Manner Monday®: What Would George Say?

Happy Presidents Day!

In honor of the Holiday, we’re revisiting George Washington’s 110 Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation which he penned at the ripe age of 16 (yes, 16) to highlight one of his ‘archaic’ rules to see how it’s still pretty relevant in today’s modern world.

Rule #90 “Being set at meat scratch not neither spit, cough, or blow your nose, except there’s a necessity for it.”

In other words:  Sometimes it happens and a bodily function accidentally slips up on you in the presence of others.  If you’re at the dinner table, do your best to cover your mouth with your napkin and not draw attention to it and politely say ‘excuse me’ to your neighbor who may have heard you; at some point I’m sure it has happened to them and they completely understand.

If you feel a sneeze coming on and are not able to make a quick enough getaway: sneeze into your shoulder, turning your head and body away from your neighbor.  Make sure to catch the sneeze in your shoulder so you don’t share it with the table behind you.

If the bodily function is something completely within your control, such as blowing your nose, excuse yourself to the restroom where you can take care of things privately.  You tablemates will be eternally grateful.

I wonder if George knew how hip his ‘rules’ would still be in 2014???



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Business Etiquette, Etiquette, Family, Family Dinner, Manner Monday, Manners

Table Setting Contest Video Winner

Congratulations to Madelyn Rowland!!!

(Click on her name to view the video.)


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Teens, Tweens, and Apps Parents Should Monitor

I was honored to help Bobbie Miller, News9, with a story on Teens, Tweens, and Apps Parents Should Monitor.

Click here to see the entire story: – Oklahoma City, OK – News, Weather, Video and Sports |

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Family, Manners, Media

Passport Program: Monday night’s class is rescheduled (again)

Sorry guys :-(
Roads should start getting slick this evening when precipitation starts falling.
And you all know how I feel about teenagers driving in questionable conditions!


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Classes, Weather

Manner Monday®: I <3 U, aka: Love Letters

Love letters… When is the last time you’ve heard this term referenced?  In today’s terms, we’re all probably thinking along the lines of maybe a “love text” = I <3 U, or I luv u, or a “love email”.

I wonder what methods children and grandchildren will utilize in the coming years to assist in storytelling or reminiscing about couples and the current forms of “love letters” … will they scroll through smart phones looking for text messages, will they peruse Facebook pages looking for sweet nuggets of I <3 U and other terms of endearment?  Will they find a post-it note collection of hearts and smiley faces that have been placed on a bathroom mirror, in a briefcase, or in a lunchbox?

If you would like a little inspiration in putting pen-to-paper this Valentine’s Day to send your sweetheart a hand-written “love note”; take 6 minutes to watch this truly special love story:  Barbara and George Bush Love Notes Revealed.

love letter

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Family, Manner Monday

Passport Class: Thursday evening has been rescheduled

After much thought, we have decided to reschedule tonight’s (Thursday, Feb. 4) Passport class.

With this being the high school program, and many of our students driving themselves, we feel it’s best to err on the side of safety.  We realize some of you might be able to make it safely to UCO for the scheduled class, but we fear many of you may not; and we do not want to put anyone in danger.

Please check your email for information and details on the makeup date.


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Classes, Weather

Manner Monday: Formal dinner rules – ‘Time to turn’

I thought it would be fun to share something I noticed during a recent episode of Dowtown Abbey.  At dinner one evening, Mary was engaging in polite conversation with a gentleman suitor seated to her right.  Mid-conversation, she politely smiled and said ‘time to turn’, as she then turned to the gentleman to her left to engage in polite conversation.

Back in ‘the day’ there were conversation rules during formal dinner.  The ladies were to keep an eye on their hostess and when the hostess ‘turned’ her conversation to the person on her opposite side, you were to follow suit.  I have a fabulous book in my arsenal, ‘The Rituals of Dinner’, by Margaret Visser.  In it she shares more detail on the topic:

“At the merest turn of the hostess’s head, from the guest on her left to the guest on her right, every couple has to interrupt their conversation.  The women take the responsibility of turning in the direction the hostess has initiated; the gentlemen, turned from and turned to, merely submit.  It would of course be exceedingly rude, not only to the host but to everyone present, to become so engrossed in conversation that you failed to notice the command, or refused to change partners; chorus line precision is required, or else at lest two people would be left ‘staring alone at the their plates.’”

Do any of us need to know this information… probably not?  But is it a fun fact to know?  Yes (or at least I think so).

And hey, let me know if you have a chance to eat with a Queen, Dowager Countess, Earl, Lady, or some other dignitary and this information actually comes in handy!

Lady Mary

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Etiquette, Family, Family Dinner, Manner Monday, Manners

Manner Monday®: Hey, Mom?…

Have you ever found yourself immersed in your technology and you hear those sweet angelic words from your kiddo… ‘hey, mom?’ (or dad), and you respond uttering a sidetracked, ‘just a minute…’.  Yep, me too.

I’m reading more and more articles on how kids just need their parents to pay attention to them, instead of their devices.  You’ve heard me say time and time again, focus 100% of your attention on the person your with… but when we’re at home, unwinding, relaxing… we think the rules don’t apply.  (Yes, I’m talking to myself here.)  And, yes… I’ve even written blog posts on the subject before, ‘Watch me, Mom!’, ‘Family Dinner’, ‘Mobile Phone Etiquette: The Dinner Date’, ‘Cell Phones, Love/Hate Relationship’.

One of my personal goals this year is to be more ‘active’.

