Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Woman Reading
by  Ricardo Lopez Carera, Spanish, 1866-1950

There is a great post on the blog, Adventures in Keeping House about discretion.  I am going to be discussing this subject in light of the New Testament in the Ladies Bible Class tomorrow. The author of the blog  has provided a definition of the word "discretion" and explained it at length in that post.

The discretion issue is something that is of prime concern for many people because it is like an endangered species; it is fading from practice. Discretion is a worthy and useful quality of the personality for everyone, but I would like to address the problem of women and discretion.

Proverbs 11:22 states that a woman without discretion is like a ring of gold in a swine's snout. (Put your finger over the verse citation and the verse will pop out.)  This means that some things will just not cover up bad manners. A woman can be properly dressed, have the latest hairstyles and her nails all polished, but if her speech is not polished and she says every crude or shocking thing that comes to her mind, it is just like dressing up a pig in jewels.

Discretion shall preserve thee; understanding shall keep thee. - Proverbs 2:ll

Woman in Pink Dress by Roberts
from the Australian National Archive

Discretion shall "keep" you means that if you acquire it, you'll be protected. In the prevailing culture around us, it is considered healthy to express things that would have gotten you a sound punch in the nose, back in the day, or "way back when."  Now everyone must be so honest that they speak things that are personal, even about bodily functions, that even 50 years ago was so unacceptable that if spoken, could cause the loss of a job, the loss of social acceptance or, in some cases, the loss of a fiance'.

The acquirement of discretion  should begin when a girl is young, but if her character training has been neglected, she may still, with determination and honesty, learn how to be discreet.

You can almost see the word "secret" in "discretion" and guess at its meaning: it is a quality of being quiet about some things that are not appropriate to speak of.  Lack of discretion is to cast all caution aside and speak of things that are offensive or are not appropriate for young ears, or that may be of a sensitive nature towards those who are suffering, or who would be embarrassed.
by Perugini

For some, just looking back at the previous century and the people's sense of decency will make them realize that we are slipping too far. Without any knowledge of past polite customs however, we still have the guidance of  the Bible on the subject of courtesy and propriety, good taste and upright behavior.

 There are some people who object to manners being taught because they think they are stiff, formal rules, but the Bible says to be courteous and tenderhearted and loving. I Peter 3:8

At the Garden Gate
by William Affleck

 Things that show lack of discretion are:

1. Subjecting others to embarrassment by not covering yourself appropriately, exposing too much: dressing immodestly.

2. Asking too many questions of a personal, or even impersonal nature, that keeps another person on the hot-seat trying to get the answers.  Questioning is not always healthy, and can make another person feel very burdened.  Questioning can become like cross-examination and make another person feel he is being put on trial. This is a type of impertinence.

3. Impertinence: This means to go beyond the limits by being pushy, demanding, or improperly forward. Forward is a word not used as much as it used to be. It was considered forward if a girl asked a boy for a date. It was considered forward if someone asked if they could come to your house for dinner or to ask for a gift.  It was proper to wait and be asked.
The Young Gardener
by George Leslie Dunlop

4. Impishness: Annoyingly playful, thinking you are cute, while saying things that put others on the spot, or that are witty and even base, and can be perceived as naughty and trouble making.

5. Impudence: The 1828 dictionary describes impudence as: not attentive to the consequences of words or actions; rash; heedless. The imprudent man often laments his mistakes, and then repeats them. Other dictionaries describe it as  a brash and brazen way of speaking and acting towards others. This is similar to pushy, arrogant behavior, as well as thinking you are awfully cute while you are doing it.

6. There may be a word for this, but I cannot think of it: the habit of making hasty, sharp replies. This can be perceived as a sudden rush to judgment of a matter before you have fully taken everything into consideration.

7. Imposing:  To lay a burden on, to obtrude (push) fallaciously (expecting something from someone, deceitful, misleading.)  Imposing today means to push your self on someone or take over something they are doing, or try to be the center of attention.

Training in discretion takes place best from childhood, but a habit can be broken, once the heart is penitent, the mind is teachable, and the soul is yearning for God.

To gain the quality of discretion, do a word-study of discretion from the Bible and write about your understanding of it in a notebook or journal.

