Monday, January 18, 2010

I am reading The Real George Washington, and I found this passage very interesting. The young Washington studied a French publication called Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior. If we all studied and practiced this today, I think the world would be a nicer place to live.

  • In the presence of others, sing not to yourself with a humming noise, nor drum with your fingers or feet.
  • Kill no vermin, as fleas, lice, ticks, etc., in the sight of others.
  • Spit not into the fire, ... nor set your feet upon the fire, especially if there be meat before it.
  • Cleanse not your teeth with the tablecloth, napkin, fork, or knife.

  • These specifics are interesting and instructive, but I was really fascinated with the guidance more oriented to public behavior and interaction with others:
  • Let your countenance be pleasant, but in serious matters somewhat grave.
  • Show not yourself glad at the misfortune of another, though he were your enemy.
  • In writing or speaking, give to every person his due title according to his degree and the custom of the place.
  • When a man does all he can, though it succeeds not well, blame not him that did it.
  • Strive not with your superiors in argument, but always submit your judgment to others with modesty.
  • Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for 'tis better to be alone than in bad company.
  • Let your conversation be without malice or envy ... And in all causes of passion admit reason to govern.
  • Undertake not what you cannot perform, but be careful to keep your promise.
  • When you speak of God and His attributes, let it be seriously and with reverence. Honor and obey your natural parents although they be poor.
  • Let your recreations be manful, not sinful.

  • Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.

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