MANNERS, SOCIAL SKILLS AND BALLROOM DANCING ARE ALIVE AND WELL, THANKS TO THE NATIONAL LEAGUE OF JUNIOR COTILLIONS.
WRITTEN BY ANNE L AMPKIN KRAMER
The doorbell is ringing; the dog is barking incessantly; the baby is crying; children are squealing with excitement as guests arrive. While we create some of the best memories of the year during the holidays, living through them can sometimes be a bit chaotic. The stress may make us lose our wits, but it certainly shouldn’t make us lose our manners. Keeping manners intact since 1989 is the National League of Junior Cotillions, founded by Charles and Anne Winters in Lincolnton, North Carolina. NLJC teaches school-age children life skills and prepares them for social occasions of all kinds, including those holiday dinner parties and family gatherings. Elizabeth Gable, wife, mother of four, and owner of Endville Bakery and Catering, is the director of the Lee County NLJC chapter. Manners are important year-round, of course, but the during the holidays, they may really be tested. “Manners and etiquette during the holiday seasons are crucial,” Gable said.
ILLUSTRATED BY SAR AH McCULLEN
“Manners aren’t solely about rules, but more about how well we get along with others. As the [holiday season] approaches, parents get stressed and children get excited. Politeness and etiquette sometimes fly off the table like the rolls.”
Gable’s explanation reflects the national organization’s motto, “To act and learn to treat others with honor, dignity and respect for better relationships with our family, friends and business associates later in life, and to learn and practice ballroom dance.”
The Lee County NLJC offers etiquette, dance and social interaction classes at the Tupelo Country Club. The hour-and-a-halflong classes run from September to March. Two formal balls are also held each year — the Holly Ball in December and the Grand Spring Ball in March — giving students an opportunity to showcase their newly acquired social skills and practice ballroom dances like the Foxtrot, Waltz and Salsa. In the monthly classes, students are taught to navigate social situations of all kinds, from responding to invitations to properly receiving compliments. They learn table manners, appropriate dress for various occasions, and social media etiquette, as well as how to be both a good guest and a gracious host. As many a parent has discovered, children sometimes learn better in a group with other children, and from an adult who’s not a family member. Amy Tan enrolled her son Walker in the classes last year, when he was a fifth-grader at Milam Elementary School. NOVEMBER 2018 | INVITATION