I recently had the pleasure of teaching an etiquette class to boys and girls ages 8 to 10 years old. It was pure joy! These youngsters not only were excited to be in my class, they ate it all up (pun intended).
After showing them how to properly set the table, I shared the basics of table manners. No elbows on the table. Chew with your mouth closed. How to properly use your fork and knife. And what to do with your napkin.
You see, these little ones took everything I said so literally, soaking it all up like the oyster crackers in their soup. For example, when talking about chewing with your mouth closed, I told them to picture a bunny chewing on a carrot. I then asked them to pick up a piece of their dinner roll and chew it like a bunny. All 14 kids started chewing their food fast and furiously like a bunny. You get the picture.
When they were served chicken noodle soup, I instructed them how to properly use their soup spoon. All big, round, curious eyes were on me as I chanted, “Little boats go out to sea, up in the air and into me. In other words, kids, your spoon, like a boat, sails away from you as you eat your soup.”
This was a challenging lesson. Lots were not used to sailing away. One child asked what kind of boat? Another shouted the spoon could be a sea plane! Regardless, they all chanted the phrase like old pros and ate their soup in the most robotic way.
When parents came to pick up their little darlings, the kids raced to them showing off their “certificate,” their coveted silver spoon. They were happy. They learned. They had fun. It was pure joy.