Thursday, June 04, 2009


A month or so ago, we were working on table manners and I mentioned that the boys should keep their elbows off the table. N asked "Why?" and I had to admit that I didn't have a good explanation! It was just considered good manners to keep your elbows off the table.

He then said "Well, I think you should google it."

Instead, I asked my Facebook friends and received a variety of answers -- and then I did google it myself :)

Some people think it's a silly rule and don't enforce it in their family. Others enforce it "because."

I did find some possible reasoning behind the original rule, and shared all the responses / reasons with my boys. One of the thoughts was that in medieval times, people sat on long benches to eat, so they often sat very close together. If you ate with your elbows on the table, chances are your elbow would be in your neighbor's meal! N and C both thought that was hilarious. Tables in medieval times also had a long trestle underneath, and if a person leaned their elbows on the table, could tip the table and all the food would crash to the floor. Another amusing picture!

Even though we sit on chairs, and our table is a sturdy, 4-legged one, we've also decided to follow the old tradition just "because." There are some rules in society that are expected, and it's really not a difficult one to follow.

As a reminder, I sing a little ditty I found somewhere on the web -- "N & C, strong & able, take your elbows off the table!" It's light-hearted and fun, and makes both boys smile and laugh as they remove their elbows.

What about your family? Elbows off? Elbows on? No worries either way?

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