A dear friend gave me a book that I have lately been greatly enjoying. It is called, "Mrs. Dunwoody's Excellent Instructions for Homekeeping." Last night (after I put ALL the laundry away :)), I read an interesting chapter regarding the art of polite conversation. I gleaned much from it, and some of what I learned was very appropriate for some situations I encountered today. I am naturally a talker. I share freely and am not good at withholding information or remaining a mystery. What I gleaned from my reading though is that proper etiquette and politeness are really about focusing not on oneself during conversation (or life in general) but on the thoughts and feelings and interests of others. I think Jesus would approve of Mrs. Dunwoody's thoughts in this regard.
Here's a brief list of some of the things I thought were interesting.
-A lady is never rude to anyone.
-A lady will not dress in an odd way as to attract attention or remarks.
-A lady carries herself with dignity, but never in such a way to make others think she feels superior to them.
-A lady refrains from discussing anything unpleasant or indecent.
-A lady is always concerned with the health and happiness of those around her and will do everything she can to see that they are properly attended to.
-A lady is never late.
-A lady possesses a sense of humor and can easily laugh at herself, but never at others.
How humble and lovely a true lady is. I would like to strive to be more ladylike, not in all aspects of life, for I believe it is essential to have honest discourse with close friends and my spouse which may at times be "unpleasant or indecent," but overall, these are good things for me to be working on.
Another interesting point I found stated, "no behavior on our part is more self-centered that the demand to speak and the refusal to listen. Such behavior is a root of most interpersonal conflict." I needed to read this and take it to heart--people don't need to hear all about Tara or Tara's thoughts! (I'm an only child so I tend to think everyone has great interest in all things about me. :) LOL!) Also, I found the following comment interesting, "Refrain from commencing a conversation by an allusion to the weather. ..take care that your tone of voice is neither loud nor unpleasant and refrain from appearing too common, as do those fools who resist all inclinations to enunciate properly." LOL!!! :) This is hilarious to me. I know very few people who use perfect grammer or who even try most of the time, but I am constantly trying to reinforce good grammer with my two year old, so I need to maintain high standards in this regard so at least she has the OPTION of speaking and writing properly. Ha!
Anyway, I am working on being more of a lady which my friends and family will no doubt be in agreement is a GOOD thing! And I will be able to teach our children some etiquette as well after reading this book! :)
In concluding the day, I am again so overwhelmingly thankful to God our father in heaven, who has blessed this day with beauty and mercy and grace for us his children. A final quote from my reading..."Live your life in such a manner that you wouldn't be embarassed to sell the family parrot to the town gossip." -Aunt Middle Mary.