Friday, February 05, 2010

Daughter's Etiquette Class Teaches Dad a Thing or Two

My 10-year-old daughter completed her etiquette and "social graces" lessons at the "Dogwood Cotillion" yesterday.

The last of four one-and-a-quarter-hour classes, in which about 50 fifth grade boys and girls learn proper dress, manners, and basic dance moves, was "parent night."

I learned more than I expected, including:
  1. The bread plate goes on the left (remember BMW: bread, meal, water).
  2. Girls should not phone boys except for homework, an update on a previous invitation, or other specific purpose (no chit chat); corollary: Boys may call girls for any reason, just not between the hours of 10 p.m. and 8 a.m.
  3. Always hand write thank you notes.
My daughter says we wasted our money, since she already knows everything about manners. That's debatable, but I think I got my money's worth. Not only did I guarantee I won't use the wrong bread plate at Rotary next week, I got to dance with my daughter. I need to write Dogwood Cotillion a thank you note.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Pinewood Derby Introduces Dad, er... Son to Power Tools

When I was a Cub Scout, my dad and brothers built my Pinewood Derby car. I came in first in my pack but didn't get far at district. The fact that I didn't build the car didn't diminish my fond memories and appreciation for my family's support.

With the first of my two sons, James, now seven, I've learned the Pinewood Derby dynamic requires more parental leadership than ever. Instructional videos and websites encourage the use of band saws, Dremels, routers, and other power tools that no responsible dad would let his seven-year-old touch.

That said, James did have a role in choosing the theme, design, and color of his car for last weekend's Pinewood Derby in Dunwoody. The rest was on me, including borrowing a neighbor's Dremel and learning what makes a Pinewood Derby car fast: maximizing the weight and minimizing the friction on the axles. The research paid off, because James' car came in fifth out of 65 and won fastest among the Wolf Pack.

Needless to say, James was thrilled. Although I didn't let him handle the power tools, we did bond over his first Pinewood Derby car.

Next year, I'll teach him to use the Dremel.