Are Etiquette and Good Manners a Lost Art?
In keeping with this month's theme of good manners, especially as it applies to young people, I decided to post some of the norms of etiquette and manners that were taught to children in the early Twentieth Century. Children were often taught manners at the dinner table. Are we less mannerly than previous generations? If so, is it because we struggle to even sit down at the dinner table as a family because of our busy lifestyles?
Here are some of the “Rules of Etiquette” young people were expected to follow at the turn of the Twentieth Century.
General Rules of Etiquette for Ladies and Gentlemen
13 Mannerisms to be avoided by all:
1. Whispering or pointing in company.
2. Giving attention to only one person when more are present.
3. Contradicting parents, friends, or strangers.
4. Laughing loudly.
5. Making noise with hands and feet.
6. Leaning on the shoulder or chair of another.
7. Throwing things instead of handing them.
8. Crowding or bumping elbows.
9. Contempt in looks, words, or actions.
10. Drawing attention to self with dress.
11. Lending a borrowed book.
12. Reading when there is company, or when others are speaking.
13. Laughing at the mistakes of others.
Manners appropriate for all:
1. To be gentle and patient with others.
2. To remember that while speech is wonderful, it is sometimes better to be silent.
3. Speak with a gentle tone and never in anger.
4. Learn to deny yourself and put others first.
5. Give applause only by clapping hands – not by kicking or stamping feet.
6. Rise to one’s feet when an older person or dignitary enters the room.
All this makes me wonder: How many of these rules do any of us consider important today?
Perhaps there is a case to be made for bringing some of them back? I'll leave that decision to you.