Principal Ponderings – The Rules of Civility

I don’t know about you, but it seems our society (leaders included!) is doing a fantastic job “speaking its mind,” oftentimes rudely and without consideration of the rights and feelings of others. In other words- I fear we’re losing our “civility.” After a recent Junior High Chapel addressing the topic of a critical spirit, I thought it was a good time to hit the “reset” button and call ALL of us back to the basics of honoring one another both here at school, and at home.

I shared a sort of “top ten list” from an old source I found years ago while on a trip to George Washington’s home at Mt. Vernon. The Rules of Civility are a collection of over a hundred maxims that were found to have been copied/recorded by George Washington when he was sixteen years old. Evidently professors were still teaching penmanship back then! This handbook of “words to live by” likely originated in France in the late sixteenth century and were used to copy while children were practicing their spelling and their handwriting! You can find the list online these days, but I’m passing along some of my favorites for you to enjoy… and, to take to heart. I’m copying EXACTLY as George recorded the phrases in his penmanship book- old English spelling (or poor spelling) and all!

  • Play not the Peacock, looking every where about you,to See if you be well Deck’t, if your Shoes fit well if your Stokings sit neatly, and Cloths handsomely.
  • When your Superiours talk to any Body hearken not neither Speak nor Laugh.
  • Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present.
  • Sleep not when others Speak, Sit not when others stand, Speak not when you Should hold your Peace, walk not on when others Stop.
  • At Play and at Fire its Good manners to Give Place to the last Commer, and affect not to Speak Louder than Ordinary.
  • Turn not your Back to others especially in Speaking,Jog not the Table or Desk on which Another reads or writes, lean not upon anyone.
  • When you see a Crime punished, you may be inwardly Pleased; but always shew Pity to the Suffering Offender.
  • When you meet with one of Greater Quality than yourself, Stop, and retire especially if it be at a Door or any Straight placeto give way for him to Pass.
  • Labour to keep alive in your Breast that Little Spark of Ce[les]tial fire Called Conscience.

I especially like that last one.

Many times each day, your children are doing the right things, the honorable things, most of the time. We’re so grateful for that! But admittedly, sometimes they’re not (sometimes, we’re not, right?). I urge you to add your personal “seal of approval” for the ways you see your child living out some of these thoughts, along with passing on admonishments for those still “under construction”- which is where I’m still living. May we all dispense grace – more grace – to each other in the days to come!

Next Steps

We hope you prayerfully consider NorthCreek and encourage you to take the proper steps in applying for our school.