For those of us who have children or are in a home with children, the pandemic is a golden opportunity! For the first time ever…no soccer practice, no coming home from work late, piano lessons, community meetings, business travel, school activities, countless errands…for many families, having a meal together in the evening is a new experience!

Pre-pandemic, how often did you sit down for a meal as a family? Now in pandemic mode, how often are you now sitting down together for a meal as a family? My guess is a lot more.

My parents weren’t “Miss Manners”, my parents were Norbert and Agnes from, as Tom Brokow named “The Greatest Generation.” Etiquette was never discussed however manners were taught every night at the dinner table.

“You weren’t born in a barn, take your hat off at the table.” “Take your elbows off the table.” “If you would like the food passed, say ‘Please’.” “Use a napkin.” “If you need to leave the table to ask, ‘May I be excused?’” “Please chew with your mouth closed.”

Before every meal we said grace and at the end of every meal, we said another prayer of thanks. With a family of seven, we talked about our day and current events. The television was turned off. There were no mobile devices in our hands to disrupt. At the end of the meal, we cleared the table and helped with dishes…Ok, I made that last part up however we should have helped my Mom more often with dishes.

The pandemic has reminded us how important it is to fully connect with those we care about, to teach lessons to our children, and connect more fully as a family.

Please pass the manners.