Saturday, December 12, 2015

Etiquette and Education

Good manners should be taught to very young children, and the inculcation of the principles and practice of polite society should be continued throughout the whole period of adolescence.

Child, Where Did You Learn Your Good Manners?

WRITING from New York, where the rush and bustle of crowded city life make incivilities the rule and courtesy the exception, Margery Rex declares that the public school authorities of that city contemplate including the teaching of politeness in the educational curriculum.

Good manners should be taught to very young children, and the inculcation of the principles and practice of polite society should be continued throughout the whole period of adolescence; indeed it should not stop with the adult, but become a habit to follow one through life. 


Good manners ought to be taught at home, and are the more easily inculcated by force of example. But when parents are ignorant of, or indifferent to, the courtesies of domestic life—deference to one’s elders, chivalrous attention of the masculine to the feminine, the helping hand to smaller and weaker ones, repression of one’s own selfishness and tender of kindly offices at table and in the daily goings and comings—when these courtesies are quite disregarded by the elders it cannot be expected that children will show the gentlemanly and ladylike traits of good breeding. 

So that if normal courtesies and conventions of etiquette are not taught at home it becomes doubly necessary that the school strive to make amends. Else it will happen that in the crucible of the schoolroom and playground the mixture of good manners and bad will result in lowering the average rather than raising it. Children somehow learn evil from each other more readily than good. But that is because no child is ideal to another child. 

Juvenile ideals are the grownups. The father and mother first have most influence over the growing child, the school teachers next, and thereafter other elder persons of distinction and accomplishments. Politeness is not natural to children, because every child is a little savage and a bigger barbarian before it can be civilized. 

In a land of independence and of struggle to attain the high prizes, the amenities of self-denial in little things are an efflorescence of later life. Good manners should be the accompaniment of learning. They deserve to be incorporated as a course of study from kindergarten to university. — 1921 Los Angeles Herald

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