25 September 2009

Oh, To Be a Parent In Colonial Times

Last summer, we visited Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, and I purchased (but forgot until Brent found it a couple of days ago) a pamphlet called "The School of Manners OR Rules for Children's Behaviour".

The title's much longer, but you get the point. A guide for how children in colonial times should behave. Check this out.

Chapter III - Of Behaviour at Home

1. Always bow low at coming Home, and be immediatly uncovered.

2. Be never covered at home, especially before thy Parents or Strangers. (What's all this with the hats?)

3. Never sit in the presence of thy Parents without bidding, though no Strangers be present. (Now, that's weird.)

4. If thou pass by thy Parents, or any place where thou seest them, either by themselves, or with Company, bow towards them. (Now, that one, I dig.)

5. If thou be going to speak to thy Parents and see them engaged in Discourse or Company, draw back, and leave thy business till afterwards; but if thou must speak, be sure to whisper. (Personally, I totally agree with this one. It seems I see a lot of parents who let their kids interrupt them in the middle of a conversation with other adults...uh, NO!)

6. Never speak to thy Parents, without some Title of Respect, viz. Sir, Madam, Forsooth; according to their quality. (By the way, viz. is another way to say "in other words".)

7. Approach near thy Parents at no time without a Bow. (What is UP with all the CAPITALIZATION?)

8. Dispute not, nor delay to do thy Parents' Commands.

9. Go not forth of doors without thy parents' leave, and return within the time by them limited. (The oft-battled-over curfew.)

10. Come not into the room where thy Parents are with Strangers unless thou be called, and then decently; and at bidding, go out; or if Strangers come in while thou art with them, it is manerly with a bow to withdraw.

11. Use respectful and courteous, not insulting or domineering carriage or language towards the Servants.

12. Quarrel not, nor contend with thy Brethren or Sisters, but live in Love, Peace, and Unity.

13. Grumble not, nor be discontented at any thing thy Parents appoint, speak, or do.

14. Bear with Meekness and Patience, and without murmering or sullenness, thy Parents' Reproofs or Corrections, nay, though it should so happen that they be causless or undeserved.

Obviously, I think that some of them are a little out-of-date...but, really, many of them are still relevant today.

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