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When Teens Dine, and Other Disasters…

{ Thursday, November 20th, 2014 }

This has been a difficult blog to write. Part of me wanted to erase it from my mind. And, the other part of me wanted to use it as a teaching moment.

Let me back up a bit. Whenever I am out with families where food is involved, they always make it a point of saying how their kids need a manner’s class. Making sure to remind their kids that they were dining with Mrs. Goode Manners. Truth be told, if I am not working with a group of kids in a class, more than likely I am not paying attention to your child’s eating habits…Unless, of course, it’s so out of the realm of  what’s acceptable. In other words, what I experienced with my 18 year old son.

We went out for a very nice family dinner. It was a celebration of my mother in law’s birthday. There were 13 of us total, the adults were at one end, and the teen-age and pre-teen grandkids at the other.  I had the honor of sitting at the border. My son on one side of me and my father in law, on the other. When our food came out, we were all served at different times. It takes a while to distribute 13 dinners. Everyone was waiting until all were served, when I glanced over to my right, I literally froze.

My son had taken his last bite of Raviolis. His plate was completely empty. I mean…NOTHING was left. Since it was an Alfredo sauce, it was white, and blended in with the white plate. I prayed that no one would notice. I looked at him in disbelief. I asked, “Was that your dinner?” He said it was. He was too hungry to wait. I explained…You ALWAYS wait. Unless the host or hostess tells you to please start. In this case, it would be his Grammy. I said, “Grammy never said to start.” He shrugged his shoulders and said, “But, I was so hungry.”

As I sat in horror, I heard someone say, “Oh, Joseph hasn’t been served yet.” I was so tempted to go with it. Sooo tempted to say that his food had yet to come out of the kitchen. But, that would be worse. I would be lying and cheating the restaurant out of a dinner. I had to come clean. I said, “Ummm, Joe ate his dinner already.” If I was a dog, my tail would have been so far between my legs I wouldn’t have been able to walk.

Everyone laughed it off. He’s a growing boy. (No, he’s pretty much done with growing, and at 18, he is considered an adult). He just voted in the last election, but he just finished his entire entree before anyone even lifted a fork.

Where did I go wrong? And, more importantly…If I saw a teenager do the same, would that have caught my eye? Would I have thought to myself, wow…I can’t believe how rude? I want to believe, because it was all close family, my son felt comfortable doing what he did. That would still not excuse the rudeness, but I want to believe that if he were with another family, this wouldn’t have occurred.

The bottom line is, no one can point a finger. Not even someone who is known as Mrs. Goode Manners to over 2,000 followers. More importantly, don’t make excuses. There is nothing that can make the behavior okay. Own it, and make sure they own it. And make sure they won’t do it again…

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