Manners in the Family; More from
Everyday Manners for American Boys and Girls 1922
By the Faculty of South Philadelphia High School for Girls 1922
There are people who think that courtesy is merely a matter of form. The manners of such people are not worth much. Sincere good manners require that a person be helpful and kind at all times, which means that good manners are closely associated with one's daily work. If you would cultivate the better kind of courtesy, there are many opportunities to do so in your own home life.
Boys, never let your mother carry coal, beat rugs, or go to the store when she is tired, if you can do the work for her. Show your appreciation of her by drying the dishes in the evening, so that she may get an opportunity to rest. Help your mother when she is tired.
Girls, you can at least make the beds, straighten the living room, and, in the evening, wash the dishes even if you are attending school. On Saturday and Sunday you have your opportunity to learn to cook and clean and to give your mother a little play time. Sometimes your mother wants to be so very kind to you that she tells you you need not help. The next time she does it, remember your manners and fall to work.
Outsiders judge you largely by the way you treat your mother. Do not impose your work on your little sisters and brothers. Always do more than they do, as you are bigger than they; and help them out when they are tired. You can never expect them to be considerate if you do not set a good example. Work quickly and carefully and quietly. If you put your best efforts into your task, you will find yourself enjoying it.
A thorough piece of work, no matter what it may be, is always a great satisfaction to the doer. Aside from this, you should endeavor to do your work cheerfully, because your mother is very little benefited by your labor if you are cross and disagreeable. Remember too that the skill and ease with which you accomplish the small home tasks are the best possible preparation for the big tasks you will meet later on.
Take care of the things you handle while you are working around the house. Do not let the baby's doll be broken, or your sister's book be mislaid. Do not throw into the waste paper basket the composition over which your brother has toiled hard, even though he has left it very untidily on the table. Your good breeding shows nowhere more markedly than in the care you take of the things other people value. Always thank a member of your family for any favor as graciously as you would an outsider, and remember that "Please" is a helpful word anywhere. Don't say "Thanks"; it sounds ungracious. "Many thanks, Mother" or "Thank you, Fred" are much pleasanter expressions of appreciation.
PROBLEMS: WHO WILL SOLVE THEM?
1. Suppose that a child has never formed the habit of greeting his family with a smiling "Good morning!" — how can he learn to do it? What may make it difficult at first? How can he overcome this difficulty?
2. Each of you may make a list of things that you might do when you go home to-day that would help your mother. How can you get into the habit of helping her every day?
3. What do you think of beginning now a manners drive? You must do the planning for slogans, posters, scenes, plays, tags. These all help to arouse interest and to fix facts.
Here are two suggestions for manners slogans. Can you add others?
Life is not so short but that there is always time enough for courtesy. — Emerson.
Family intimacy should never make brothers and sisters forget to be polite to each other. — Silvia Pellico.