George Washington and the Jesuits Figured It Out — It’s Our Turn!

Civility is always a topic of research on my desk. It is an integral component of everything I do; educational curriculum, business consulting . . . heck . . . life, is all about civility. At its core, civility is respect; respect for self and others.

“Do unto others” has been around for a while. In addition to the obvious early religious references, French Jesuits compiled rules of civility in 1595. Francis Hawkins was the first to publish the Jesuit rules in English in 1640. His work can be traced to Youths Behavior or Decency in Conversation Amongst Men.

George Washington (1732-1799) studied the work as a young man and from washingtonit, fashioned his “110 rules.” He believed the rules were necessary for someone aspiring to be a gentleman.  The rules are mirrored in every publication that focuses on customer service, good business, civility, and success strategies. Yet I find it stunning that they are not mirrored in much of our daily lives.

 

It really is our turn!  If we respected ourselves and others, there would be no need for many of the college courses we teach, a lot of the consulting requests I receive, or articles like this.  Come to think of it, I think world peace would be achieved. But apparently, there is a need for us to be reminded of civility.  Here’s the rule:

Civility Matters!

Relationships happen with civility.  Relationships enhance our lives. Civility increases happiness and wealth.  Rules are still being written and ALL of them route back to the French Jesuits and George Washington.  I applaud Kathleen Elkins’ article in the Business Insider published earlier this year.  The article, “5 simple etiquette habits that help the rich get ahead, according to a man who spent 5 years studying millionaires,” cites these rules:

  1. Send thank you cards
  2. Remember the little details
  3. Have good table manners
  4. Know how to dress
  5. Introduce yourself properly

Not much more needs to be said, but for a step back in time (or perhaps into our future?), read more of George Washington’s, 110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation, here.