  • more ‘active’ in focusing on my family.
  • more ‘active’ when I’m working, focusing on the task at hand and not stumbling down the rabbit hole of social media.  Moderation is my friend. (Which will allow more time to be ‘active’ with the Hub and Cub.)
  • To be more ‘active’ about being ‘active’.  Walk, exercise, pilates, bike riding with the family… Whatever it takes, on a daily basis, I will do something ‘active’.
  • And to be more ‘active’ when I hear those sweet words, ‘hey, mom’.  I will be ‘active’ in my response and give him my full attention.

If you’re interested, I would love to share some great articles I’ve found on the subject:

Here’s to responding to ‘hey, mom’ with a fully engaged response.


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Etiquette, Family, Manner Monday, Manners

Manner Monday®: Happy MLK day!

Here are some words from previous MLK posts that I thought were worth repeating:

Martin Luther King (b1929), in 1964 became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. The prize was awarded to him for his efforts and advancements to end racial segregation and discrimination, by way of civil disobedience and other nonviolent means. That’s pretty good headway for a 35 year old. We are all only left to wonder what he could have accomplished had he made it to his 40’s and beyond.

I’m thinking it’s pretty safe to say that one of the characteristics that led him to his power was one of respectfulness. By treating everyone with the same respect we wish to be treated, we can strive to be respectful and civil towards others in all of our actions. Sometimes we may fall short, but remembering one of his famous quotes, “The time is always right to do what is right,” may help us on our journey.

Taking a look at Dr. King’s famous “I have a dream speech”, the following line is pretty powerful (OK, I know the whole speech is powerful, but bear with me):

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

A person’s character is critical. No matter how successful one gets in life, his or her character is one of the few things they will not be able to “out-source” to someone else to “increase the bottom line” or “make it happen”.

Take a few minutes today to visit with a young person in your life about “character” and how important it is everyday to consistently make smart choices and good decisions. As we all know…the good, the bad and the ugly: those choices and decisions stick with you for a lifetime!


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Etiquette, Manner Monday, Manners

Manner Monday: Teens, Tweens, and Apps you need to Monitor

If you haven’t heard the news…Tweens and teens are leaving Facebook in droves – because that’s where their parents hangout!  Some of the apps they are gravitating to are a bit scary – to say the least.  As parents most of us are overwhelmed on a daily basis just keeping up with normal things like getting food on the table, carpool, sports, music lessons and helping with homework.  Add to the mix keeping up with technology and staying one step ahead of our kiddos in the digital age, and we’re worn out.

Think about how we monitored our kids before social media.  You wanted to know who your kids were hanging out with and if they were going over for a play date or sleepover, you wanted to know a bit about that family or the home they were going to visit.  Are their parents going to be home?  Who else will be there?  What time is curfew?  And the list goes on.

With Social Media – Parents still need to know what their kids are doing.  But it’s harder because unfortunately so many parents don’t understand it, so they turn a blind eye and ignore it.

Tweens and teens have a hard enough time interacting socially face-to-face and in person.   Think about it, when we were kids and we were dealing with ‘social issues’ at school, when we came home – it was a safe haven, a place to get away from the drama. Now kids have their cell phones with them 24/7 and they can’t get away from ‘it’.  As parents, we need to create that safe haven for our kids by monitoring their social media and making sure they stay safe.

Monitoring teens and their use of social media is a critical part of parenting in 2014.  Many of these apps do not have parental controls and many allow users to remain anonymous or to easily create fake accounts.

Some apps to be aware of, and if you find them, delete them…

  • Snap-chat
  • Kik
  • Whisper

More popular options that appear to be a bit safer (but still need monitoring):

  • Instagram
  • Twitter

Many of the first four apps were created as a way for adults to ‘sext’ (send sex related text messages and photos).  Pornography websites are taking advantage of youth posting inappropriate pictures on these sites and using them as their own.  When you research these apps and continue to run across words such as Cyberbullying, Pornography, Pedophile, Anonymous, Sexting, and Suicide, I think it’s fare to say these apps are malevolent and should have no place on your child’s phone.

The key for parents is to monitor all downloaded apps on their child’s phone.  If you’ve never heard of an app you come across, Google it to learn if it’s dangerous or inappropriate. Make sure you know all of your child’s passwords and user names for monitoring purposes.  And if you think your child is safe because he or she does not have a cell phone….they’re not.  You still need to have a conversation about the topic.  More than likely their friends have phones so they’re participating in the app activity while they’re spending time with their friends.  And many teens that are not ‘allowed’ to have a cell phone, go to Wal-Mart and buy a go-phone where they pay as they go – and obviously hide it from their parents.

When children are left to their own devices to navigate their new technologies, they’re finding themselves making scary mistakes.  Here are some things I’ve personally seen tweens and teens post online:

  • “I’m so bored.  I’m home alone with nothing to do.  Text me!”
  • ‘rate it or hate it’; popularity games where the kids post a picture of four friends and have others ‘rate’ them or ‘hate’ them.
  • Posting cell phone numbers and saying ‘text me’ or ‘call me’.

As parents, we need to be diligent about setting rules, setting boundaries, having discussions, educating ourselves AND our child(ren). These apps are not going away.  New ones are popping up on a regular basis!

I would love to hear from you.  What other apps out there need to be monitored or deleted?  Do you have other resources to share?

Hop over to my Facebook page to continue the conversation.


If you would like to learn more… dig into these articles and resources:



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