Let me talk to you about lunchroom standards that I’m sure you would want to be in place if you were here. They are fairly simple and not demanding. The first is to sit while eating. To some, that would sound obvious. However, in a fast-paced culture where mealtimes are often eaten on the run and not sitting around a table, don’t assume that that is what takes place. Even if you are a family that eats together, the pressure is on for students to wander about and talk to friends, throw away trash every two minutes, or just simply to stand beside chairs. (Don’t ask me why some children prefer this. Many do stand.) Our lunch monitors will simply instruct them to sit.
The second standard is to not play with food. This ranges from taking someone’s snack and hiding it while they are not looking, to throwing their shark-bites up in the air and trying to catch them in their mouth.
Now those two simple standards have hosts of practical reasons as to why we want children to keep them, but let me help you think about how to talk to children apart from the ‘why’. The standards of life usually fall into one of two categories: either loving God or loving man. In this case, students who sit at the table are taking on the understanding of, “I live in a world designed by God to reflect orderliness and beauty. I will participate in the communities of life at the table.” (Family, associates, or peers are those communities for our children.) They will be showing courtesy toward others as they sit and listen to others’ conversations instead of having what they want as the deciding factor of their behavior.
Would you, (no matter the age of your student) have a conversation about this as you sit down to eat? Show them the beauty of delighting in God and His ways.