Excerpts from Six luminaries to weigh in on a single topic. This month: Manners:

“When you speak to people of my generation, you’ll find that our parents didn’t talk to us about things; they just told us what to do. From morning until night, you were issued instructions. Seventy-five percent of those instructions had to do with manners—don’t reach in front of another person, elbows off the table. As a result, you had a certain way of seeing the world. I went to the Nobel Prize ceremony with Toni Morrison the year she won. I got up at one point during the dinner to talk with the wife of an editor at Knopf. But when I got to her, she practically shoved me to the ground and said, ‘Don’t you know you can’t stand up when the king is sitting down?’ Well, no, I didn’t know that. How would I know that? Of all the things my mother told me, that is one thing she missed. But other than that I pretty much know everything!”

— Fran Lebowitz is a writer and social commentator.

“When I was a child, my parents used to take me out to a restaurant once a week, even though they didn’t necessarily have the means. Restaurants are a wonderful space for a child to learn the value of good behavior because, in dining, the rules of etiquette are built on respect….

— Charles Masson is a restaurateur. His latest project, Majorelle, opens in December at the Lowell Hotel in New York City.

“My husband and I have four sons and two grown grandchildren. Good manners were as important to their education as their schooling. When our grandchildren came to our house, their parents would say, ‘Mind your Mimi’s manners!’ It’s all about treating people with courtesy and kindness. […] If ever I’m asked an ill-mannered question, I just say, ‘I’ll forgive you for asking me that question if you’ll forgive me for not answering it…’

—Lynn Wyatt is a philanthropist and socialite.

Image: kate spade new york


  1. i eat lunch with a table of 10 three to five year olds most days of the week. we are each always learning. above all else, i try to show them the importance of kindness and thoughtfulness towards others around them. it has never occurred to many of them that they might have an impact on someone else and that other people have needs too. it is an amazing process to watch as it develops.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I was that generation, David; manners were ever so important. Especially those two little words: Thank You. After thinking upon them, I can see how they have a certain humility attached, and, if sincere, an inbuilt gratitude…
    Thank You… 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Talking about my generation too – and with a European mom who was definitely raised ‘old school’, our manners had to be impeccable just to be able to sit down in the dining room for dinner (or else we were relegated to the kitchen). And funnily, neither my sister nor I ever resented lessons in polite behavior, behaving graciously, etc.. It served us both well.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have never asked our Kids this (but I will with your encouragement) because we were always on them in restaurants, in hotels, in public places…I too believe it served them well.


  4. “Don’t stand up when the King is sitting down.” Kindly noted Mr K. Just in case. Thankyou very much ha 👍

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Boy, did this resonate! My brother and I had manners drilled into us, to the point where many expressions — please, thank you, excuse me — are reflexive. We weren’t permitted to enjoy a gift until we had parked ourselves at the kitchen table and penned a thank-you note. Didn’t have to be long, but had to acknowledge the gift. Period. Like Mimi, we had to behave at the table or we were told to leave. And like Mimi, my brother and I have talked often about how grateful we are to have been given this foundation. The benefits it has given us are untold. Consciously or not, people notice manners–I know I do…

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Love this. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. These are wonderful. Those manners were second nature to some of us, now, we can’t really take it all for granted.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Dave, A strange characteristic of parents; when we are young they seem so stupid, yet when we become older they suddenly become so wise.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Good manners became the norm in our house. I must admit I am biased towards those who still display them or pass them on to their children.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. P.s. Thank you for this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I hope I never find myself with a king in the same place. I know I’ll mess it up. On purpose!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I think Trump and Clinton missed Miss Manners. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. christinesat says:

    Thank you David. Thank you so very much for bringing so many people together, posting nice, interesting, funny, bewildering, weird, astonishing things. Bringing new ideas into my life. Perspectives, that I never had before, ideas, that I also can share with the people around me. Stay well and take care.

    Liked by 1 person

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