Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The Next 20

Here are the next twenty maxims of George Washington's "Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation". Enjoy!

(Ferry Farm, c. 1744)
81st Be not Curious to Know the Affairs of Others neither approach those that Speak in Private.

82nd Undertake not what you cannot Perform but be Careful to keep your Promise.

83rd When you deliver a matter do it without Passion & with Discretion, however mean the Person be you do it too.

84th When your Superiours talk to any Body hearken not neither Speak nor Laugh.

85th In Company of these of Higher Quality than yourself Speak not til you are ask'd a Question then Stand upright put off your Hat & Answer in few words.

86th In Disputes, be not So Desireous to Overcome as not to give Liberty to each one to deliver his Opinion and Submit to the Judgment of the Major Part especially if they are Judges of the Dispute.

87th Let thy carriage be such as becomes a Man Grave Settled and attentive to that which is spoken. Contradict not at every turn what others Say.

88th Be not tedious in Discourse, make not many Digressigns, nor repeat often the Same manner of Discourse.

89th Speak not Evil of the absent for it is unjust.

90th Being Set at meat Scratch not neither Spit Cough or blow your Nose except there's a Necessity for it.

(All great - especially #90 during flu season. Now, on to more Table Manners)

91st Make no Shew of taking great Delight in your Victuals, Feed not with Greediness; cut your Bread with a Knife, lean not on the Table neither find fault with what you Eat.

92nd Take no Salt or cut Bread with your Knife Greasy.

93rd Entertaining any one at table it is decent to present him wt. meat, Undertake not to help others undesired by the Master.

94th If you Soak bread in the Sauce let it be no more than what you put in your Mouth at a time and blow not your broth at Table but Stay till Cools of it Self.

95th Put not your meat to your Mouth with your Knife in your hand neither Spit forth the Stones of any fruit Pye upon a Dish nor Cast anything under the table.

96th It's unbecoming to Stoop much to ones Meat Keep your Fingers clean & when foul wipe them on a Corner of your Table Napkin.

97th Put not another bit into your Mouth til the former be Swallowed let not your Morsels be too big for the Gowls.

98th Drink not nor talk with your mouth full neither Gaze about you while you are a Drinking.

99th Drink not too leisurely nor yet too hastily. Before and after Drinking wipe your Lips. breath not then or Ever with too Great a Noise, for its uncivil.

100th Cleanse not your teeth with the Table Cloth Napkin Fork or Knife but if Others do it let it be done wt. a Pick Tooth.

There you have it - And we wondered where our parents came up with their rules for the dinner table. Can't you hear them? .....Get your elbows off the table....don't blow on your soup.....don't talk with your mouth full.... Bet you say the same things to your kids!

I am amazed at how many people haven't been taught good table manners! I've seen some incredible things sitting across from "folks". One of my favs is "Lets see how much I can stuff in my mouth!" Why take small bites when you can put it all in there at once? Is this an efficiency move? Doesn't matter - its disgusting!

As we journey through life, one of the greatest skills we can improve upon is how well we relate with others. There have been some great books written about relatability: "How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing with People" by Les Giblin and Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People" are a couple of classics. And "Leadership Tidbits and Treasures" by Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward also spring to mind. Great books all.

But don't forget - your table manners tell a lot about you! Check yourself here!