Learning Not Just for Formalities’ Sake
Here are some opportunities you may present your older children to become more comfortable and confident about themselves in a formal setting:
Fine dining at a restaurant. Teach them the secret of working outside-in on the utensils and many more table manners and etiquette at a fine dining restaurant. Allow them to place their own orders with the waiter pleasantly and politely. The use of appropriate language, tone and volume of voice develops their communication skills in a formal set-up. Help them to choose the proper attire for the evening without being underdressed or going overboard. A cute bowtie for boys or a snazzy purse for girls may be useful confidence-boosters.
Fine dining at home with invited guests. Inviting friends over for a formal dinner at home is a fun way to learn to be a gracious host. Set the table with your children and have them toss ideas for accents like flowers, candles or place cards. The crafty ones may even make handmade tokens for their guests! Browse through different websites or simulate the art of entertaining so they feel comfortable once their guests arrive.
Formal family events. Weddings, debuts, formal reunions or other formal gatherings your children are part of are perfect opportunities to mingle with people of different ages while maintaining proper decorum. Why not let them give you a hand at organizing the event no matter how big or small a role they play? It could be taking care of invitations, a program, suggesting a theme or ushering in guests. They learn the nitty-gritties of formalities and gain a sense of accomplishment from being partly responsible for the event’s success! Acknowledgment for a job well done and for being at their best behavior always goes a long way.
Dancing the night away last February 21, 2014 for the Domuschola secondary students was much more than a Midsummer Night’s Dream. Beyond required reading and interpretation of William Shakespeare’s work in the classroom, the students wrote their own sonnets, recited them, staged a one-act play and delivered a monologue which all culminated in a whimsical cotillion dance. This experiential learning fostered in them a real understanding of the genre. Apart from the practical application of their knowledge and skills, it was also their chance to be at their best formal behavior.