A Hundred Necessary Rules of Conduct for Children (tr. Pennypacker)

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For works with similar titles, see A Hundred Necessary Rules of Conduct for Children.

A HUNDRED NECESSARY RULES OF CONDUCT FOR CHILDREN.[1]


I. Rules for the Behavior of a Child in the House of its Parents.

A. At and after getting up in the mornings.

1. Dear child, accustom yourself to awaken at the right time in the morning without being called, and as soon as you are awake get out of bed without delay.

2. On leaving the bed fix the cover in a nice, orderly way.

3. Let your first thoughts be directed to God, according to the example of David, who says, Psalms cxxxix, 18, “When I am awake I am still with Thee,” and Psalms lxiii, 7, “When I am awake I speak of Thee.”

4. Offer to those who first meet you, and your parents, brothers and sisters, a good-morning, not from habit simply, but from true love.

5. Learn to dress yourself quickly but neatly.

6. Instead of idle talk with your brothers and sisters or others, seek also, while dressing, to have good thoughts. Remember the clothing of righteousness which was earned for you through Jesus, and form the resolution not to soil it on this day by intentional sin.

7. When you wash your face and hands do not scatter the water about in the room.

8. To wash out the mouth every morning with water, and to rub off the teeth with the finger, tends to preserve the teeth.

9. When you comb your hair do not go out into the middle of the room, but to one side in a corner.

10. Offer up the morning prayer, not coldly from custom, but from a heart-felt thankfulness to God, Who has protected you during the night, and call upon Him feelingly to bless your doings through the day. Forget not the singing and the reading in the Bible.

11. Do not eat your morning bread upon the road or in school, but ask your parents to give it to you at home.

12. Then get your books together and come to school at the right time.

B. In the evenings at bed-time.

13. After the evening meal do not sit down in a corner to sleep, but perform your evening devotions with singing, prayer and reading, before going to bed.

14. Undress yourself in a private place, or if you must do it in the presence of others, be retiring and modest.

15. Look over your clothes to see whether they are torn, so that they may be mended in time.

16. Do not throw your clothes about in the room, but lay them together in a certain place, so that in the morning early you can easily find them again.

17. Lie down straight in the bed modestly, and cover yourself up well.

18. Before going to sleep consider how you have spent the day, thank God for His blessings, pray to Him for the forgiveness of your sins, and commend yourself to His merciful protection.

19. Should you wake in the night, think of God and His omnipresence, and entertain no idle thoughts.

C. At meal-time.

20. Before going to the table where there are strangers, comb and wash yourself very carefully.

21. During the grace do not let your hands hang toward the earth, or keep moving them about, but let them, with your eyes, be directed to God.

22. During the prayer do not lean or stare about, but be devout and reverent before the majesty of God.

23. After the prayer, wait until the others who are older have taken their places, and then sit down at the table quietly and modestly.

24. At the table sit very straight and still, do not wabble with your stool, and do not lay your arms on the table. Put your knife and fork upon the right and your bread on the left side.

25. Avoid everything which has the appearance of eager and ravenous hunger, such as to look at the victuals anxiously, to be the first in the dish, to tear off the bread all at once in noisy bites, to eat quickly and eagerly, to take another piece of bread before the last is swallowed down, to take too large bites, to take the spoon too full, to stuff the mouth too full, &c.

26. Stay at your place in the dish, be satisfied with what is given to you, and do not seek to have of everything.

27. Do not look upon another's plate to see whether he has received something more than you, but eat what you have with thankfulness.

28. Do not eat more meat and butter than bread, do not bite the bread off with the teeth, cut regular pieces with the knife, but do not cut them off before the mouth.

29. Take hold of your knife and spoon in an orderly way and be careful that you do not soil your clothes or the table cloth.

30. Do not lick off your greasy fingers, wipe them on a cloth, but as much as possible use a fork instead of your fingers.

31. Chew your food with closed lips and make no noise by scraping on the plate.

32. Do not wipe the plate off either with the finger or the tongue, and do not thrust your tongue about out of your mouth. Do not lean your elbows on the table when you carry the spoon to the mouth.

33. Do not take salt out of the salt-box with your fingers, but with the point of your knife.

34. The bones, or what remains over, do not throw under the table, do not put them on the table cloth, but let them lie on the edge of the plate.

35. Picking the teeth with the knife or fork does not look well and is injurious to the gums.

36. As much as possible abstain from blowing your nose at the table, but if necessity compels, turn your face away or hold your hand or napkin before it; also when you sneeze or cough.

