What’s So Special About Tea Time?

My Intro to Tea Time

“Grandma, why do you swish the hot water around the tea pot?” I asked.

“To make zie pot goot unt hot!” my grandmother answered in her thick German accent. There is something about the pleasant memory from our childhood which lingers and leaves a lasting mark on our recollections.

As a child, I delighted in racing eight blocks to my grandparent’s house after school one blustery February evening in my youth to the warmth which would be found there. Inside the 1950’s white cottage with a steep red roof were three people I adored. My grandfather, the stern commandant of the household. My grandmother was a quiet, busy woman who loved her “Shelligan” and Tante, my great Aunt, who ran the house. They were well into their 70’s when I was in elementary school and it was such a joy to run all the way to their house in time to have tea time at 3:30 PM sharp.

As I would bolt noisily through the back door, the smell of toasted pumpernickel and cookies would fill the air. The red and white kitchen was a bustle with Tante and Grandma getting Grandpa’s tea ready as he demanded it be exactly on time. He was a “bull headed” German as my mother would say.

I would arrive just in time to watch Grandma deliberately swish the hot water around in the tea pot, dump it down the drain, and drop some loose leaf tea in the bottom of the pot. I noticed she never measured with a spoon; she just seemed to know the amount of tea needed for each of her various tea pots.  At this point she would pour in the hot water and put the lid on the pot. She would place it on the neatly laid out table and call Grandfather to come and have tea.

As we sat down and began the daily ritual, they would talk about the day’s happenings, tell jokes and laugh until tears ran down their faces. In their house, children were to be seen and not heard, but I did not mind one bit. I loved to listen to their voices and I loved to hear how they ceaselessly rolled their rrrrr’s and had trouble saying other words because of their unremitting German accent.

At that moment in time, I was safe, happy and with people I loved.

Tea time is one method you can use to create a moment in time for your daughter. Life seems to be so stressful and it is rather easy to simply do the next thing on the list of life. But you have a unique opportunity to create a precious memory for your daughter by setting the stage for your mentoring time.

Studies have shown that by creating a pleasant environment a greater amount of learning takes place with more ease. Mary Poppins said it well when she told the children under her care “Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down!’ Growing up isn’t all that easy sometimes so tea time was a pleasant event that I used when my daughter was twelve to make the “medicine” of life go down easily. Tea time was the event and reading and discussing Beautiful Girlhood was the activity.

Tea on Tuesday

Tuesday night tea time became a weekly ritual when we would make two cups of tea with enough sugar in each to keep our dentist happy and then settle ourselves in the quiet living room for our special time together. Every week it was the same, Laura lounging on the couch with her feet in my lap, her cup of tea cradled in her hands.

I would be on the other end of the couch reading our book, and rubbing her feet. After the first tea time, I was thoroughly convinced that there was not a better way to spend an hour.  During this time we were both taught by Mabel Hale about how to be a godly woman in Beautiful Girlhood. Conversation would flow as we discuss the various points that were made by the author. Questions were volleyed back and forth about what Mrs. Hale meant by that statement or how Laura could apply another facet of teaching.

Long Distance Mentoring

Five years after our Tuesday night tea time I found a need for another tea time. My little girl was one hundred miles away at college. In the fall of 2000 I was revising a beautiful book written in the early 1900’s by Margaret Elizabeth Sangster. It is entitled Beyond Beautiful Girlhood. This lovely book is directed to girls who are twelve and up and places a special focus on making sure your daughter knows how to manage her home, life, and spirit through various projects.  I think that this book could be considered an enhanced home economics course.  This was the book I wrote to make sure that Laura knew all she needed to know before she embarked intrepidly on the voyage of her life.

Because it was impossible for Laura and me to spend actual time together, we decided to have a long distance tea time. I made a gift box for the occasion containing a special mug, Laura’s favorite lemon tea, a pretty journal and pen that she could use to record her thoughts and mailed it to her. Each week we would cover one of the seven chapters over the phone, discuss what we had read and then talk about what we had written in our journal to reflect on the topics we had just covered.  I was relieved to learn that even a long distance mentoring was possible!

Tea time is a highly effective tool to use in your mentoring times with your daughters. Perhaps because it harkens back to a time when life was a slower pace and people had more time for each other. But I think that tea time is an occasion that creates a special moment in time when our daughters know they are safe, happy and with a mother who loves them enough to take time and teach them what it means to be a godly women the world today.

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