Oh, some of these teens today! All dressed up and she waits until the photo is snapped to stick her tongue out? — “Great knowledge and splendid ability may be so camouflaged by a veneer of bad manners that they can never break through.”
Good Manners a Splendid Asset to Boy or Girl, Man or Woman, Young or Old
Good manners form an international language which every person in the world can understand. Good manners means best of whatever comes along—putting the best foot foremost. Good manners are closely allied with optimism, for whoever saw a persistent pessimist who didn’t forget his breeding? Of course, good manners and good breeding are not exactly synomymous, but they are nearly enough so to be accepted without entering into argument in the present instance. There is nothing in the world that makes so good an impression on others as an individual’s good manners.
Every boy and girl, man and woman, should make a close study of manners and cultivate their courses of action until good manners become a regular and unbreakable habit. The parents should teach good manners to their children. The future life and the chances of business, social or professional success may hinge on the manners of any youth. And of the various kinds and classes of manners, the most Conspicuous and the most vital is table manners. Time was when a man might win and still eat with his knife. But that time is past. The “sword swallower” is just as far removed from modern life as is the ape-like of feeding with the fingers. But eating with the knife is only one of dozens of things uhich should not be done at the table.
A notable table atrocity is tucking the napkin under the chin. Another is drinking from the saucer. These mistakes, of course, are so flagrant anyone should know not to make them, but even in this enlightened ag e there are many who do not possess this knowledge or who do not have sufficient personal pride to exercise it. The little refinements, like always keeping your knife and fork on your plate when not in use, keeping your teaspoon in the saucer beside the cup when not used for stirring and never drinking tea or coffee from the spoon—these things be carefully studied, memorized and carried out in everyday life. Also not opening the lips when one chews and never making noises with the mouth while eating.
Parents should watch these things carefully in their children. The child who goes forth without a thorough knowledge of good manners and without a complete understanding of the value of good manners and the necessity for applying them is on the open road to failure. The impression that the youth—or the older person, for that matter, makes upon others is his or her greatest stock in trade. Great knowledge and splendid ability may be so camouflaged by a veneer of bad manners that they can never break through. Good manners give the same refinements to life that good clothes do to people, or artistic decorations do to rooms or buildings. There is this difference, however, that good manners cost nothing except the effort to acquire them and an occasional beneficial self-sacrifice in putting them into effect. — Evening Herald, 1921
Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia