That Childhood Training Pays Off

Carter called me today to tell me about her Religion Seminar class she had today. They were talking about the three types of capital in the world: economic capital, social/networking capital and cultural capital. The professor explained that cultural capital has to do with things like manners. Since it is the tiniest group in this seminar Carter revealed that she had been forced by her mother to take etiquette class when she was four years old. I’m not sure she said forced, but Carter references this experience often to me.

The professor asked Carter what she learned from the class that she still uses. She said that she always put her fork and knife together on her plate to indicate she is done with her meal. Carter also said she noticed when other people don’t do it. The professor asked her if she ever brought it to anyone one’s attention. “Oh no!” Carter told her. The professor told her something that make a mother proud.

“You not only learned the etiquette of what to do, but also the manners not to make someone else feel bad that they didn’t have etiquette.” Apparently that is Culture Capital.

I am very thankful to Connie Kearny for her etiquette class that made such a huge impression on Carter at the right age. Carter might not have loved them at the time, but most certainly they are paying off now.

Carter has mentioned that when she went out to a meal with a work superior she notices when they do the wrong things in social situations. At first she just thought that they must not have been brought up in the south, but soon realized that no matter where they were from they should know some basic etiquette.

It is never too early to teach your children good manners, but it most certainly can be too late to teach them. One thing that was drilled into me by my father is that you always look someone in the eye when you speak to them. From my mother I got that there was no eating until your napkin was in your lap. Who knew it was something as important as Cultural Capital?

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