“Your 7 year old uses the silver when he eats?” Yes, he does. Why wouldn’t he? Good table manners for children are important to me, and I’m absolutely sure they will be valuable to him. And how else is he going to learn unless it’s something we actually use, do, and practice every day.
But what if he breaks something?
Then I’ll get it fixed. But it’s much more difficult to “break” a piece of vintage silver than you think. In all the years we’ve been using the silver as our every day flatware the worst “damage” has been done by Mr. Silver Magpies. He used a Georgian spoon as an ice cream scoop…and frankly as rock hard as that ice cream was ANY spoon would have been in danger.
So objection number one about breaking things really isn’t on my worry list.
What I do worry about…
As readers of this blog and e-book Every Day Best know, I’m concerned that attitudes about silver being only “for best” are actually leading to the de-valuation of these beautiful, useful, thoughtful objects. When we lose a connection with things and never use them, how can we expect our children to value them?
Just look at any estate sale to see the consequences of storing things away and never using them. No one in the family values them, so off to the highest bidder they go.
I don’t want him to take these things for granted. It’s vital that he understand how incredibly fortunate we are.
Lead by example…
Plastic utensils, plates and cups are never going to teach him what he needs to know. Since he was very small, he has used the same items we have. It isn’t a cavalier attitude of not valuing these things that promotes this practice. Quite to the contrary …I do, very much. I value them so much, I want him to understand my enjoyment of them first hand. Hopefully he will develop an appreciation of them for himself.
Evey time we sit down to dinner (or any other meal) we are establishing “normal”. It’s normal for him to use silver, china, and a real glass. It’s equally normal for him to be expected to behave and use table manners, whether at home or out.
Table manners, children and vintage silver
Table manners for children (or anyone else) are something that need to be practiced every day. I think it’s unrealistic to expect a child to suddenly know how to behave outside the home unless they are held to the same standard inside it too.
Don’t tell anyone, but it’s also fun…
We chat about the marks and what they mean. He always loves finding an English piece which has the George III tax stamp on it. He gets a kick to think that it was put there to show taxes were paid on that piece, in order to pay for, among other things, my country’s side of the Revolutionary War! That often leads us on to other topics…and who knows where we’ll end up.
We also like to experiment with re-purposing. I think his favorite so far is using strawberry forks for hot dogs! He’s going through a hot dog phase at the moment and has decided that these forks are perfect for the purpose. I like them for all sorts of uses too. If I just left them for strawberry season, we’d never see them 🙁
All you parents out there, do you let your kids use “the good” stuff?