Monday, December 29, 2008

The Most Basic Rules of Home Manners and Why

One of the most asked questions about etiquette is, “Why do we have these rules and what wise guy made them up?”
You can respond to this question by telling a story:
About 11,000 years ago, humans made a big change in the way they lived. They found they did not have to continually roam through the forest hunting animals and gathering nuts and berries to eat. Instead, humans learned about planting seeds and domesticating animals. They discovered that they could live in one place, and survival was not such a desperate daily struggle. They had more food, more leisure time, and a greater sense of security.
Soon after, humans began to develop ways of getting along with each other with as little fighting, anger, and confusion as possible. They even began to eat together at the communal table, and you can imagine what this would have been like without rules.
During the 11,000 years between then and now, the rules changed and evolved as ways of living and relating developed. But the reasons for these rules are as valid now as they were at the beginning.
Young people like things summarized. So you can tell them that two basic guidelines have held up through the centuries and form a dual bedrock of good manners:
  • Be kind.
  • Treat people with respect.
The second most asked question is, “What’s in it for me?” You can answer this question by telling your child: “Learning the rules of etiquette will give you self-confidence. If you know how to behave wherever you are, you will be more at ease, and you will be able to put those around you at ease. People will get the message that you are one together person.”
You can go on to say that another reason to know the rules of etiquette is that people will treat you with respect if you treat them with respect.

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