June Molony column - It's important that we don't forget our table manners


June Molony column - It's important that we don't forget our table manners

June Molony

Most people have been taught table manners as children, but surprisingly, often enough such tenets have been forgotten, or, are conveniently overlooked in adulthood.

The way you treat the food on your plate is a reflection of the way you treat people in your life.  

Learning how to dine teaches you, not just how to eat, but how to treat people.

  Table manners say a lot about a person, and not knowing it can be more damaging than you would think.  If you haven’t learnt to eat correctly, what else did you miss learning, on the way to growing into the position you are in today. 

Fork in the left hand, knife in the right hand.  Do not hold the knife like you’re on the set of Psycho, and do not hold the fork like you’re about to take someone’s eye out.  

It’s not only about table manners, it shows your upbringing and that you are a civilised person.  

We’ve all been there.  On the other side of the table from someone chewing with their mouth open.  Wide Open! 

 This person could be the dearest, most cherished person in our lives, but such a sight can almost be enough to make you consider never eating with them again.

‘Even if you don’t practice impeccable table manners at home, it’s important to know how to behave for those important occasions’.

We live in a day where western society seems to think that all social ‘niceties’ are irrelevant and means conforming to ‘privileged’ people’s preferences. 

 That thinking is far from the truth and will sink us further into dehumanizing the positive qualities of what makes us human.  We humans are not animals, and we have painstakingly attempted to live by a higher order of reasoning when around other humans. 

 One example of living by higher order reasoning is manners.

People aren’t born knowing how to behave in social situations, so they have to be taught.  

Children need to learn these skills from adults who should be good role models.  As the children get older, they will have more confidence if they know what to do.  Also, other people will enjoy being around them.

Whether with family or out with friends, proper etiquette will keep you in the good graces of everyone around you.  

Being rude only serves to make you appear boorish and selfish.  If you want to work on improving your etiquette, start with table manners. 

 Some people simply need to learn how to use the correct utensils, while others have no clue what to do with their napkin.

‘Good manners show respect for others and table manners are very important because you will eat in a fashion that doesn’t offend people.’

Show me a slob at the table and I bet that he or she is inconsiderate of others in general and has very little respect for themselves. 

  I’d  hate to have such a person as my husband, much less my physician.  Manners, in all areas of life, matter. 

Table manners mean living a life of consideration to the world around you.  It means more than following social cues of the privileged.

  Instead, it means that you respect yourself and those around you so that you look out for the best interest of others. 

 It should be a cultivated habit to savour food, taking the time to thoughtfully chew and taste food.

  I squirm at the appearance of a diner shovelling food into their mouth and gulping it down, barely pausing between bites. 

 This manner of eating, by the way, often incites overeating when the eater doesn’t register the food.

The dinner table is the centre for the teaching and practicing, not just of the table manners, but of conversation, consideration, tolerance, family feelings, and just about all the other accomplishments of a polite society.

The best advice I have ever been given on manners is ‘Watch your host’. 

 I wish I had done that on the day!  Friends and good manners will carry you where money won’t go, and will open doors that the best education cannot.

‘Etiquette’ is all human social behaviour.  If you are a hermit on a mountain, you don’t have to worry about etiquette, but if someone comes up the mountain, then you’ve got a problem. 

 It matters because we want to live in reasonably harmonious communities..

Whoever One is, and Wherever One is, One is always in the wrong if one is rude.