Eugene de Blass

Acquire instead:

Innocence: Purity of heart, blamelessness, not guilty.  These words carry significance because the secret to being and looking innocent is to be blameless and free from sin.  To acquire innocence even after you have lost it, you can apply yourself to living in a pure way. In speech, do not use innuendos, tell off-color stories, or make teasing remarks that refer to bodily functions or private acts.  Living an innocent life will require removing things from your life that cause you to stumble spiritually, and things that pollute your mind and take you away from the joy of the Lord.
Afternoon Tea
by George Dunlop Leslie

Composure: When a person learns to live an innocent life, free from cynicism and suspicion, there will be a change in their composure. Composure is  similar to countenance, which the Bible speaks of. In Genesis, God warned Cain that if he would conquer his temper, his countenance would be lifted. Countenance refers to the expression on the face, including the look of the eyes, the smile, the set of the jaw. It can either be hardened or it can be sweet and innocent. Composure is effected by the way we think and live, so if you want a good composure, practice living innocently.  Think of the word "pose" when you think of composure, and it will help you understand how to be at ease around other people without being too casual.  Composure is closely connected to discretion. A discreet woman will be cautious about decisions and words and other things.

by George Dunlop Leslie

To practice discretion and courtesy, avoid the "so-what-is-it-like" questions, as in the following:

So, what is it like to have a miscarriage?
So, what is it like to lose your house in bankruptsy?
So, what is it like to recover from_______?
So, what is it like since your son/daughter left home?
So, what is it like to be married to a man so much older than you?
So, what is it like to be a homemaker and not get a paycheck?
So, when are you going to retire?
So, what is it like, being a widow?

There are hundreds of these kinds of questions, which can be offensive to some people. You may think that asking what it is like to be retired is innocent, but it is better to allow people to voluntarily introduce the subject themselves, when it concerns them, rather than bring it up.

Why be discreet?

The Word of God impresses us that we must.
It protects the reputation of your family.
It protects the reputation of the local church to which you belong.
It protects the reputation of the church, worldwide.
It protects your children from growing up with a stigma upon them.
It protects your own credibilty and the trust others put in you.
It gives you dignity and preserves your reputation.
It protects the reputation of your children in the future.

As Proverbs says, discretion will "keep" (preserve, guard) you.

A discreet woman strives to be careful with her questions so that they do not make the other person feel uncomfortable or feel that their privacy is invaded.

In previous centuries during times of political danger, there was a saying: Loose lips sink ships.
This saying might be used to explain discretion more accurately. Sometimes we need to keep things to ourselves. Do not tell people where you keep your valuables, or even how much something is worth that you own, if it has a lot of value.  Information that gets to the wrong ears can be used as a temptation against you. You may tell a friend, but think of that friend telling someone else, and you will see how it could damage you.
Telling everything you know about the location of a ship during war, can cause the ship to be sunk when the enemy gets a hold of the information.

Another example that will help clear up any misunderstanding about discretion, is the one where a young couple wants to buy a house. They confide in friends that they are wanting to buy this house but have not made up their minds yet. They like the house and they like the price and really think it is a bargain, and express that they can't believe what a great opportunity it is to buy it. Behind their backs, the friends they confided in, buy the house, "right out from under them."

Young people need to be careful not to divulge to friends about their father's place of employment, the amount of money he makes or his status or his personal history.  Parents are very sensitive about the things their children say about them, and every child should be taught to be discreet.


Anonymous said...

I've never thought much on this subject and to make matters worse, I've been guilty of some of these subjects.

To be sure now that my attention has been drawn to this subject, I will spot indiscretion much after this. In the future I will study this and try to practice discretion often. Thank you for sharing.

Mrs. J.

recentlyrededicatedtothelord said...

Thank you for this! I REALLY needed to hear this as I've just recently rededicated my life back to the lord & I'm afraid I've spent most of my life, especially that past seven or so not being very discreet at all!!! I habe a question though, how would you respond to.someone who was being indiscreet with you? How would you answer their questions?

Anonymous said...

What an excellent reminder! Thank you!

One area I've noticed women need to practice more discretion in is showing off their pregnant bellies. It's disgusting and immodest. If you wouldn't show off your belly normally, then why do you think it is ok to do so while pregnant? Pregnancy us beautiful, but the details should remain private.

Rosemary UK said...

You are so right in this aspect,my Mother brought me up never to mention certain things in general discussion.I abide by her advice still,when I here other people discussing them in public it embarrasses me even today.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful message, loved it. Practicing discretion is something we ought to strive for. It hurts when indiscrete people exhort information from others especially in public, where one ends up unwilling telling them their business, just for the sake of politeness. Or not being labeled as 'unfriendly...'

Anonymous said...

It took me many years to realize that not everyone who asks questions has good intentions. There are people who can take the most innocent remark and twist it into unkind gossip. These are important reminders you list here.

It also seems that the more private a person tries to be, the more some people try to pry.

I think it is absolutely appalling the way some women will openly discuss their children's problems, some of which can be quite serious. These things often resolve within a short time or even after a few years, but the damage done to a child's reputation by his own parents can last long after the problems are resolved. Parents should realize that when they say negative things about their children, they are inviting criticism of their parenting, and harming the reputation of their entire family.
Even things like mentioning a child is sick or late walking or talking, can be fodder for gossip. No matter how worried or tired a mother is, she should be very careful about what she says and who she says it to when it comes to her children. We are at our weakest when we are tired, worried or sick and it may be a good policy to say very little until the crisis is over. The same goes for when we are having marriage difficulties.

Stephanie said...

