One of my favorite things about a being a parent is having someone to listen to my accumulated trivia. Lately, I have reached the point in parenthood where my children are beginning to pose questions that sometimes stress my intellect. For instance, “Dad, what is manners?”
I usually try to give a clear and concise definitions.
“Well, manners are the principles that govern proper social behavior.” I replied.
I sat back in my chair and smiled, feeling satisfied with my quick thinking without consulting the dictionary.
A moment later the child asked, “Dad, what’s principles?”
This is what I mean by testing my intellect. I’m afraid their curiosity is about to outpace me. At any rate, I am going to attempt a more thorough answer to the original question, because some things require not only clarity, but elaboration.
Manners, best-beloved, are what my Mom and Dad taught me little by little and day by day about how to act around folks.
– Keep your elbows off the table
– Say ma’am and sir
– Keep your feet off the table
– Don’t talk with your mouth full
– Don’t interrupt someone
– Hold the door open for a lady
– Stand up and let a lady or an elder take your chair
– Don’t invite yourself anywhere
– Don’t cuss
– Use your blinker
– Cover your mouth when you cough, sneeze, or yawn
– Don’t smack (chewing with mouth open)
– Don’t ask someone how much money they make
– Don’t ask someone how much they paid for something
– Wipe your feet
– Don’t wear a hat indoors, unless you are a lady and the hat is classy
– Don’t yell inside
– Answer when someone speaks to you
– Don’t stare
– Don’t pick your nose
– Don’t take the last piece of chicken
– Don’t scratch
– Don’t spit
– Don’t reach over someone’s plate
– Don’t grab or snatch
– Don’t talk about gross things at the dinner table
– Don’t tell dirty jokes
– Don’t laugh at dirty jokes
Now this is not an exhaustive list, best-beloved, and we’ll add things as we come to them, but we have to start somewhere. If you follow these guidelines, when you come something you are unsure about you’ll probably make the right decision. Just do what your Mother would do and you’ll be ok.