Where ‘em manners? And what are they exactly.

Jan 22, 2020

Growing up in Italy manners where so important. Italians play a lot of emphasis on teaching children manners. Everyone helps with it. A waiter at the restaurant expects children to know and act with good manners. Relatives will point out when a child needs to have better manners. Teachers at school will emphasize it in the classroom and at lunch what the proper way to eat and act is. 

I remember when I first arrived in the states that I was so shocked about a few things.

I remember one time paying with a card and the girl tossed the card back at me over the counter. Whaaat??? Oh my goodness. It’s like I had never witnessed that before.Or I remember going to a restaurant and it was shocking to me that only posh places would have table cloths and a well presented table I remember going to a stake house and the waiter again tossed the utensils wrapped in a napkin across the table because he couldn’t reach my side of the booth.

In Europe most people have to take a course before becoming a waiter. I even took an elective class in high school in Spain for a year on restaurant service. We learned how to pour drinks, carry trays, which side to serve people, and how to properly set up a table.

At home my mom always taught us how to set up the table and we did it every day even though it was just for our own selves. 

We set the forks on the left side.

Our cups were up top and on the right side. 

We all would to sit together to eat and couldn’t just leave the table.

Elbows were tucked in and off the table at all times.

We were taught to wipe our mouth before drinking.

We would keep our back straight for good posture.



My mom would tell us how we should practice cutting even fruit with a fork and a knife.

I guess you never know when you might become Julia Roberts and go to dinner with a fine man. 🙂

It takes work. But we are a family. We ourselves are the most important thing we have. So why not treat ourselves like kings and queens even if we don’t live in a palace quite yet.

Hey! Every country has their own strengths. I appreciate for example how kind 95% of the people are when being attended to in public here in the United States.

That is something that this country has nailed!

But manners seems to be going out the window more and more.

From not saying please and thank you. Or saying excuse me when pumping into someone.

Using may and might when asking a question.

In Italy it is completely forbidden to wonder into someone’s house.

As kids we would sit at the table the whole meal, which lasts a couple of hours.

It is possible to have kids behave.

And it does help when a group of people do it. We did it because other people expected us to do it too at their homes and we all knew it.

Manners are a gentle way to care for others and show appreciation.

Something that I admire about Europe is that when I still visit to this day I hear parents on the street reminding their children, “Manners please.”

Manners are a way of doing things well and in a refined way.

It’s a way of giving ourselves respect as well as others.

I know I seem like a broken record at our home, but I want my kids to remember to be polite.

I never think it sticks, but then I often have people approach me and tell me that they are so well behaved.

What is your favorite manner to teach your kids?

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Serena Essuman


Serena Essuman

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