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Teaching the Child Patriotism
written by "Clark, Kate Upson, 1851-1935"
... men and women that I devoted[131] all my attention to making them good. Then I was shocked to find, when they had grown up, that though their morals were satisfactory their manners were not." Perhaps most American mothers are like her. And that may be the reason why we have the reputation of being the worst-mannered of all the so-called "civilized" peoples. Still, the outlook is encouraging. Observing critics have been heard to say that the children now growing up, in spite of many exceptions, have better manners than those who have preceded them. The public schools are more careful regarding such matters than they used to be, and so are parents. In fact, if it were not for our numerous importations[132] from the countries which most severely criticize us, our American manners, on the whole, might be called pretty good. Have you not noticed how many laboring men remove their hats when apologizing to you, or offering a seat in a street-car? Or say, "Excuse me?" when it is proper. Instead of staring at a cripple or a deformed person, as people used almost invariably to do, in very many cases lately it has been remarked that eyes have been politely turned away and an effort apparently made to appear unconscious of the misfortune. Parents are teaching their children to eat more gracefully. More hands are neatly manicured. In fact, perhaps we are going almost too far in this direction. In one of the "Country[133] Contributor's" interesting articles in the Ladies' Home Journal, she says, "Don't let anybody tell you that a lady or gentleman must have nice hands. It isn't true." She means, of course, that useful work, which often spoils the beauty of the hands, must be considered far more important than the keeping of them immaculate. Quarrelsome and ill-bred children are still to be found among us, even in pretty good families; but in spite of the large class always present, who are chronic complainers of the deca...

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