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Rules of Civility  

Do you have a code of personal conduct?  George Washington did.  The father of our country wrote down his ideas in a collection known as “110 Rules of Civility.”  Among my favorites:

  • Sleep not when others speak.
  • Be no flatterer.
  • Use no reproachful language against anyone; neither curse nor revile.
  • Cleanse not your teeth with the table cloth napkin, fork, or knife; but if others do it, let it be done without a peep to them.
  • Before and after drinking, wipe your lips.  Breathe not then with too great a noise for it is an evil.
  • Bedew no man’s face with your spittle.
  • Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.

Fascinated with George Washington, nine-year-old Joslynn decided to craft her own Rules for Civility during a recent sleepover at our house.  She spoke.  I typed.  Here are some Josie gems:

  • Tell other people about Jesus at dinner.  Also…everywhere.
  • If you are grounded, see if you can get out of it. Say, “I lost control of myself…I wasn’t thinking….or I forgot the calendar at the store.”
  • If you’re at your grandfather’s house, eat cookies and milk on his lap if he wants you to.
  • Don’t worry about your belly button.  It won’t pop off.
  • Don’t be on your phone all the time.
  • Read the Bible every day, like George Washington did.
  • Don’t let your imagination make a mess.  Keep it in your room.  

It’s fun looking at civility through the eyes of a nine-year-old, though sad that it has nearly become a cultural fossil.  But civility matters. To God.  To us. It’s the life blood of any society.  Is it any wonder, then, that our culture is suffering from issues of the heart?   For true civility, the Bible is the ultimate resource.

"This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” 

 --Joshua 1:8


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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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