For the folks who've been stopping by my blog for while, I'm sure you will be amazed to find out that my husband, Tom, and I met in Sunday School. Really? Does that actually happen? Not only that, but our Sunday School teacher, Mrs. Bengston, was a retired Deportment teacher.
By the time she was our teacher, public education had decided deportment (behavior in formal situations) wasn't important enough to keep in the classroom. I'm still not sure if I am more amazed that it was formally taught at one time, or that it no longer is. I don't know about you, but there seem to be a lot of people who could use the class.
One year on vacation, when James and Mary were elementary school, this came home to roost. Of course, we had taught them to say "please" and "thank you" and to take turns. They were very well-behaved kids, and I don't remember a single time when we were outrageously embarrassed by their behavior in public. In a nicer restaurant (somewhere between Golden Corral and the Ritz), we discovered we still had much to teach James and Mary about deportment.
First of all, teaching good manners (I'm basically talking about table manners) starts early on. Most of us know that modeling is one of our first teaching tools as parents. Sitting at the family table can be relaxed and still display etiquette.
Nothing steals my appetite quicker than being at the table with someone who demonstrates their lack respect for others by chomping loudly, mouth open, laying all over the table (ok, maybe not exactly laying, but with their chest and forearms resting on the table), grabbing food. Yuck! I think I'm going to gag.