Happy Independence Day


Happy Independence Day to all my American family and friends. My Boyds Bear wall calendar shows the sweet fluffy family all dressed and ready for the celebrations. These bears look far less fearsome than my Grizzlys on yesterday’s post. πŸ™‚

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The quote for the month captured my attention, so I had to investigate it, and I discovered that it’s the final rule taken from the 110 “Rules of civility and decent behaviour in company and conversation,” composed by French Jesuits in 1595. These rules were all copied out as part of an exercise in penmanship assigned by the young George Washington’s school master. The essence of this set of rules is that we should treat everyone with respect, be considerate of others and don’t embarrass them. We should refrain from drawing attention to ourselves, be concise when we speak and not make fun of anything which is important to others. If we must criticise someone,Β  we need to make sure we’re not guilty of the same failing, and shouldn’t be quick to believe bad reports about others. We should associate with good people, and rather be alone than in bad company. There are also many references to table manners and matters of correct dress, as well as these two interesting items. “Shake not the head, feet, or legs. Roll not the eyes. Lift not one eyebrow higher than the other. Wry not the mouth, and bedew no man’s face with your spittle by approaching too near him when you speak. Kill no vermin as fleas, lice, ticks etc in the sight of others. If you see any filth or thick spittle, put your foot dexterously upon it.” You can read all 110 rules here if you would like to. I found them quite fascinating.

This great man who served two terms as the first US President, realised that the way he handled this onerous job would impact on how future presidents approached the position. Consequently, he handed down a legacy of strength, integrity and national purpose.

George Washington Monument, Washington DC

George Washington Monument, Washington DC

I’m sure that learning all those rules at such an early age, must have had something to do with it, and I think the last one which appears on my calendar, is the most important of all. Perhaps an updated version of these rules to live by, should be introduced into schools, and should certainly be readΒ  and inwardly digested by all prospective world leaders. What do you think?

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53 comments on “Happy Independence Day

  1. Very interesting post AD, I’ve always believed that good manners form the social lubricant that allows people to live in such close proximity to other people. Otherwise we would continuously rub each other up the wrong way. Sad that popular culture tends to portray manners as an outdated concept. It is so interesting when watching period dramas like Downton Abbey and The Paradise to observe how conflict is handled with great decorum and even respect for the other party.

    • Thanks, Optie. Yes, I’m dismayed at the lack of decorum and bad manners, currently being displayed by a certain prominent family in our country. 😦

  2. The world needs these rules more than ever before! You are right, it should be mandatory reding in schools πŸ™‚

  3. Hope your Holiday was nice, Sylvia! These “rules” are a perfect reminder that if “we spot it – we probably got it” :)) Our leaders may not follow these rules in this day & age, but that doesn’t men we as individuals should stop following them. Great post and a great shot of the GW monument!

  4. You know my view on manners. No matter who you are, where you live or how old you are, those rules are still valid, even in today’s day and age, regardless of how few people seem to HAVE any manners!!!

  5. I really enjoyed reading these rules “bedew no man’s face with your spittle” – what a great word bedew is! I haven’t heard that in years. Happy 4 July to all our American friends πŸ˜€

  6. Hip hip hooray, it’s Independence Day! Have a nice one πŸ™‚
    Washington seemed a decent guy. Politicians- pah!!! Bears rule.

  7. I’ve always been a bit of a rebel, so all those rules tend to annoy me. I believe it’s all about treating others with kindness and respect. That’s quite enough for me. πŸ˜€

  8. Those bears are so cute πŸ™‚ Unfortunately I don’t think our leaders would be able to follow any of those rules 😦

    • Yes the bears are cute….but only to look at. πŸ™‚ You’re so right about our so-called leaders. They make up the rules as they go along. 😦

  9. “Perhaps an updated version of these rules to live by, should be introduced into schools, and should certainly be read and inwardly digested by all prospective world leaders.”

    There was certainly some sage advice there. I particularly appreciated, “and bedew no man’s face with your spittle by approaching too near him when you speak.”

    “bedew” is certainly more poetic than I would have put it, but it’s certainly worthy advice!

  10. Happy Independence Day, too. What a thorough explanation of a pertinent rule of behavior. That is one moral code that unfortunately gets trampled on.

  11. Last year I was in Chicago … today and I was so disappointed on what Chicago had on offer for the 4th of July – not even the fireworks were worth watching – I had this picture about how FAB the celebrations should be everywhere in US. Anyhow have a fantastic day and evening … love your bear family.

    • Thanks, Viveka. I think some cities celebrate in a more spectacular way than others. I believe Brooklyn is an excellent place to watch the 4th July fireworks. πŸ™‚

  12. Thanks for this! It’s odd being away from home on a holiday and I appreciate any bit of home I can get. Washington was an interesting man. And his integrity in office astounds me. I can’t imagine the pressure he was under and he set a great example. Too bad not everyone follows it now.

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