Today’s blog is in honor of Father’s Day whereby we give tribute to one of the great American Founding Fathers, George Washington (1732-1799). Among his noted accolades, the first president of the United States is also known or maybe not so known for the 110 Rules of Civility. According to historian Richard Brookhiser, these writings were based on a 16th-century set of precepts compiled for young gentlemen by French Jesuit instructors; the Rules of Civility were one of the earliest and most influential maxims and principals that shaped Washington. “The rules address moral issues, but they address them indirectly,” Brookhiser writes. “They seek to form the inner man (or boy) by shaping the outer.”
So we will take pause today and become acquainted with the first ten from President Washington’s “Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation.”
1st. Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present.
2nd. When in Company, put not your Hands to any Part of the Body, not usually Discovered.
3rd. Be considerate of others. Do not embarrass others. 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…
“Happy Father’s Day!”