Good Form and Social Ethics
I apologize, dear readers, for my lengthy silence. As I’ve been traveling through one of life’s valleys–the serious illness of someone dearly loved–certain other commitments have taken a lower priority, including my writing. This Christmas season, it seems that all the colors are dulled and all the sounds muted. It’s been difficult to summon up my usual sparkle. But I take comfort in the fact that it is only that–a season.
I’ve missed you all terribly and look forward to returning to regular posting soon. In the meantime, I am reminded to count my many blessings in this passage from Good Form and Social Ethics, a 1913 book written by Fanny Dickerson Chase, who lists several wise words that still stand true a century after they were written and should help all of us thrive in the new year. She writes in part:
*Be sympathetic. Let others feel the healing touch of your life. It may be that your hand-clasp may mean much to someone.
*Magnify your joys if you will, but not your griefs. The world is already full of sorrow and trial. The best way, perhaps, to alleviate the keenness of one’s own bitterness of soul is to remember that others are bearing still heavier hearts.
*Do not be a slave to other people’s opinions.
*Don’t be intrusive.
*Be quick to forgive and to forget an injury.
*Glorify your task, however humble, by regarding no service as menial or overburdensome. The attitude of the mind toward certain tasks does much in producing the fatigue they occasion.
*Be as ready to perform the humble service as the more attractive one. . . . A young woman possessed of the spirit of true service needs no other beautifier, no other attraction. By this alone, she will win her way into the hearts and lives of those about her, and accomplish a service for the betterment of the world that all other accomplishments without this spirit could not hope to perform.
*Hear accurately; speak accurately.
*Cultivate carefulness and precision.
*Don’t underrate anything because you are not the possessor of it.
*Do not be thoughtless, and do not be too ready to excuse yourself or others for lapses of courtesy or of responsibility due to so-called thoughtlessness.
*Be slow to discredit another’s word or action. Believe in others until you are forced by absolute proof to disbelieve.
*Don’t insist on having things done your way where principle is not involved. Give way gracefully to another in things unimportant.
*Be truthful. Give no place in your life to the faintest departure from truth.
*Do not be a servant to moods.
*Do the right thing; keep your promises, irrespective of your feelings.
*Don’t be reluctant to do another a favor, if it is within your power to do it.
*Never trouble trouble till trouble troubles you. In other words, don’t worry.
*Do not take undue liberties with your friends.
*Be careful not to interrupt one unnecessarily.
*Do not be soured and worried by disappointments. The secret in bearing disappointments graciously lies in regarding them as God’s appointments; substituting “H” for the “d,” the disappointment becomes “His appointment.”
*Stand in your place and lift. Lift in your town; lift in the school; lift in the home; and lift in the church. Watch for the small opportunities.
*Court suggestions and reproofs from those who are brave enough to offer them to you.