|"Listen here... It serves a good purpose to keep a little mental notebook of the things which annoy us in others."|
Learning Courtesy and Avoiding Rudeness in Manners is Quite as Essential in One Who Desires to Be Esteemed a Gentleman
A High School boy has made a request for a series of articles on good manners. The boy may acquire good manners if he will indulge every day in a little self-analysis until he finds that the fundamental principle of good manners is kindness of heart.
Next comes consideration of others. Never to indulge in any habit of conduct or speech which can annoy, wound or displease without good cause those with whom we associate—that is the platform on which we can easily build a structure of good manners.
While it is an excellent rule to pass lightly over the faults ot others and to dwell upon their worthy qualities and virtues, it serves a good purpose to keep a little mental notebook of the things which annoy us in others, but to keep these notes only as reminders of the things we do not wish ourselves to do or say.
A man who was eager for an education and who had acquired the principles of correct grammatical expression was thrown much with illiterate people in his dally association. After some years he became notable for his elegance of language, and his fine powers of conversation. He was asked how he managed to avoid acquiring the slip-shod expressions and grammatical mistakes of his companions.
This Man Learns on Mistakes of Others
The man answered, "Whenever one of my comrades or acquaintances uses an expression which I know to be incorrect I mentally say the phrase as it should be said. "For instance, when I hear a man say, ‘I done it,’ or ‘I seen a feller do that,’ ‘I hadn’t got it,’ or similar phrases, I repeat mentally, 'I did it,’ 'I saw a man do that,' ‘I haven't it,’ etc... I never permit one of those expressions to pass by without my mental correction. “In that way my mental notebook is filled with the right expressions, and the wrong ones do not come to me when I wish to speak.” This is an excellent rule for the acquiring of good language. The same rule can be applied to manners.
Whoever wounds us by rudeness, vulgarity, loud talking in public places, or other disagreeable habits, should be observed and remembered only as a guard to better manners for ourselves in these matters. Any bright, intelligent youth, ambitious to acquire a pleasing deportment, needs only to watch and listen to the well-bred people of his acquaintance to obtain a foundation for good manners, and a knowledge of the right things to do. Then by reading out of his mental notebook the things which he has found displeasing to himself in others, he can soon acquire a long list of the things not to do. —Ella Wheeler Wilcox, 1915
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