WAYLAND – Seven girls between second and sixth grades learned table etiquette in a Christmas dinner Dec. 8 at Southern Baptist Fellowship Church, here.
The dinner was the brainchild of church member Tara Toops, 16, who coordinated the event, contacting several schools and another church in recruiting girls.
“We had done a formal dinner at a school (Keokuk Iowa Christian Academy) and we liked to dress up formally. I was thinking of ways to impact the girls and be role models for them.”
In fact the role modeling was more the reason she held the dinner. The opportunity to dress-up and the manners exercises were just part of the draw.
A three-course meal (salad, dinner, and dessert) was prepared for the girls by adults in the church. Church china was used, as well as dishes, butter knives, and gold-plated eating utensils borrowed from church members. Calligraphy place cards – also done by Toops – set the seating order.
As the meal was prepared, Toops told the girls manners and etiquette tips, including how to use what utensil, how to place the utensils on a plate when finished, how to be polite, how to fold cloth napkins, and how to let the hostess lead the eating procedures. There was also an encouragement for the girls to have self-respect.
“Most girls probably don’t get this opportunity. A lot of people don’t have role models. I hope they’ll learn something about how you live your life for the God we love,” Toops said.
The event also had fun events with the girls participating in a mock dinner set-up relay with plastic and paper dishes and utensils, and played charades of various manners expectations.