Using Tradition to Teach Manners
One of the great old fashion ways to build virtue into our lives is through manners. This past feast day of Christ the King was a perfect opportunity to do this. To celebrate this feast day, our tradition is to have a banquet. The fun part is that we all dress up and the children arrive at the door one at a time to join the banquet.
The children knock on the door and we pretend that they have received an invitation to the banquet. They actually line up outside with their coats and boots on and have to wait 3 minutes between each child knocking. We invite them and offer them a drink and we partake of an appetizer. We ask if they found the place ok, if the traffic was heavy, and what it is new. They play right along.
This year, it was great to see my 5 year old walking around like a lady, with a wine glass filled with sparkling grape juice, and trying to keep up with the conversation. We worked this year on dialogue. We asked questions, refrained the boys from savaging the appetizer, and kept the conversation going.
Then, we enjoyed the meal together. The boys held out the chair for the females, we prayed the 'Act of Consecration of the human race to the Sacred Heart', and enjoyed a wonderful meal together. The thing that really hit home that we were doing the right thing was when my son Tavi (3 years old) fell asleep at the table. I took him to bed and wife put our 5 year old to bed. This left the other 3 at the table. I checked briefly on them whilst changing a diaper and they were continuing the conversation, sitting properly, and enjoying the moment. Usually, if were to both leave the table to another room, pandemonium would break out.
Tradition was providing the opportunity to use their manners! I was a proud father.
The crazy thing was that I was so exhausted from the week, that I contemplated not keeping our tradition as I didn't want to put together a big fancy meal and then role play with the children. But, I forced myself to do it and was happy I did.