterans whose names do not appear on the local veterans memorial. The memorial was originally completed debt free to the tune of over $1,000,000. To say that Hopkins County is a giving area is an understatement. The next objective of the fundraising part of the event was to create a perpetual fund that would provide upkeep for the memorial. There is a kiosk at the memorial where people can search for names on the memorial.

 

Aside from the fundraising efforts, the Freedom Ball planning committee, which I was proud to be on, wanted to recognize the efforts of all veterans and honor veterans, which I felt was accomplished.

I feel that giving people lead a fuller life.

It’s important to me that we instill a desire to give and to help others in our children. We were able to to adopt two veterans to place their names on the wall in honor of our kids. I am thankful that my pappy’s (mom’s dad) name is on the wall already. However, many of the veterans whose names are not on the wall were men and women who were killed in action and do not have relatives who would be able to put their name on the wall. 

I was incredibly moved by a generous donation made by a well-known and highly successful businessman. Anyone who knows this family knows of their giving spirit. To acknowledge the impact he and his family made on the community and the efforts of the Freedom Ball, he was recognized at the event.Overall, the event was fun, moving and successful. I am thankful to be a part of a giving community who is able to come together for the greater good. I fully believe that giving people lead fuller lives, and I hope to encourage you today to find something you can contribute to, whether that is by donating money or time. Afterall…“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” -Greek Proverb –

Dressing For Dinner

Wow! My husband and I went to dinner with a group of close friends tonight, and it was the most amazing experience! For those of you who aren’t local to me, we live in a small town, and fine dining experience are few and far between. Due to this, we don’t have many chances to get dressed up for dinner. Tonight, though, felt like a magical occasion, and I loved it.

The Oaks Bed & Breakfast is a recently refurbished home turned into a bed and breakfast. As if this wasn’t neat enough, every Thursday (starting today) they’re having Date Night. (Side note: It’s reservations only.) The meal is set, other than the main protein, which adds a unique element to it as well.

Tonight we had cold cucumber soup, ceviche on a bed of avocado, choice of salmon or stuffed flanked steak accompanied by mushroom risotto and pesto zoodles, melon and mozzarella salad and, finally, chocolate and caramel cheesecake. Every bit was outstanding. It took a while to get through all of the courses, which is exactly what I wanted. I LOVE when dinner is an experience. We also took this time to dress up a bit more than we normally do, and I didn’t realize how much I had missed that.

Additionally, we had great, quality time with friends sans kiddos. 🙂 To top off a perfect evening, we got to sit in the coveted private dining area, which reminded me of the private table in Commander’s Palace.

If you’re within driving distance of Sulphur Springs, Texas, I highly recommend getting reservations for this weekly treat!

How To Raise Polite Kids

Let me start off by saying that by no means are my kids close to perfect. They’re 3 and 5. They love mud puddles (including drinking from them for my son….ick), they kiss the dog, and we finally figured out why we had so many spoons missing after they learned to take their plate to the kitchen. They were simply throwing them away. Sigh.

However, overall I feel my job as Mom is to raise polite adults. This starts with them learning to be polite kids. Today I have a few pointers to share with you, and I hope you find them encouraging.

  1. Be a polite adult. I don’t advocate treating kids like adults, but I do advocate being polite to everyone, including children. It’s like the old saying goes – Monkey see, monkey do. When speaking with my kids (or any child, for that matter), don’t interrupt them or cut them off unless it’s necessary. There most definitely will be times it’s necessary. However, the more I let my kids talk to me like this, the more they tell me. It may seem unimportant to us, but to them, they’re learning so much, and it’s exciting. I also make sure to treat other adults with respect all of the time, including in my car at a four-way stop that apparently is difficult for people to understand. Ahem. They listen always. Be polite.
  2. Use Please and Thank You regularly. This definitely ties in with number one, but one of my proudest mom moments was when my daughter didn’t need any prompting to say thank you to someone who had complimented her. I just love that she knew what to do. My son is finally at this point, too, for the most part.
  3. Have them write thank you notes. If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know that I have to write thank you notes pretty much immediately. Or they get put off. And put off. And out off. It’s my etiquette flaw. I want this to be second nature for my kids, so I make sure they understand why we write these notes, how we write them, etc. My daughter can write simple ones, but for my son, I have him draw a picture or write his name to include him in the process.
  4. Have family meals. There is no better time to teach dinner etiquette than in the safety and comfort of your own home. Basic utensil use, napkin use, and chewing with your mouth closed are all skills honed by repetitive use. Plus, you get invaluable time together.

Do you have something you think should be added to the list? Please leave it in the comment section for everyone else to have a chance to read, too! J Thank you for reading.