Because we are slow, we still remember to say "please" and "thank you". Gentlemen still hold doors open for ladies and children respect their elders. Elbows are not on the table, your napkin is in your lap, and, for the men, their hats are left at the door. I am still eating at dinner tables, where a child will ask "to be excused" before leaving the table, although these are fewer and far between.
We "set" our table every evening for supper when the girls were growing up - we still do for just the two of us now. Proper silverware - a salad fork, if a salad or dessert is being served, a place spoon for soup, butter knives with bread. I didn't realize I was being "green" years ago - we have always used cloth napkins.
And, everyone was expected to sit and eat supper. This brought about natural conversation. We discussed local politics, world events, what was happening in their lives. They learned to find out more details, form an opinion, and be able to defend that opinion if challenged. We even had conversations that were considered "dinner table talk" - that went no further than the dinner table.
Now, it was not all rosy. There were those nights that the girls were snipping at each other, one had aggravated her father, I was mad about something, etc. We all know families are going to fuss and fight. But we still ate supper together almost every night.
As our girls got older they started spending more time at their friends' homes and were introduced to the hustle and bustle of soccer moms and their list of extra curricula activities. My oldest daughter commented one afternoon that one of her friend's family had this brand new dream kitchen they had just built but yet the mother didn't cook and they were never home together to eat. Her friend was working on her college resume, which included her ability to play the violin, play soccer, and cheer. She was an honor student, but if she had to go through an admission's interview, could she discuss politics and world events, or defend a position?
Meanwhile, both our daughters emerged from their time warp with a keen interest in politics and world events, a strong ability to argue their point of view, and the innate knowledge to set a proper table.