“Mexican food sounds great,” I said. So off to Sabor a Mexico we went for an enjoyable and filling meal. Our friends had two kids, 13 and 4. Both were active boys, energetic and full of life. As we entered, our friends asked for a booster seat for the 4 year old, a request that still puzzles me to this day. The little guy never used it. He sat in mom’s lap, then his dad’s lap, then under the table, then he was off to explore. He explored the other tables and the TV, popping back up at our table to interrupt conversation, grab a bite, and then take off again. Our friends attempted to correct him once, which he ignored. At that point they just kept their eye on him and enjoyed their meal. Several other people did not enjoy theirs, including me.
Another place that you can see similar scenes like this is at Wal-Mart. Muscular, 220 pound dads often chase little guys around saying, “Come back here. . .Don’t touch that. . . Put that back. . .”
These public displays are windows into what happens--or doesn’t happen--at home. Obedience and behavior are learned at home. Practice restaurant behavior at home. If your kids go out to eat and they run all over the restaurant and climb under the tables, you have some homework to do. Take them home. Set the table and act like you are at a restaurant. Use your own mealtimes to teach them how to act when you go out. Practice the right kind of behavior and enforce it. The next time you go out, if you don’t get what you practiced, pack up and go home immediately.
Home life itself will run much more smoothly if you plan a schedule and practice how things are done. A morning routine might look like this:
Wash your face and get dressed
Make your bed
Read your Bible
Set the table
Ask if you can help with breakfast
Take a few minutes and jot down what you want your child’s morning to look like. Do the same thing with the first thirty minutes at home from school and then with bedtime. You will never regret taking the necessary time to train your children. Every situation demands appropriate responses and actions. Develop routines and procedures for the activities that you do often. It will reap great dividends.
Tips we’ve netted: When our children were small, Patricia would write a schedule for the day including story time, play time, outdoor time, swim time, clean up time, meals, snacks, naps, etc. She used pictures and symbols instead of words so that the kids could “read” it for themselves.
Quote: “Sow an act, and you reap a habit. Sow a habit, and you reap a character. Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.” Charles Reade