Presidents’ Day approaches.
IMHO, the greatest of them all was the Father of our Country.
G Dubya his own self.
George Washington’s greatness began when he was young with his own daily catechism, 110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation.
In past years, I held him up as a model to my Godchildren.
I pray that one day they may say I contributed to their knowledge of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Back in 2016, I updated a version of G Dubya’s catechism for their reference.
I pray that one day they will look back on these rules inspired by His Excellency and at least know a little something of my love for them, all seven of them.
Yes, seven Godchildren.
There are seven wonderful young people whose parents saw fit to entrust me with being responsible in some way for their spiritual well-being.
I will, with God’s help.
Growing in the knowledge, love, and fear of the The Lord.
Some live close by. Some live a bit a way. One lives in London. The eldest is in the 11th Grade. The youngest in 4th.
My updated rules based on G Dubya are reprinted herein.
George Washington based his rules on those composed by French Jesuits in the 16th Century.
I based mine on my parents, my grandparents, my teachers, and Mrs. Post.
In 2016, I mailed a copy of them to my Godchildren. Most of them wrote me back. In thanking me, one of my Godchildren stated emphatically “I will live by the Rules.”
I like to think that they all are living by these edicts.
They’re just nice manners, really.
Apologies for redundancy for those who read them in 2016.
Apologies to His Excellency General Washington, too.
I shall not tell a lie; his were better.
Uncle Hammy’s One Hundred Rules
(For my Godchildren)
- Whenever possible, hold the door open for someone else
- Eat your vegetables
- Drink lots of water
- Use sunscreen liberally
- Do one thing a day that would make your parents proud but tell no one about it
- Always be kind to waiters and waitresses in restaurants
- Never stop reading for pleasure
- Learn something new every day
- Put your napkin in your lap
- If confused at table, always work from the outside in towards your plate, or, wait and see what your neighbor does
- Sit up straight
- Park as far away from the store as possible and walk
- Find friends that make you laugh and keep them close to you
- Never ask for lemon and milk in hot tea at the same time
- Make your bed every day
- Floss your teeth
- Learn to write a good thank you note
- Learn to cook at least one thing better than anyone else you know
- Never put sugar in your grits
- Buy a good pair of shoes
- Wear a belt if the pants have belt loops
- Smile at strangers as you may be the only bright thing in their day
- Go to church
- Learn to shuck an oyster
- Take your coffee black, if possible
- Know the difference between Phillips head and flat head
- Always eat breakfast
- Take the tone of the company you are in – Lord Chesterfield said that, not I
- Call a cab or an Uber or a Lyft or whatever
- Put down the phone once in a while
- Remember that salt water is a great cure for what may ail you
- Mentholatum or Vicks Vapor Rub under your nose may help when you have a cold
- Go to bed
- Nothing good happens after midnight no matter what people may tell you
- Put flowers in your house every once in a while
- Pine straw hides a myriad of sins in your yard or garden
- Plant bulbs such as daffodils, tulips, caladiums, or paperwhites
- Set the table
- Use the silver
- Have a favorite sports team and be passionate about them
- Put up a Christmas tree
- Learn how to make a good steak
- Call your parents
- Read a Shakespeare play
- Thank one of your teachers later in life
- Dance at weddings and parties
- Swing a hammer
- Do some yard work; it never killed anybody
- Whenever you can, get in the water
- Take care of a houseplant
- Have a dog
- Wear sunglasses
- Do pushups
- Keep in touch with your childhood friends as best you can
- But, feel free to say goodbye to people who are no good for you
- Learn the words to one hymn; sing it often
- Use family names
- Put the butter out at least two hours before you serve the bread
- Salt in a cellar, pepper in a shaker, ketchup in a bottle
- Never salt or pepper your food before you taste it
- Learn to say Mass-ah-chu-sets and Ill-ah-noy correctly
- Always know that you are better than no one else but no one else is better than you
- Know that you are LOVED
- When your feelings are hurt, and I guarantee that will happen, remember that there are people who will always be jealous of you and who are unhappy regardless of what you do
- Take a walk
- Remember “anyways” is not a word
- Learn stories about your family, your ancestors, and repeat them
- Eat together as a family
- Make an effort when a guest comes to your house
- Learn to use an iron
- Clean out your drawers and closet once a year
- Wash your hands
- Offer a drink
- Put a napkin with that drink
- Remember that invitations are to be accepted or refused, but if you always refuse, you may never receive another invitation to be accepted
- Try to take people as you find them as you do not know what another person has been through that day
- Meet your neighbors
- Be happy for your friends when they succeed
- Commiserate with your friends when they fail
- Not everyone needs to know all you think
- If you are ever fired from a job, then that job was not right for you, so be glad
- Leafy greens should be part of your diet: collards, kale, spinach, cabbage, Brussels sprouts
- Remember who you are and where you came from no matter where you go as you are all from amazing stock
- Give up your seat for the elderly, new mothers, the sick
- Get a haircut before you need a haircut
- Do not spit on the street
- Take your elbows off the table
- Spoon your soup away from you
- Offer to bring something and never show up empty handed
- Give a compliment to your wife, husband, child, at least once a day
- Do not be so hard on yourself
- Speak to your friends so you can hear their voices, not just read the screen
- Remember birthdays of your families, friends, and neighbors
- Pray for your families, friends, and neighbors
- Fear not!
- An ounce of pretension is worth a pound of manure
- Keep the faith
- And, lastly, remember “With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.” Max Ehrmann, Desiderata
All my love,