Our Children and Morning Manners
Manners are always shy at getting up in the morning. Perhaps they are the last of our accomplishments to waken, but surely, whatever the reason, they are conspicuously absent in the general family breakfast gathering. The children scrambling to be off on time for school, add to the unpleasantness. They are without a shadow of manners before noon! “Shut up!” snaps Jane. “Why don’t you step on my ear?” growls brother George. “Can't you remember there’s somebody else at the breakfast table beside yourself?” flares big sister. “I’m striving hard to forget it,” retorts Big Brother and having for once been equal to the occasion be forthwith unbounds and in beaming good humor passes the sugar to his offended sister. There's something about us that works that way.
Once we get a chance to work off a bit of our bad manners in ill-humored speech or need we feel better immediately and the day takes on a more hopeful glow. We begin to thaw out and our manners steal back one by one like guilty sheep that had gone astray. There is none among us who has not been guilty and who has not wished and hoped for a happier morning mood. “Perhaps!” we muse, “the children will manage better. Their manners may hold over until the morning. Perhaps!" For the children’s sakes, let’s hope so. It is as hard to be had mannered as it is to bear the bad matters of those who wreak them upon us. What can wo do to prop the children’s morning manners? Begin the night before. Send them to bed on time and in the right mood. Watch them fold and arrange their clothes so that they will be easy to find and put on in the morning. That's a big part of the battle. Call them on time and see that they get their turn in the bathroom.
Bathroom etiquette has a great deal to do with the good humor and consequent good manners of the family In the mornings. The person who monopolizes the bathroom for shaving or hairdressing or private laundry work is an outcast and an alien, and should be dealt with accordingly. Also the person who splashes about like a mislaid whale and flaps out leaving his watery wake to fluster the next comer. Who wouldn't be snorty at finding the tub one-third full of milky water, with a dreary washrag floating about in it, or a hairknot, with a buuch of hairpins sticking in it, afloat on the edge of the lavatory? Morning manners are always bad, always have been bad, but perhaps we might do a little toward improving them even if it were breakfasting alone when the mood was too bad or staying up all night and prolonging the genial manner of the mellower hours? Anyway try to make It a bit easier for the children. – By Angelo Patri, 1923
Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia