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Do the Rules Apply?

August 30th, 2010 by stephanie

Ok, so you’re not off the hook yet. If you’ve been with us, we are working through George Washington’s 110 Rules of Civility. Now, the goal is, pick one, and work on it for the next few days. Think about it: this exercise in bettering ourselves can’t do us anything but a bit of good. I hope you are enjoying this adventure. I know that I am. We are on 31-39! 🙂
31st If any one far Surpasses others, either in age, Estate, or Merit yet would give Place to a meaner than himself in his own lodging or elsewhere the one ought not to except it, So he on the other part should not use much earnestness nor offer it above once or twice.

32nd To one that is your equal, or not much inferior you are to give the chief Place in your Lodging and he to who ‘is offered ought at the first to refuse it but at the Second to accept though not without acknowledging his own unworthiness.

33rd They that are in Dignity or in office have in all places Precedency but whilst they are Young they ought to respect those that are their equals in Birth or other Qualities, though they have no Public charge.

34th It is good Manners to prefer them to whom we Speak before ourselves especially if they be above us with whom in no Sort we ought to begin.

35th Let your Discourse with Men of Business be Short and Comprehensive. [When you speak, be concise].

36th Artificers & Persons of low Degree ought not to use many ceremonies to Lords, or Others of high Degree but Respect and highly Honor them, and those of high Degree ought to treat them with affability & Courtesy, without Arrogance.

37th In speaking to men of Quality do not lean nor Look them full in the Face, nor approach too near them at lest Keep a full Pace from them.

38th In visiting the Sick, do not Presently play the Physician if you be not Knowing therein.

39th In writing or Speaking, give to every Person his due Title According to his Degree & the Custom of the Place.

I know. It’s even an exercise in vocabulary! But think how smart and civil we will all be by 110.
Just my thoughts.

The Little Green Grasshopper that could.

August 26th, 2010 by stephanie

As I got into the car and closed the door, I suddenly noticed a very large, antennaed, green grasshopper on my left side-view mirror. Good thing I hadn’t seen it before I got in. If you know me, you know one thing well…I don’t do bugs. Truly. As I headed out to run errands, I noticed it had moved to my windshield. “Good luck,” I thought. “You’re going for a ride on the freeway!”
Sure enough, as I pulled into the bank drive through, there sat the grasshopper, still in tact. “Sheesh” I breathed out loud. “What on earth could be so special about my car?”

Pulling into the Chick-fil-a, I noticed, “Still there!” As I drove off for the freeway entrance I knew this would be the point where I would rid myself of this…thing. But I was wrong. He totally hunkered down and held on for the duration of the ride.

Arriving at my final destination, I knew it was time for some research. If this guy had managed to hang on that long, there just might be something to this. Why not grab the laptop and check out the meaning of grasshoppers. No, the symbolism of bright GREEN grasshoppers, actually. And so I did.

Apparently, the winged creatures have quite a message to tell if you’re into that kind of thing. I don’t take it too seriously, but then, he is one of God’s creations, and if God did want to get my attention, then He surely had done just that.

So here’s what I learned:

“The grasshopper is a fabulous messenger of ingenuity, resourcefulness, joy and honor. She speaks to artists, and inspires dance, song, and music.”

Hmmmm. I thought of my hopper as a guy, but you know, it could have been a girl. I read on…

“Further, the grasshopper is considered a good luck symbol in Japanese culture…and is a good luck charm as well as a symbol of fertility among Chinese symbolic language.”

Now I have to admit, the fertility part threw me for a moment. But I continued…

“The grasshopper’s coloring is significant. For instance, green grasshoppers indicate fresh starts (new beginnings), as well as the concepts of youth, rejuvination, sentimentality, nature, adventure, growth and health.”
Native Americans saw it as a messenger of good news. I liked that part. Who doesn’t look for good news!

So there you have it. The in-depth look at my grasshopper moment. If anything, that poor bug sure had an adventure that day. And if God did send “her” my way, she certainly paid a dear price to get my attention.
Just my thoughts.

The Challenge Continues: Rules 21-30

August 24th, 2010 by stephanie

Ok. So be honest. How are you doing? Have you picked one “rule” each new blog to work on for those days? Well, if you haven’t there’s still time.  Take a look at this next grouping. Remember: There are 110!!!

Pick one. And work on it for the next couple of days. Then come back, and pick a new one! Go get ’em!

21st Reproach none for the Infirmities of Nature, nor Delight to Put them that have in mind thereof.
22nd Show not yourself glad at the Misfortune of another though he were your enemy.
23rd When you see a Crime punished, you may be inwardly Pleased; but always show Pity to the Suffering Offender.
Don’t draw attention to yourself. 24th Do not laugh too loud or too much at any Public Spectacle.
25th Superfluous Complements and all Affectation of Ceremony are to be avoided, yet where due they are not to be Neglected.
26th In Pulling off your Hat to Persons of Distinction, as Noblemen, Justices, Churchmen &c make a Reverence, bowing more or less according to the Custom of the Better Bred, and Quality of the Person. Amongst your equals expect not always that they Should begin with you first, but to Pull off the Hat when there is no need is Affectation, in the Manner of Saluting and resaluting in words keep to the most usual Custom.
27th Tis ill manners to bid one more eminent than yourself be covered as well as not to do it to whom it’s due Likewise he that makes too much haste to Put on his hat does not well, yet he ought to Put it on at the first, or at most the Second time of being asked; now what is herein Spoken, of Qualification in behavior in Saluting, ought also to be observed in taking of Place, and Sitting down for ceremonies without Bounds is troublesome.
28th If any one come to Speak to you while you are are Sitting Stand up though he be your Inferior, and when you Present Seats let it be to every one according to his Degree.
29th When you meet with one of Greater Quality than yourself, Stop, and retire especially if it be at a Door or any Straight place to give way for him to Pass.
30th In walking the highest Place in most Countries Seems to be on the right hand therefore Place yourself on the left of him whom you desire to Honor: but if three walk together the middest Place is the most Honorable the wall is usually given to the most worthy if two walk together.

Geo. Washington’s Rules of Civility: 11-20

August 15th, 2010 by stephanie

Our series continues. For today…here are rules 11-20.  Which one will you work on this week? 🙂

11th Shift not yourself in the Sight of others nor Gnaw your nails.

12th Shake not the head, Feet, or Legs rowl not the Eys lift not one eyebrow higher than the other wry not the mouth, and bedew no mans face with your Spittle, by approaching too near him when you Speak.

Painting detail, "Highlife Below Stairs" 1763, by John Collet, CWF acc. no. G1991-17513th Kill no Vermin as Fleas, lice ticks &c in the Sight of Others, if you See any filth or thick Spittle put your foot Dexteriously upon it if it be upon the Cloths of your Companions, Put it off privately, and if it be upon your own Cloths return Thanks to him who puts it off.

14th Turn not your Back to others especially in Speaking, Jog not the Table or Desk on which Another reads or writes, lean not upon any one.

15th Keep your Nails clean and Short, also your Hands and Teeth Clean yet without Shewing any great Concern for them.

16th Do not Puff up the Cheeks, Loll not out the tongue rub the Hands, or beard, thrust out the lips, or bite them or keep the Lips too open or too Close.

17th Be no Flatterer, neither Play with any that delights not to be Play’d Withal.

18th Read no Letters, Books, or Papers in Company but when there is a Necessity for the doing of it you must ask leave: come not near the Books or Writings of Another so as to read them unless desired or give your opinion of them unask’d also look not nigh when another is writing a Letter.

Print of a lady as "July," CWF acc. no. 1988-291,719th let your Countenance be pleasant but in Serious Matters Somewhat grave.

20th The Gestures of the Body must be Suited to the discourse you are upon.

Ok. So, Just How Civil Are You?

August 12th, 2010 by stephanie

It was the cutest, thin, red book. I loved it. But I can’t find it anywhere. Doesn’t that just get you when that happens. This little gem was something truly valued. Yet, now, nowhere to be found. And just what was that special gem you ask? It was my very own personal copy of what has become known as Washington’s 110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation.

Now, granted, he didn’t invent these. But how many 16 years-olds do you know that actually take the time to copy by hand this type of information, carry it around, and practice the advice? Sadly, I doubt there are many.

