‘Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior In Company and Conversation’ is the title of a small booklet written by George Washington, our first President. What I find most amazing is that he wrote it when
he was 14 years old!!!! You read that right…I repeat, 14 years old!! In other words, George Washington was such a precocious young person, that he was thinking about the virtue of manners, i.e.how to treat people in social settings… at the age of 14!!! I can remember was I was 14…my thoughts were not on writing a book on manners!!!
The book is an easy read, because it is only 30 pages long and lists 110 rules; and many of the rules are hilarious!!! Allow me to give you several of the Rules conceived in the heart and mind of a 14 year old.
4.In the presence of others sing not to yourself with a humming noise, nor drum with your fingers or feet.
23.When you see a crime punished, you may be inwardly pleased, but always show pity to the suffering offender.
51.Wear not your clothes foul, ripped or dusty, but see that they be brushed once every day, at least, and take heed that you approach not to any uncleaness.
56.Associate yourself with men of good quality, if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company.
65.Speak not injurious words, neither in jest or earnest, scoff at none although they give occasion.
66.Be not forward but friendly and courteous; be the first to salute, hear, and answer; and be not pensive when its time to converse.
70.Reprehend not the imperfections of others, for that belongs to parents, masters, and superiors.
71.Gaze not on the marks or blemishes of others and ask not how they came. What you may speak in secret to your friend, deliver not before others.
81.Be not curious to know the affairs of others; neither approach those that speak in private.
82.Undertakd not what you cannot perform, but be careful to keep your promise.
89.Speak not evil of the absent, for it is unjust
90.Being set at meat, scratch not, neither spit, cough, or blow your nose, except if there is a necessity for it.
91.Make no show 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.
95.Put not your meat to your mouth with your knife in your hand; neither spit forth stones of any fruit pie upon a dish nor cast anything under the table.
98.Drink not, nor talk with your mouth full
100.Cleanse not your teeth with the table cloth napkin, fork, or knife; but if others do it, let it be done with a pick tooth.
101.Rinse not your mouth in the presence of others.
105.Be not angry at the table whatever happens, and if you have reason to be so, show it not; put on a cheerful countenance especially if there be strangers, for good humour makes one dish of meat a feast.
George Washington was an amazing human being!!!To write 110 rules at just 14, means he was practicing them at 10,11,12,13, etc. These ‘110 Rules’ just offer more evidence why God chose him to be our first president, and why God has blessed this nation---more than any other nation in American history!!
We do not have to know where we are going, as long as we know Who we are following!
-Dr. James O Davis, pastor