Mind Your Table Manners

Wake Forest faculty members are recognized experts in their fields, and frequently they are asked to comment on local, national, or even international news stories.  One of our faculty members, Sam Gladding (’67, MAEd ’71), Professor and Chair of the department of Counseling, was quoted in the Chicago Tribune’s article “Mind Your Manners,” which is about how to prepare for the holiday dinners coming up – and avoiding or minimizing the awkward questions or gaffes that can come.  Here’s an excerpt:

“Although the weather is always an option, it raises the question: Have we forgotten how to have a conversation over a shared meal?

‘It’s not that we’ve forgotten as much as we’ve ignored it,’ says Professor Samuel Gladding, who heads the department of counseling at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. ‘The mode of communication — or the most popular these days — is indirect communication through Twitter or text on through, well, you name it.

‘Communication is an art form, but it seems to be a lost art at times when people gather together,’ he adds. ‘They look down instead of at one another.’

Emoticons deliver digital emotions, but ‘if we don’t read facial expression or hear voice tone, we don’t know if the person is really inquiring or being sarcastic or being empathic,’ says Gladding. ‘We can’t hear it, and we can’t see the expression on the other individual’s face.'”

You can read the full article here.   Lots of insight on table manners, family dynamics, and making the most of a shared meal.

With many Wake students getting ready to head home for Thanksgiving in a couple of weeks, the subject of family dinners and expectations is perhaps timely.  Especially for those of you with first-year students, this may be the first time your students will be home for an extended period of time.  You may have one set of ideas in mind for Thanksgiving (family time! catching up!) and your Deac may have another (sleep! sleep! talk to my Wake friends I already miss!)  Think about what you hope for the shared time together, and ask your student what he/she is hoping to have – and adjust accordingly.

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