Some of you may have forgotten that these rules were actually composed by French Jesuits in 1595. And others of you may be witnessing them for the very first time. With that, let’s begin our next venture: to take a gander at all of them over the next few weeks. Here’s your first grouping. See if you can’t work on one, or two, or…
The Rules:
1st Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present. [Treat everyone with respect.]

2nd When in Company, put not your Hands to any Part of the Body, not usually Discovered.
[Be considerate of others. Do not embarrass others.]

3rd Show Nothing to your Friend that may affright him.

4th In the Presence of Others Sing not to yourself with a humming Noise, nor Drum with your Fingers or Feet.

5th If You Cough, Sneeze, Sigh, or Yawn, do it not Loud but Privately; and Speak not in your Yawning, but put Your handkerchief or Hand before your face and turn aside.

6th Sleep not when others Speak, Sit not when others stand, Speak not when you Should hold your Peace, walk not on when others Stop.

7th Put not off your Cloths in the presence of Others, nor go out your Chamber half Dressed.

8th At Play and at Fire its Good manners to Give Place to the last Commer, and affect not to Speak Louder than Ordinary.

9th Spit not in the Fire, nor Stoop low before it neither Put your Hands into the Flames to warm them, nor Set your Feet upon the Fire especially if there be meat before it.

10th When you Sit down, Keep your Feet firm and Even, without putting one on the other or Crossing them.

Come back soon. Our series continues! And who knows, we all might be a bit more civil by the time we’ve finished!
Just my thoughts.

Washington’s Civility and Franklin’s Virtues.

August 6th, 2010 by stephanie

Ok, so most of us have heard about or are perhaps familiar with Washington’s 110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation. Based on a set of rules composed by French Jesuits in 1595, the young George copied them by hand at the age of 16.

But how many of you were aware of the 13 Virtues that Franklin had penned at the tender age of 20 (in 1726)? You may recall them. If not, I list them here:

1. “TEMPERANCE. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.”
2. “SILENCE. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.”
3. “ORDER. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.”
4. “RESOLUTION. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.”
5. “FRUGALITY. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.”
6. “INDUSTRY. Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.”
7. “SINCERITY. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.”
8. “JUSTICE. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.”
9. “MODERATION. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.”
10. “CLEANLINESS. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.”
11. “TRANQUILLITY. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.”
12. “CHASTITY. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.”
13. “HUMILITY. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.”

With that, think of the VIRTUE you might practice today. Maybe pick one a day? If anything, it will be an exercise in bettering yourself. If only even for today.
Just my thoughts. Yours?

One Lump, or Two?

August 3rd, 2010 by stephanie

As I poured my cup of coffee from the large urn that sat on the white cloth covered table outside the sanctuary doors, I suddenly realized there was a line for the cream and sugar.

A line? How hard can it be to add cream and sugar I thought?

Apparently, harder than one might imagine. The person in front of me must have gone to tech school or, at least, he definitely took chemistry. Each container and packet was carefully opened. One at a time. Then each was methodically stirred into the hot ever-changing brew.

As the steam seeped over his shoulder, his hunched back only showed the intense form with which he utilized to maintain the concentration needed for this very special and precise formula.

At this point? I was ready to tap his knees lightly from behind which would cause him to fold, then, I could elbow him to my left, slosh some cream into my cup and slip out the side door. But no. I was at church. I would have to behave.

Not an easy task when all you want is your cup of joe, and the guy in front of you has some Emeril Lagasse complex. It was painful to say the least.

Call me crazy, but when people get to the cream and sugar station, something strange overtakes them. Have you ever noticed that they suddenly forget that anyone else is in the building, let alone the vicinity? They measure and pour and stir. Then consider, and begin the entire process again while 28 of us behind them frantically check our watches (or cell or PDAs) and lament how we’re ever going to get back on schedule.

These coffee snobs are just not polite. And I am thinking I might start a Hey, there’s a boat load of us behind you. Get it together and move on campaign. (Do you think that might be a bit over the top?) Those of you who frequent your favorite coffee dispensary or cafe’ totally understand this personal angst.

Just my thoughts on this very nice day, when my elixir of the gods is getting cold while the unsuspecting space cadet in front of me gets the perfect color and taste combination as I patiently wait contemplating whether or not I’d personally be happy to offer him one lump or two. (Whew! Got that off my chest.)

Let’s just keep this little rant of mine between us today, shall we?



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