37. Learn not to be delicate and over-nice or to imagine that you cannot eat this or that thing. Many must learn to eat among strangers what they could not at home.

38. To look or smell at the dish holding the provisions too closely is not well. Should you find a hair or something of the kind in the food, put it quietly and unnoticed to one side so that others be not moved to disgust.

39. As often as you receive anything on your plate, give thanks with an inclination of the head.

40. Do not gnaw the bones off with your teeth or make a noise in breaking out the marrow.

41. It is not well to put back on the dish what you have once had on your plate.

42. If you want something across the table be careful not to let you sleeve hang in the dish or to throw a glass over.

43. At table do not speak before you are asked, but if you have noticed anything good at church or school, or a suitable thought occurs to you relating to the subject of discourse, you may properly bring it forward, but listen attentively to the good things said by others.

44. When you drink you must have no food in your mouth, and must incline forward courteously.

45. It has a very bad look to take such strong draughts while drinking that one has to blow or breathe heavily; while drinking to let the eyes wander around upon others; to commence drinking at table before parents or more important persons have drunk; to raise the glass to the mouth at the same time with one of more importance; to drink while others are speaking to us; and to raise the glass many times after one another.

46. Before and after drinking, the mouth ought to be wiped off, not with the hand but with a handkerchief or napkin.

47. At the table be ready to help others if there is something to be brought into the room or other thing to be done that you can do.

48. When you have had enough, get up quietly, take your stool with you, wish a pleasant meal-time, and go to one side and wait what will be commanded you. Still should one in this respect follow what is customary.

49. Do not stick the remaining bread in your pocket but let it lie on the table.

50. After leaving the table, before you do anything else, give thanks to your Creator who has fed and satisfied you.

II. Rules for the Behavior of a Child in School.

51. Dear child, when you come into school, incline reverently, sit down quietly in your place, and think of the presence of God.

52. During prayers think that you are speaking with God, and when the word of God is being read, think that God is speaking with you. Be also devout and reverential.

53. When you pray aloud, speak slowly and deliberately; and when you sing, do not try to drown the voices of others, or to have the first word.

54. Be at all times obedient to your teacher, and do not let him remind you many times of the same thing.

55. Should you be punished for bad behavior, do not, either by words or gestures, show yourself impatient or obstinate, but receive it for your improvement.

56. Abstain in school from useless talking, by which you make the work of the schoolmaster harder, vex your fellow pupils, and prevent yourself and others from paying attention.

57. Listen to all that is said to you, sit very straight and look at your teacher.

58. When you recite your lesson, turn up your book without noise, read loudly, carefully and slowly, so that every word and syllable may be understood.

59. Give more attention to yourself than to others, unless you are placed as a monitor over them.

60. If you are not questioned, be still; and do not help others when they say their lessons, but let them speak and answer for themselves.

61. To your fellow-scholars show yourself kind and peaceable, do not quarrel with them, do not kick them, do not soil their clothes with your shoes or with ink, give them no nick-names, and behave yourself in every respect toward them as you would that they should behave toward you.

62. Abstain from all coarse, indecent habits or gestures in school, such as to stretch with the hands or the whole body from laziness; to eat fruit or other things in school; to lay your hand or arm upon your neighbor's shoulder, or under your head, or to lean your head forwards upon the table; to put your feet on the bench, or let them dangle or scrape; or to cross your legs over one another, or stretch them apart, or to spread them too wide in sitting or standing; to scratch your head; to play or pick with the fingers; to twist and turn the head forwards, backwards and sideways; to sit and sleep; to creep under the table or bench; to turn your back to your teacher; to change your clothes in school, and to show yourself restless in school.

63. Keep your books, inside and outside, very clean and neat, do not write or paint in them, do not tear them, and lose none of them.

64. When you write, do not soil your hands and face with ink, do not scatter it over the table or bench, or over your clothes or those of others.

65. When school is out, make no great noise; in going down stairs, do not jump over two or three steps at a time, by which you may be hurt, and go quietly home.

III. How A Child should Behave on the Street.

66. Dear child, although, after school, you are out of sight of your teacher, God is present in all places and you therefore have cause upon the street to be circumspect before Him and his Holy Angels.

67. Do not run wildly upon the street, do not shout, but go quietly and decently.

68. Show yourself modest, and do not openly, before other people, what ought to be done in a private place.

69. To eat upon the street is unbecoming.

70. Do not stare aloft with your eyes, do not run against people, do not tread purposely where the mud is thickest, or in the puddles.

