George-isms by George Washington | Book Review

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Don’t pick your teeth at the table. Don’t interrupt people while they’re talking. Don’t drum your fingers on the table impatiently. Don’t talk about the amount of money you have. Don’t talk with your mouth full.  Stand up to greet someone older than you when they enter your home. Don’t give wimpy handshakes. Look people in the eye when they talk to you.

Manners can sound like an overwhelming list of pointless Do’s and Don’ts to a child, but this little gem we found at the library, George-isms by the first president of the United States, makes it so much fun – even for boys! 
By the time he was 14 years old, George Washington had written down over 100 “rules,” or mannerly nuggets of wisdom he had gleaned from people he admired, and he tried his best to abide by them his whole life. They are more commonly known as “The 110 Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour,” but Gary Hovland has provided a modern translation for each social skill in this compilation meant especially for children. 
We had a blast reading a few of them each morning at breakfast! Brad would read the original rule first, and the kids took turns applying them to everyday life. Some of our favorites included: 
  • Rule 2:
    When in Company, put not your Hands to any Part of the Body, not usually Discovered.
  • Rule 12:
    Shake not the head, Feet, or Legs roll not the Eyes lift not one eyebrow higher than the other wry not the mouth, and bedew no mans face with your Spittle, by approaching too near him when you Speak.
  • Rule 23:
    When you see a Crime punished, you may be inwardly Pleased; but always show Pity to the Suffering Offender.
  • Rule 38:
    In visiting the Sick, do not Presently play the Physician if you be not Knowing therein.
  • Rule 54:
    Play not the Peacock, looking every where about you, to See if you be well Decked, if your Shoes fit well if your Stockings sit neatly, and Cloths handsomely.
  • Rule 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.
  • Rule 94:
    If you Soak bread in the Sauce let it be no more than what you put in your Mouth at a time and blow not your broth at Table but Stay till Cools of it Self.
  • Rule 105:
    Be not angry at the table whatever happens & if you have reason to be so, show it not; put on a cheerful countenance especially if there be strangers, for good humor makes one dish of meat a feast.
  • Rule 108:
    When you speak of God or his attributes, let it be seriously & with reverence. Honor & obey your natural parents although they be poor.

If you’re looking for a fun way for your kids (or yourself!) to learn manners and social etiquette, consider letting George Washington teach the lessons! George-isms is practically Dale Carnegie for kids. As an added bonus, they’ll enjoy some great literature and vocabulary from the 18th century! 

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