Tuesday, October 22, 2013

George Washington's Rule #18

George Washington's Rules, Rule #18

18thRead no Letters, Books, or Papers in Company but when there is a Necessity for the doing of it you must ask leave: come not near the Books or Writings of Another so as to read them unless desired or give your opinion of them unasked also look not nigh when another is writing a Letter.

I really don't think this rule will float in today's society. As a home schooler, we live a culture of reading in the presence of others. That might fall into the category of "necessary", however it certainly is a practice that is here to stay in my home.

On the other hand, when I was visiting a certain relative, when I had come 350 miles to visit, I did find it rather rude when he hunkered down in his chair in the living room to read. He said he had scheduled to read at that time for a certain number of pages. It was my opinion that he could have excused himself to a private room for twenty minutes and I never would have missed him (lots of people), but to sit there reading instead of engaging with us was rude.

Same thing applies to cell phones. I find it really rude when I'm in the middle of a meal or a visit with someone and, without a "how do you do", the other person pulls out their phone to read a text or check email. Humph!

And those relatives who, when I arrived for a visit, would just leave the television on and talk over it, or worse yet ignore me and just watch the tube! So I always preferred no television in my living room, or if company visits I turn the TV off for the visit or tell the children to move to the other room's TV to finish the show.

And "Look not nigh when another is writing a Letter" I totally agree with. Don't look at what someone is putting in a personal letter, and don't read emails over another's shoulder. Sadly for our kids, I want them to learn these rules, but we parents cannot let them completely apply while they are in our homes as we must work diligently, constantly, to protect them from dangers they know not of. We need to stay alert to ways they may be going astray. So, yes, I will read what they write. But then I use extreme caution in how I discuss my concerns if my alarms go off. My goal is that they be able to trust my heart, not resent my intrusion.

So that was a long "translation". Hope you enjoyed reading.

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