71. When you see a horse or wagon coming, step to one side, and take care that you do not get hurt, and never hang behind upon a wagon.

72. In winter do not go upon the ice or throw snowballs at others, or ride upon sleds with disorderly boys.

73. In summer do not bathe in the water or go too near it. Take no pleasure in mischievous or indecent games.

74. Do not stand in the way where people quarrel or fight, or do other evil things; associate not with evil companions who lead you astray; do not run about at the annual fair; do not stand before mountebanks or look upon the wanton dance, since there you learn nothing but evil.

75. Do not take hold of other children so as to occupy the street, or lay your arm upon the shoulders of others.

76. If any known or respectable person meets you, make way for him, bow courteously, do not wait until he is already near or opposite to you, but show to him this respect while you are still some steps from him.

IV. Rules for the Behavior of a Child in Meeting or Church.

77. Dear child, in meeting or church think upon the holy presence of God, and that you will be judged according to the word you hear upon this day.

78. Bring your Bible and hymn book with you, and sing and pray very devoutly, since out of the mouths of young children will God be praised.

79. During the sermon be attentive to all that is said, mark what is represented by the text, and how the discourse is divided; which also you can write on your slate. Refer to other beautiful passages in your Bible, but without noise or much turning of the leaves, and mark them by laying in long narrow bits of paper, of which you must always have some lying in your Bible.

80. Do not talk in church, and if others want to talk with you do not answer. During the sermon, if you are overcome with sleep, stand up a little while and try to keep it off.

81. When the name of Jesus is mentioned or used in prayer uncover or incline your head, and show yourself devout.

82. Do not stare about the church at other people, and keep your eyes under good discipline and control.

83. All indecent habits which, under Rule No. 62, you ought to avoid in school, much more ought you to avoid in church.

84. If you, with others, should go in couples into, or out of, the church you should never, from mischief, shove, tease or bespatter, but go forth decently and quietly.

V. Rules for the Behavior of a Child under various circumstances.

85. Dear child, live in peace and unity with every one, and be entirely courteous from humility and true love of your neighbor.

86. Accustom yourself to be orderly in everything, lay your books and other things in a certain place and do not let them lie scattered about in a disorderly way.

87. When your parents send you on an errand, mark well the purpose for which you are sent, so that you make no mistake. When you have performed your task come quickly home again and give an answer.

88. Be never idle, but either go to assist your parents, or repeat your lessons, and learn by heart what was given you. But take care that you do not read in indecent or trifling books, or pervert the time, for which you must give an account to God, with cards or dice.

89. If you get any money, give it to some one to keep for you, so that you do not lose it, or spend it for dainties. From what you have, willingly give alms.

90. If anything is presented to you, take it with the right hand and give thanks courteously.

91. Should you happen to be where some one has left money or other things lying on the table, do not go too near or remain alone in the room.

92. Never listen at the door, Sirach 21, 24. Do not run in quickly, but knock modestly, wait until you are called, incline as you walk in, and do not slam the door.

93. Do not distort your face, in the presence of people, with frowns or sour looks; be not sulky if you are asked any thing, let the question be finished without your interrupting, and do not answer with nodding or shaking the head, but with distinct and modest words.

94. Make your reverence at all times deeply and lowly with raised face. Do not thrust your feet too far out behind. Do not turn your back to people, but your face.

95. Whether a stranger or good friend comes to the house, be courteous to him, bid him welcome, offer him a chair and wait upon him.

96. In sneezing, blowing the nose, spitting, and yawning be careful to use all possible decency. Turn your face to one side, hold the hand before it, put the uncleanliness of the nose in a handkerchief and do not look at it long, let the spittal fall upon the earth and tread upon it with your foot. Do not accustom yourself to continual hawking, grubbing at the nose, violent panting, and other disagreeable and indecent ways.

97. Never go about nasty and dirty. Cut your nails at the right time and keep your clothes, shoes and stockings, neat and clean.

98. In laughing, be moderate and modest. Do not laugh at everything, and especially at the evil or misfortune of other people.

99. If you have promised anything try to hold to it, and keep yourself from all lies and untruths.

100. Let what you see of good and decent in other Christian people serve as an example for yourself. “If there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Phillipians iv, 8.

  1. These Rules of Conduct were published about 1764, in Saur's Geistliches Magazien.