What do you have when you combine a Bavarian china tea set, mother, grandmother (“Bubbe”), and twin girls? Sounds like a tea party to me. Add manners and you’ve got the perfect social event, lessons and laughter.
Once I offered to pay one dollar to the granddaughter who had her napkin on her lap without being told. If I said, “Napkin check,” and they had it on their lap, they collected on my offer. This could not go on forever or I’d be broke. But after five years, they continue to use their napkins properly (most of the time). Pretty good use of a dollar, wouldn’t you say?
I’m currently working on a devotional book, Code of Conduct, based on etiquette…for adults. Each day will focus on a different rule intended to make others feel comfortable. Good manners stem from respect for other people, even those of a different background, race, or creed. It’s about more than which fork to use.
When thinking about ethics, etiquette, and manners, the most basic source of teaching is in the Bible. The Golden Rule and Jesus’ teachings are the foundation of proper manners.
In my preliminary research I’ve discovered that many devotionals are tied to ethics, proper behavior, decorum, and etiquette. Some have been published in print or electronically by various authors over a period of years. As early as 1898, a “Good Manners” chart was issued to Queensland schools by the UK’s governmental education department.
Emily Post (1872 – 1960) taught the world how to behave politely. More than ever, our rude and crude culture needs the lessons she taught. Proper behavior never goes out of style. Post’s books are in high demand today, even 53 years after her death.
The Bible is in high demand, too, as our primary source for civility in an uncivilized world. So, show your manners in such a way that no one will need to ask, “Got manners?”
How do you teach manners to your children? In what situation were you glad you knew proper etiquette? Remember, good manners are not just for the elite; they are for everyone who cares about people.