mind your manners | secrets of a southern lady, part three

It’s the 10th!  I’m on time – and coincidentally, this month’s topic is manners.  Go figure. Find out more about the project here.  Also, the pictures don’t necessarily have to do with this month’s topic, but they are old ones of me and Mama and I think that’s awesome.


Mind your manners.

I think manners and propriety are incredibly important to individuals, families, and society as a whole.  The degradation of society is directly related to the degradation of manners and just plain old politeness, if you ask me.  And proper grammar.  That’s also essential.  I’m sure I get this idea from Mama who did her best to ensure that we were quite proper at all times.  Now, there were many times we fell short, and many times I’m sure she was afraid to show her face in public after some of our antics, but she kept trying and it paid off.  I hope….


Here are her tips and a few of the things I learned. It’s an ever-growing list as I come across things that to me seem like common sense but apparently aren’t. These are also not everyone’s manners and I totally get that. This is just how my Mama raised me.

At Mealtime:

  • Don’t begin eating until everyone has been served.
  • ALWAYS eat together at the table. NEVER eat standing up.
  • Set the table with a tablecloth and plate, silverware, napkin, drink at everybody’s place.  Even if it’s just paper products, set the table.
  • Pass the food around, not across.
  • No hats.
  • Wait for the host and hostess (Mama and Dad on regular nights) to take the first bite before beginning to eat.
  • Say Grace before every meal.
  • Set your knife and fork down between every bite.
  • Stay at the table until excused.
  • Plus the usual stuff like not reaching, not talking with your mouth full, only having dinner-appropriate conversations, etc.


Around Others:

  • Be polite.
  • Shake hands when being introduced.
  • Always respectfully acknowledge others by speaking directly to them or by responding to texts, phone calls, or emails, even if just to say you received the message.
  • Be humble.
  • Don’t judge. While there are standards, there can be freedom from judgement. You haven’t walked in their shoes.
  • Be friendly. Wave and say “hello”.
  • Open doors for others…men & boys for women and girls – even if it means going out of your way to do so.
  • Be gracious to EVERYONE no matter how you feel about them. Put yourself in their shoes.
  • In conversation, listen like that person is the most interesting person on earth. It’s hard but always worth it.
  • Realize you don’t have “rights.” You are not more important than the people around you and you “deserve” nothing.
  • Be considerate of others…put their needs before your own.
  • Put away your cell phone.
  • Say “Ma’am” and “Sir” and always address your elders as Ms./Mrs. ______ or Mr. _______
  • Speak clearly, openly, and honestly but without being boastful or loud.
  • NEVER interrupt.  When applicable, children should wait until their parents are finished talking before getting attention.


As a Guest:

  • If overnight, make your bed and keep all personal things neat and orderly.
  • Clean up after yourself: leave the bathroom clean.
  • Help clean the kitchen.
  • Unless it is a basic necessity (like “Can I use your bathroom?”) or specifically told otherwise by the hostess (like “Dig through the cabinets if you get hungry”), don’t make requests or demands. Wait until you’re offered, then politely accept and enjoy it or politely decline.
  • Don’t complain or whine or criticize. About anything. If they have cats and you’re a dog person, suck it up. This isn’t your house.
  • Don’t put your feet on the furniture.
  • If you have the opportunity, replace what you’ve used or reciprocate. If you drink the milk, buy new. If you drive their car (or if it is being used for errands for your benefit), fill up the tank with gas.
  • Dress appropriately.
  • Respect others’ property by being careful and treating their things better than you would your own.
  • Follow their rules without question or complaint or pushing boundaries.
  • Maintain a positive, cheerful attitude.
  • Offer to serve others or help out with chores – there is no such thing as “relaxing”.
  • Put away your cell phone. You are there to spend time with your hosts, not keep to yourself. Be engaging and participate.


When Shopping:

  • Return unwanted merchandize to it’s place.
  • If your child gets fussy, take him/her out of the store.
  • Leave close parking spaces for the elderly.
  • Help those who seem to need help.
  • Be polite to sales staff.
  • Take off your hat indoors. (Or when speaking to women/elders)

Next month’s topic is:

 august :: family God, family, football is the order of priorities in my house and mama made sure she passed on what she knew about being a good wife and mother (and football fan).  What did she pass on to you about how to have your own family?

I’ll be posting on August 10th so get ready!

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2 thoughts on “mind your manners | secrets of a southern lady, part three

  1. Pingback: mama knows best | chuck and welly

  2. Aw!! This is really fun! Just think…if everyone used their manners, what a wonderful world this would be!! Good job, Hon! Love, Mom (And I love the pictures!!)

I love comments. Did you also threaten to burn down your kitchen? Do you know how to get dogs (or ducks) to stop digging holes? Please tell me about it.

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