True Education


Chapter 27—Deportment

The value of courtesy is too little appreciated. Many who are kind at heart lack kindliness of manner. Many who command respect by their sincerity and uprightness are sadly deficient in geniality. This lack mars their own happiness and detracts from their service to others. TEd 147.1

Cheerfulness and courtesy should be cultivated especially by parents and teachers. All may possess a cheerful countenance, a gentle voice, a courteous manner, and these are elements of power. Children are attracted by a cheerful attitude. Show them kindness and courtesy, and they will manifest the same spirit toward you and toward one another. TEd 147.2

True courtesy is not learned by the mere practice of rules of etiquette. Propriety of deportment is at all times to be observed. Wherever principle is not compromised, consideration of others will lead to compliance with accepted customs. But true courtesy requires no sacrifice of principle to conventionality. It ignores caste. It teaches self-respect, respect for the dignity of personhood, a regard for every member of the great human family. TEd 147.3

There is danger of placing too high a value on mere manner and form, and devoting too much time to education in these lines. The life of strenuous effort demanded of every young person, the hard, often uncongenial work required even for life’s ordinary duties, and much more for lightening the world’s heavy burden of ignorance and wretchedness—these give little place for conventionalities. TEd 147.4

Many who lay great emphasis on etiquette show little respect for anything, however excellent, that fails to meet their artificial standard. This is false education. It fosters critical pride and narrow exclusiveness. TEd 148.1

The essence of true politeness is consideration for others. The essential, enduring education is that which broadens the sympathies and encourages universal kindliness. That so-called culture which does not make young people deferential toward their parents, appreciative of their excellences, forbearing toward their defects, and helpful to their necessities; which does not make them considerate and tender, generous and helpful toward the young, the old, and the unfortunate, and courteous toward all, is a failure. TEd 148.2