Manner Monday®: Family Dinner

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by Carey Sue Vega in Etiquette, Family, Family Dinner, Manners

Family Dinner…if you’re like most families today, you’re running in different directions, and just happy to get everyone fed, somehow – someway!  I know that’s the case for us, and there’s only three people in our family.  This past week, ‘family dinner’ at home didn’t happen for us – we had an event or activity every night of the week. Our family dinner consisted of Chick-fil-A at the school carnival while our son was trying to ditch us as fast as possible to find his friends.  And we understand that – the school carnival is a big deal for an 8-year-old.  But family dinner is a big deal to us, as parents.  So obviously, some weeks are better than others at making it happen.

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA) has instituted a national movement called “Family Day – A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children.  Launched as a grassroots effort in 2001, it has now grown to a nationwide initiative that is celebrated on the fourth Monday in September.

Here is some great information from their website:

As children age, it is important to build trust with them and keep the lines of communication open so that if at any point they begin to feel increased pressure to experiment with smoking, drinking and using drugs they can feel comfortable talking to you about it. 
 Everyday activities like having family dinner together, helping your children with their homework or attending their after school activities have a lasting effect on your kids.

Each of these moments offers an opportunity to connect, share and really listen to what’s on their mind. Research shows that children with hands-on parents are far less likely to smoke, drink or use other drugs. Remember, parental engagement matters!

 If you can’t sit down for family dinner today, that’s ok.  Take a look at your calendar for the next week and schedule a ‘date’ (or two or three) with your family for good old-fashioned ‘family-face-time’ (FFT).  It doesn’t have to be fancy.  Keep it simple and as stress free and as much FUN as possible.  FUN is when great things happen.

Determine if FFT will take place at home around the table or choose a restaurant where it can be accomplished (no TVs distracting with the game overhead).  The goal is for whomever is participating to sit at the table for a meal with no distractions.  Yes, mom and dad this will be just as hard for you J – no cell phones and no TV.  Think quality FFT.  Believe it or not, teenagers really do want uninterrupted quality time with their parents – even if they don’t act like it.  By planning ahead and exerting a little bit of effort in small stages, we can start now to prepare for mealtime outings with family, friends, and even colleagues… without cringing at the thought of the idea.

And if you want a fun, creative way to set the stage and ‘invite’ your family to dinner… take the lead from the mom of one of our high school students:

family dinner invitation



Special Announcements:

Have you seen the Music Video?  Our Student Ambassadors came up with the idea, wrote the lyrics, arranged for the soundtrack recording, I helped arrange the videographer… they did the rest all themselves!  Pretty creative bunch of kids!!!

Don’t forget to watch through to the end for the bloopers!

Click on the picture below to access the video.


Passport (9-12th Grade) Program
Our Passport Party is fast-approaching and will take place, Thursday, October 2.  It’s a great way to meet new friends and learn about the program.  Here is the link to more information:

  • The Interview Intensive begins in October, click here for more information:
  • Passport (9-12th Grade) Program registration online via:

Don’t miss out – Business Etiquette Lunch Workshops 
Lunch workshops are a great way to grab a fantastic meal, meet new people in an fun and nonthreatening environment AND learn something at the same time!

Join us for a workshop:

  • Tuesday, October 21, Quail Creek
  • Tuesday, November 18, Gaillardia (Social Etiquette – preparing for the Holidays)

Register via:


Business Etiquette Training and other Workshops
Would you like to schedule a workshop or presentation?

I have a variety of workshops that can be customized to fit your needs and would love to work with your organization, please call or email for more information, 405-721-1467 or

Here are just a few of the workshop topics:

  • Etiquette and the Generations – understanding ‘those guys’
  • Creating a Great Customer Service Experience
  • Business Etiquette and Professionalism – Navigating Lunch and Networking Events
  • First and Lasting Impressions
  • Professional Dress


As always, thanks for reading!

– Carey Sue





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