I spotted my first back-to-schoolers this morning. They looked so eager, with their empty backpacks and spiffy new clothes. Makes me want to stock up on my favorite Garanimals, just like the good old days.
This one goes out to all the bright-eyed schoolchildren out there. It’s from M. Thelma McAndless’s handy pamphlet titled Manners Today. Learn lots of good stuff this year, kiddos, and don’t forget to mind your manners!
1943: School Days
The privileged class ~ that title, if appropriate for anyone in America, applies to the millions of young Americans now attending schools, colleges, and universities, for if Freedom of Opportunity to plan, build, grow at the top of one’s ability isn’t a skyflight privilege, what, then, is?
Are you, as one of the privileged class, using or abusing your opportunities, or have you been hedging a little? Have you really gone sled length after knowledge? Have you been regular in attendance? When absent, have you made it your business to see about make-up work? Is it your policy to blunder into class a few minutes late? Do you then slap books, rattle papers, and annoy your seat mate? Do you copy his work? Don’t fib. What kind of school citizen are you?
Do you waste class time with hair-splitting questions? Do you laugh at stupid answers? Do you wave your fist wildly during recitations to attract attention? When you’re bored do you twiddle your thumbs? When your preparations are shaky, do you try apple polishing? If the Yes’s have it, you’re selling out the privileged class.
The right attitude toward public property ~ important, isn’t it? How do you rate? Do you loosen chair legs by rocking on them? Do you misuse school rulers, pencil sharpeners, scissors, maps, books? . . .
Do you throw apple cores, orange peel, scraps of paper, gum in the water fountains? Disagreeable habit, isn’t it? Do you cram desk drawers with wrappings, paper handkerchiefs, love notes? Do you litter the floor? Do you stuff your lockers, and then groan as they inconveniently spew out the junk? Too many yes’s here, and dimes to dollars you’re not proud of the appearance of your school or its campus.
Haven’t you seen him? Haven’t you heard about him? Oh, my dear, he’s the lunchroom pest. He’s a most inconsiderate person. He jostles elbows, juggles trays, steps in and out of line. He points at the food with a smudgy finger, speaks discourteously to the service crew, combs his hair over the food, coughs and sneezes and criticizes the cashier. He sprawls all over the table and gobbles up his lunch. Then off he goes, forgetting to dispose of tray, milk bottle, waste food. . . .
Do you contribute to the corridor jam? Do you break track records? Do you execute neat head-on collisions? Do you stampede the water fountain? Do you mob the classroom door? Do you indulge in locker-love and corridor courtship?
Do you slam lockers? Do you emit war whoops? Do you race wildly up and down stairs? Such behavior strikes school guests unfavorably. But more unfortunate, it reduces school efficiency, because schools are supposed to help people to live together comfortably.
Source: Manners Today
~ pp. 20-22 ~
McAndless, M. Thelma. Manners Today. Detroit: Briggs Publishing Company, 1943.