I’m learning.

Look at me, learning how to do bold faced headings and all. I’m taking all kinds of crazy risks these days. ha. Today I learned how to add “links” right into the text. See below. Cool, huh? I’m also learning- from blogging pros, that readers don’t like the text centered. Is that really true? (I would like to know your thoughts.) I also really want to hear your thoughts on blog posts. I love learning from you, AND I know together we are all stronger. So, comments welcomed here!

A teachable heart.

That’s not really what THIS blog is about. There’s another type of learning that this post is really intended for.  I’ve mentioned to you the importance of being teachable in front of your children – you know, when you learn something, be transparent in front of them, and tell them. If an apology is needed, do it. Show that you listen to correction,take ownership of it, admit it, learn from it, and live out the changes. Be a life that is approachable, teachable. This blog post demonstrates an important type of learning that I have mentioned in several previous blog posts.  Being teachable and transparent in front of your kids. (Or in this case, being teachable and transparent in front of your blog readership. ouch!)

Here’s the scoop of what happened.

Last week I shared some ways to be a blessing and gave ideas to help you teach your kids to “lighten the load” of the waiter. You know, ways to leave the table neat. Turns out a few of the things mentioned were NOT acceptable to Miss Manners. When I saw the Facebook comments many hours later, I was immediately nauseous. (ridiculous, I know). I went straightway forth and edited my blog post. But, I knew that since my post was public, I had to make another blog post to correct this etiquette faux pas. (I learned that word in sixth grade. Isn’t that a cool word? I also learned “blitzkrieg” that year.) Squirrel. I present to you now the two things I want to make sure you know not to do:


Do not stack the plates. 

Wow. I said it. I feel much better. Although many, and I do mean many waiters appreciate your help, (I know this because I asked). Miss Manners (any many of you who I will call my Facebook “etiquette gurus”) have said this is not proper etiquette and may actually, especially in finer dining establishments, be a sign that the wait staff is not doing their job well nor quickly enough.

Do not allow your kids to use the ketchup bottle to write “Thank You” onto a plate.

Yes, my kids did do this when I wasn’t looking, and then when I saw it, I let it slide, thinking, “awww…well, the motive of their heart is to show appreciation to the waiter.” That is a good thing. But, seriously, peeps, do not let your precious children use the ketchup bottle or any lovely colored condiment bottle to articulate words of affirmation. It may put a smile on your waiter or busboy’s face, but really it is teaching the kids some bad manners.

Don’t take yourself too seriously.

That night of the blog-post-gone-bad, we had over some friends for a going-away party for Mel, you know – the young lady, school teacher, who helped me for several years in my home to homeskul my kids while she was in her last few years of college. I shared with them about this. I had to tell Mel. After all, she had just shared with me how great her 21 third-graders had behaved while eating out at a restaurant with her as their reward for academic excellence in her classroom. She had been intentional to “train ahead” restaurant manners and had spent time teaching them ways to be a blessing while dining. Her students amazed her as they were truly others-focused rather than self-focused – even while eating at an all-you-can-eat-buffet, and we all know how stressful that can be.  Mel had shared with me that they did these very things – stacked the plates, gathered up all the silverware, checked the table, seats, and floors for any spills. I know… I know… she’s an awesome teacher.


Learn to laugh at your mistakes.

uh…at my mistakes, that is. A few of the friends from that going-away partay mentioned above, decided to send me pictures the next few days, laughing with me, at my teaching foibles. May I present their humor to you. I thought it was hilarious. Please note the stacked ketchup bottles and various other staged-for-laughter items. I have some straight cray friends.

Learning from others

There was such an interesting and wide range of feedback when I posted on our Cultivating a Home Facebook page. (Click on over and join us.) Someone posted, “My mom taught me to NEVER scrape the plate,” and another posted that in her culture it is “bad manners to ever clean a plate completely.” Her father taught her to always leave a little bit of food on the plate. I really enjoyed reading and learning from your comments and loved having a glimpse into your world. So, I welcome and invite you to comment below. Let’s get this partay started.

What are some dining manners that you have been intentional to teach your children?

Rhonda pardonmewhileIgoUNstacktheplates ellis

  1. Lisa Appelo

    Great post Rhonda! You’ve taught me many things, but one of them is grace. I want to know good manners and I my kids to know them (so that they feel comfortable in situations and can concentrate on engaging others rather than the what-to-do’s). But, regardless, we’ve gotta have grace with ourselves, with our kids and with others. You are so right that manners are a way to show kindness, not to impress. 🙂

    Lisa, headingovertoeatwithoutanapkininmylap

    • Rhonda

      Lisa, You are so right. We want our kids to be able to eat in any dining situation with ease and comfort. The other day, I had a different “mixture” of kids at the table (meaning, that we had two instead of our six kids at home). I soon saw an area that I thought they already had been taught. Still a work in progress…but, then again, aPARENTly, I am too. haha

  2. Mel

    Mrs. Rhonda,

    Thank you for teaching me how to show respect while being served. Even while dining out (& in) can we be the hands and feet of Christ.

    Mel howdoyoufeelaboutfoodfights? Hewiett

    • Mama like food fights…never.
      Mama like your amazing teaching skills…always.

  3. Christy Horton

    I would say, never leave a tract as a tip. If you are going to leave a tract, leave it with a GENEROUS tip, meaning minimum 20% or more. I know this from being a server in college. I was a Christian and would hear other servers who received such tips and it only made them angry and resentful towards The Lord Jesus. When I was in college, the minimum wage was about $5.00 per hour. As a server, I made $2.13 per hour by the restaurant, AND had to tip the bus boy a percentage of my SALES, AND tip the bar tender the same percentage as the bus boy, whether I sold a drop of alcohol or not, AND I had to tip the food runners who got the food from the kitchen to the table, AND then I was expected to HONESTLY report how much in tips I had made for the day to the GOVERNMENT.

    If you pray in restaurants over your meal you are representing Christ who has given you so much and you want to represent his overflow of blessings (that allow you to be served for the evening) well.

    That wasn’t a rant, just FYI. 😉 YOU ASKED!

    • True that! Thank you for your insight and important words!

  4. pamela franklin

    When you are a guest at someone’s table you should watch the host and follow their lead. Put your picky attitudes and self-inflected restrictions aside and eat some of everything that is offered unless you have a serious allergy. When food is prepared and shared, sometimes at great sacrifice, we should never act like it is not appreciated and decline what is offered. This may be a bit off topic. Can you tell it is a pet peeve of mine?

    • Thank you for these tips, Pam. Always a great idea to consider that the cook has spent lots of time planning, preparing, and quite often cleaning up after a meal, so not only to say thank you but to show it in the manner in which we receive it. (Sure do miss you!)

    • Dan the Man

      Yeah, I disagree. As a host, it is my responsibility(and pleasure) to make sure I am giving my guests food they want to eat. To force someone to eat something they don’t like just to satisfy my ego is wrong. With kids, I encourage them to try everything because they may find something they like, but I’m not going to guilt people into eating. That’s not the point of having guests.

      • Thanks, Dan the Man. I appreciate your comments.

Comments are closed.