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Be Good To Yourself

The Home As A School Of Good Manners

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Not long ago I visited a home where such exceptionally good breeding prevailed and such fine manners were practiced by all the members of the family, that it made a great impression upon me.

This home is the most remarkable school of good manners, refinement, and culture generally, I have ever been in. The parents are bringing up their children to praxes their best manners on all occasions. They do not know what company manners mean.

The boys have been taught to treat their sisters with as much deference as though they were stranger guests. The politeness, courtesy, and consideration which the members of this family show toward one another are most refreshing and beautiful. Coarseness, gruffness, lack of delicacy find no place there.

Both boys and girls have been trained from infancy to make themselves interesting, and to entertain and try to make others happy.

The entire family make it a rule to dress before dinner in the evening, just as they would if special company were expected.

Their table manners are specially marked. At table everyone is supposed to be at their best, not to bring any grouse, or a long or sad face to it, but to contribute their best thought, their wittiest sayings, to the conversation. Every member of the family is expected to do their best to make the meal a really happy occasion. There is a sort of rivalry to see who can be the most entertaining, or contribute the spiciest bits of conversation.

There is no indication of dyspepsia in this family, because everyone is trained to laugh and be happy generally and laughter is a fatal enemy of indigestion. The etiquette of the table is also strictly observed. Every member of the family tries to do just the proper thing and always to be mindful of others' rights. Kindness seems to be practiced for the joy of it, not for the sake of creating a good impression on friends or acquaintances.

There is in this home an air of peculiar refinement which is very charming. The children are early taught to greet callers and guests cordially, heartily, in real Southern, hospitable fashion, and to make them feel that they are very welcome. They are taught to make everyone feel comfortable and at home, so that there will be no sense of restraint.

As a result of this training the children have formed a habit of good behavior and are considered an acquisition to any gathering. They are not embarrassed by the awkward slips and breaks which are so mortifying to those who only wear their company manners on special occasions.

A stranger would almost think this home was a school of good breeding, and it is a real treat to visit these people. It is true the parents in this family have the advantage of generations of fine breeding and Southern hospitality back of them, which gives the children a great natural advantage. There is an atmosphere of chivalry and cordiality in this household which is really refreshing.

Many parents seem to expect that their children will pick up their good manners outside of the home, in school, or while visiting. This is a fatal mistake. Every home should be a school of good manners and good breeding. The children should be taught that there is nothing more important than the development of an interesting personality, an attractive presence, and an ability to entertain with grace and ease. They should be taught that the great object of life is to develop a superb personality, a noble manhood and womanhood.

There is no art like that of a beautiful behavior, a fine manner, no wealth greater than that of a pleasing personality.

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