Your family can “LIGHTEN THE LOAD” of the wait staff.
Your family can BLESS and INVEST in their lives.
Our family dining aboard The Disney Cruise, 2002
We are called as Believers to be a light in the world and to demonstrate our love through our actions. This applies to everything we do- even our dining experiences. Yes, the wait staff is there to serve you, but let’s have an outward focus of how we can lighten their load and be a blessing to them.
Here are some thoughts to help you in parenting to the heart of your children before and during your next restaurant experience. The consistency of teaching into your kids’ hearts will result in such beautiful fruit. Just you wait and see. They’ll do these things when you’re not even around. (well, hopefully.)
Thanks Annabelle, Kelsey, and Emily for demonstrating great interaction with John, the actor/waiter last night.
Here are a few ways to show respect to the wait staff:
- Be attentive by learning and using the waiter’s name. When he introduces himself, look at him and say hello back. Ask him how he is doing. Practice this before going out the next time. Few people actually remember their names, but you can. Don’t use cell phones in the restaurant nor set them on the table. (I know…ouch!)
- Communicate well. This means good eye contact and friendly expressions. Practice beforehand the kids ordering their own meal using these skills. (You very well may be encouraging a child to self-centered by not realizing the value of them being able to communicate on their own.)
- Eat neatly, not leaving a mess. Spend time at home teaching your children how to eat with manners. Your experience at a restaurant will be so much more calm if you aren’t worried about the manners of your kids.
- Show gratitude. Have your cute little kids write something on a napkin like, “Thank you, John” along with a picture or a big smiley face. Did you note the name interjected there. Use the waiter’s name while dining.t. If you’re just with older kids and adults, you and/or your kids can write a short note on the bill. (Not the dollar bill, you understand. That would be illegal. haha) Your note can say something specific like, “Greg, thanks for taking such good care of us” or “Sharon, dining here was wonderful. Thanks.”
- Be generous. Tip well. Don’t get out your calculator and multiply so that you are not paying one cent more than the recommended 15%. Allow God to grow you in the area of generosity, and start with releasing a selfish heart (if this applies to you as it did me), and give the amount you were going to and intentionally always add ONE DOLLAR MORE. Remember that these people have lives outside of this restaurant, bills to pay, and your extra dollar could really be a blessing to them. Teach your kids this principle too. While writing your tip on your receipt, actually tell your kids so they can experience the freedom with money that you are learning to have. For example you could say, “Kids, the bill was $50. I am leaving 20 percent tip which means $10..and because they Lord wants me to be generous, I’m learning to give an extra dollar every time just to keep me from having a stingy heart.” (see? Again, you are role-modeling them such a beautiful way to converse and be transparent in your home, while demonstrating you are sensitive to the Holy Spirit prompting your heart! MAMA LIKE!)
Okay, some of those things may sound beeeeezzzaaare to you. I’m okay with that. It’s like teaching your kids to THINK THROUGH THE EYES of someone serving in another job and asking ourselves, “What might be a blessing to them, lighten their load, or leave a favorable thought about your family’s dining experience with them? This is attractive, and under these circumstances – given you have also been polite and respectful in the method in which you communicated your undercooked steak- you would be a light for Jesus and be able to more easily share about Christ with those who served you.
- Behave well. Have you ever been dining with someone and they were rude to the wait staff about not getting the food just right or in the timely manner they expected…and been totally embarrassed. Only to have that person share Christ or leave a tract. AHHHHHHH!!! Nooooo!! There is nothing that appealed to them in your behavior that would cause them to be interested in your God. I mean you could choose to act ugly and NOT leave a tract and NOT say anything about Christ or your church, but better yet would be this: Choose to communicate differently and then share about Jesus. Be nice, peeps!
Perhaps a good check for all of us is to ask ourselves:
“Is what I’m about to say or do going to still leave the doors open to share Christ with this person?”
- Respond well. We should get the food we ordered, but keep in mind the way in which we communicate a “complaint” should be calm and courteous, realizing that the waiter is simply the messenger to the kitchen staff. Go easy, people. Lighten up. The people dining with you will actually appreciate not being on edge, wondering if you’re going to embarrass them by the way you behave and communicate with the waitress. Don’t be sarcastic, belittling… just say the problem politely, giving them as much grace as you’ve been given by the Lord, and acting like it ain’t no big deal. And smile. They’re happy to take care of your issue, especially when you don’t put them on the defensive.
Soooo, show respect for the wait staff by learning and using their name, speak politely even when the food order is not according to your taste, lighten their load by cleaning up the floor and table, and tip well and be thoughtful in your communication of tipping.
Tomorrow I’m going to share one of my very favorite tips to teach your kids (and yourself) HOW TO ENCOURAGE the wait staff. Don’t miss it.
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