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Table Manners

line Table Manners

When George Washington was sixteen years old he wrote down a list of 110 “Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation.” This list of rules, found in a 16th century guidebook, was intended to assist him in shaping his behavior in order to improve his general moral fiber.  From rules such as – How to comport oneself in company or how to take and give criticism or general guidelines on table manners, Washington took these rules seriously and worked hard to follow them.  In so doing, he put in place a groundwork that served him well his entire life. As an adult, Washington was well respected, not only for his accomplishments, but for how he comported himself in public. Today, the practice of such rules has become even more of a rarity than it was during Washington’s lifetime.

Of course, Americans always admire those who are naturally dignified. In sports, entertainment, or politics, it is clear to us when someone is well respected.  On the other hand, we’ve all run into many rude, obnoxious or selfish people, and sometimes it seems as if a majority of people have little grasp of etiquette and how to behave respectfully toward others. Fortunately, it is not impossible to teach your children the same etiquette lessons Washington used to distinguish himself.

Subsequent Frank Manners articles will address the rules by which Washington lived and present them in an applicable fashion, both for you, and your children. While some of the rules are a little stuffy, the majority of them are still highly relevant today.