Monday, July 1, 2019

Avalon Chronicles #98: "Civility-Part One"

Avalon Chronicles #98: "Civility-Part One'

by the Honorable Allen B. Clark

It was a privilege for my ninth and tenth grades (1956-1958) to have been a high school student at a Catholic high school, Gonzaga, at Eye and North Capitol St., just a few blocks north of the U.S. Capitol bldg. in Washington, D.C. I was one of only a handful of non-Catholics in the school. It was an extraordinary educational experience and I will always be grateful with the greatest admiration for my Jesuit instructors. When we first became freshman, we all received a pamphlet from the school titled "Manners and the Man." We were an all boys school. I have kept the pamphlet all these years and just came across it again recently. It would be apropos for young ladies also. My own personal comments are bracketed.

There are chapters on good manners: in church; introductions; personal appearance; school; library; auditorium; table; restaurant; theater; miscellaneous; and most importantly, good morals. Some of the most striking, important, and relevant information include the following below noted, which will be direct quotes, admittedly without permission, but I am assuming my former school authorities will be pleased to have attention directed to some of their teachings besides academics.

"The most precious minutes in your life are those when Christ is really, truly, and substantially present in your heart in Holy Communion....Adore Him, pray to Him, talk with Him."

"Mention first the name of the person to whom you are introducing someone: 'Mrs. Smith, this is Mr. Jones.' You are introducing Mr. Jones to Mrs. Smith....Men are always introduced to women...Single men are introduced to married men...Young are introduced to older...Men always rise, if they are seated, when an introduction is made..."

"Whether fairly or not a man is often judged by his personal appearance...Your personal appearance is your identification card in the business world and your card of introduction to new friends...Your face should always be clean-shaven." [Obviously facial hair should be neatly trimmed]. "Do not appear in public in slovenly dress."

"A truly educated person has good manners. Your knowledge will benefit you very little in the business and social world if you are without good manners...Boorish people are shunned by others: selfish people are disliked...refinement makes a man of strong character...The strongest character and the greatest refinement were found in Christ...Learn to profit by your mistakes...If you think there has been some misunderstanding in your regard, do not raise the issue in the class room; see the teacher after class and then courteously talk to him." [A tenet of leadership and interpersonal relationships is to praise in public and admonish in private].

"The boy who has cultivated a taste for good books has possession of a habit that will bring him untold pleasure in later years. Don't read trash. It is a waste of time to read cheap and vulgar magazines and books; it is dangerous; and in some cases may be sinful. Keep your mind clean and pure." [In today's world there are even more arenas in which one may indulge in areas in the internet especially that are definitely demeaning, vulgar, and sinful by God's standards].

'Dining is a fine art. To dine graciously is a mark of distinction...The well-bred man by his ease and grace will give the impression that the actual eating of food is a matter of secondary consideration."

"Grace should be said in every Catholic home before all meals...The hostess is the first to start eating...In general at a formal course dinner, you use the silver, beginning withe farthest from your plate and working in. Never, never pass any comment on the food...(except) a (short) complimentary word....Chew with your lips closed...Never use a toothpick in public....Never speak with food in your mouth...In all things or anywhere be the man of manners. If you are, you will always be a welcome guest and long remembered as a man of culture and refinement."

"Always be respectful to your elders. Any person is lacking in good manners who has not the proper respect for age.... Maintain the greatest respect for and love of your country. When the national anthem is played or when the flag passes by, stand at attention with your head uncovered." [And your hand over your heart].

"A woman precedes a man on entering an automobile, a street car, or train; the man leaves first and assists a woman to alight...Never discuss private family affairs even with your best friends...[especially where anyone nearby can overhear you]....Always answer correspondence promptly, whether it is business or social correspondence...If you have been an overnight guest in some friend's home, you should write a note of thanks."

[ Always send a written or email note with gratitude for being a guest at a meal, upon receiving advice or feedback, or receiving any item worthy of a courteous response. Cancel engagements with as much advance notice as possible. If it is obligatory that a negative message or letter is to be sent, wait at least overnight to be certain it is merited].

In this age and time of incredible incivility and ill manners, especially in our media, public life, especially in the political arena, and in our daily expressions of conduct in actions and words, good and high-minded behavior and discourse will always serve one well in daily life. One's good manners will always set one above the level of the common and mundane in society. Graciousness will always be appreciated and be a worthy attribute.

Pray daily that one would be bound to the character and attributes of God: Righteousness, Holiness, Integrity, and Purity.

No comments:

Post a Comment