Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Fun Quiz: The Principles of Etiquette...

What is etiquette? It is a code of manners based on the principle of kindness and consideration for others. In fact, good manners flow from the desire to put others at ease, to seek their highest welfare, and to be thoughtful of their needs. If a woman cultivates a kind and thoughtful heart, she will come out all right in her conduct and her speech. This is true, even if she has never been educated in grammar or etiquette. She may make some mistakes when it comes to the rules, but her heart will be true to the basic principle of etiquette.

On the other hand, the woman who knows every little nuance of every little rule of etiquette, but who lacks consideration for others, will invariably make others around her feel uncomfortable. This is true even if she uses perfect grammar and follows every rule of manners. Her performance may be flawless, but people will sense a lack of kindness towards them in her heart.

Of course, it's not always a matter of either/or. It's great when we combine the heart of kindness with a basic knowledge of etiquette rules.

Most rules of etiquette have their beginnings in common sense principles. But, as manners typically become traditions that are passed down through the generations, the principles sometimes get lost along the way. When that happens, one of three things occurs: 1) A woman blindly follows the rule, but she secretly has no idea why. 2) A woman wrongly concludes that manners are silly, and she rebels against any rule of etiquette that she doesn't understand. 3) Society changes the rules of etiquette to fit changing situations. (For example, most people today don't care about the Victorian language of flowers, but we are mindful of etiquette for email, Internet, and Instant Messaging. New rules are emerging to help us be kind and considerate when using these relatively new technologies.

If you understand the principles behind rules of etiquette, you will be able to practice them better. You will understand how the rule fits into the principle of being considerate of others, and it will make more sense to you. If you do choose to break a rule that you believe no longer expresses thoughtfulness in our modern world, at least you will know what you are doing and why. Your choice will be well thought out and not exercised on a whim.

So, here's a fun quiz. Following are a few long-held rules of etiquette. Do you know the principle behind each rule? Guess and leave your comments so we can all guess along together. I'll post the answers soon.

On to the rules quiz. Guess the principles behind the following:

1) A lady's name may appear in the media only on three occasions during her life. While we don't have to be legalistic about this rule nowadays, it's good to know the principle behind the rule. What is this principle? You get extra bonus points for knowing what are the three occasions referred to in the rule.

2) Always spoon soup away from, rather than towards you. What is the principle behind this rule?

3) Young ladies should not accept expensive gifts before marriage, and this includes the engagement period. (An exception might be an engagement gift right before the marriage takes place.) What is the principle behind this rule? Even if we don't adhere as strictly to this rule in the past, how might the princple behind the rule protect young people?

4) Young ladies should wear no added scent and only the most delicate jewelry, if they wear any jewelry at all, until the age of thirty. If they do wear makeup, it should be lightly applied and ultra-natural looking. OK, let's admit up front that we've all broken this one. I had my signature scent settled before I even got out of my teens. But, what is the principle behind this rule? How might we apply that principle even if we do not adhere to the fixed rule?

5) The armed forces in many countries use salutes. Where did the salute come from? Why was it a point of etiquette in the beginning? What consideraton did it show for others?



Courtney said...

I think I know #1. Her name should be in the paper when she's born, when she's married, and when she dies. Of course, wouldn't that kind of necessitate a fourth: when SHE has a baby? Unless birth announcements stop printing the parents' names...

Anonymous said...

The only one I dare guess at is number 3:

An expensive gift should not be received prior to a wedding in case for some reason, the wedding does not happen. It would be incredibly awkward to deal with such a thing.