Thank you for these words to think upon! I appreciate the time you put into writing and encouraging us. There is much to think upon from this post.

Blessings to you! And have a wonderful and joyful Easter :)


Lydia said...

People are always overly curious, ready to discredit your parenting,and that is why it is wise to say nothing of the problem to anyone but the husband and warn him, too, about sharing it, as other men take it home to their wives and then the information comes back to you. I think what happens is that when there is a crisis, women do not know what to do, as they have never been taught. I read lots of ladies Bible class lessons in books when I was younger, and never did any of them address discretion in this way and warn of telling of family crisis --as you are right: sometimes it blows over and then the talk is already out. Even saying that your child is not feeling well is fodder for gossip. When someone asks how you are (after a crisis) say, "We are fine, and how are you?" As for handling the impropriety and talk of others: there are ways of distracting and avoiding that can be employed. Saying, "That reminds me," and changing the subject is always good. In the end if you are forced to listen to it, don't repeat it.

Lydia said...

as you said, worry and tiredness can make the problems see larger, and often at night the grief seems enormous. In the morning, it does not seem so bad. So, wait til the morning after a night's rest and it will reduce the temptation to tell-all.

Anonymous said...

This has been a problem for me for many years, as in people interrogating me about my life and my decisions. I stopped trying to become involved in things when we began homeschooling (we were the only ones in our community) because I couldn't stand all the nosy and busybody type behavior. Curiosity is not a benign trait, I would also like to reiterate the warning about husbands and gossip. Some of us didn't realize that our own husband's were tale bearers and have had to deal with the aftermath of private information getting out there to husband's friends and their wives (of whom I am not friends) and others. Thank you for this post.

Housewife59 said...

I found your last comment to be helpful LadyLydia. Wait until morning and you may not be tempted to tell all. It hasn't always been in my life, but I am learning the wisdom of making God your first port of call in a crisis. Reminding yourself of his love and care for you, and sharing everything with him. He is the God of absolute discretion, and our words are safe with him

TheTayloress said...

Thank you.
This is something that bothers me in others, but I did not see it so clearly in myself.
May God help us all to sumbit to His every-moment guidance, and become more discreet! Women who truly are honorable, for we have honoring HIM.

Unknown said...

Thank you! I have never given much thought to these actions (positive or negative) and found myself wanting in the list. My parents did have some sense of discretion although I never knew their reasoning behind it. I would like to raise my children with this too, but of course it must start with me. I will print this off for my binder. God bless!

Anonymous said...

I have to deal with this on a daily basis because I work in a pharmacy and people feel a need to tell you ALL their health problems! Recently I had a coworker to tell me that I was too secretive about my personal life because I didn't tell all at work like the other ladies do. I too have found that talking about things that are going on will only open you up to criticism from others.

Gwen said...

Dear Lady Lydia,

I've never commented here before, but this post reminded me of a situation my husband encounters. We've been married 18 years. I remember one day when we were first married my husband was telling me about his day at work. I remember smiling and listening. In the course of explaining a particular problem, he told me that one of his female employees was complaining to him of her difficulties from her monthly cycle.

I remember the expression on my face changed to one of astonishment. I said, "she was talking to you about her period?!" He replied, "yes she did!" Neither of us could believe it. This, however, wasn't an isolated incident. This happens regularly and everywhere he's worked.

I still continue to be shocked by this which means, I guess, that I'm not acclimating very well to this "share it all" world we live in now. :)

Anonymous said...

I do agree that in our society today ladies and gentlemen should use discretion. However, there are some things that you mention that I think simply aren't that big of a deal. The things I'm about to say from your point of view won't be discreet but will make my point. I have miscarried many times. Is that private information? Yes, but I choose to share it because it has opened many opportunities for me to minister to young ladies who hurt so badly but have no one to talk to or think no one understands. Did you know that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage? Shouldn't something that happens so often be discussed among women so they can encourage and pray for one another?
I have several serious health issues. Again, I choose to share because again, I have had opportunities of ministry because I've shared. Right now I am mentoring a young woman from a broken home whom I met at our mutual dr. office. Had I not been willing to greet her, talk and share with her this would not have been possible.
My son has two rare auto immune disorders. I choose to share because a cure needs to be found and because I covet others prayers for him. I met a doctor who works with these specific autoimmune diseases because I shared with others. Now he has a treatment that no one else has ever used in 19 years. All because I shared "private" information.
Over the years I have been the subject of gossip. In my opinion that's not because I shared to much it's because someone else has a problem with their tongue.
I've asked others questions and then realized they are much more private than I am and they have been offended. I think discretion comes in to play in knowing and seeing signals in others that would rather not share. A very dear friend of mine considers me one of her closest friends but I know very little about her. Another friend is not much more than an acquaintance and I know what seems like everything about her.

My point about all of this is that discretion is indeed an under used quality in today's world. However, even though God's word never changes the world does. Some things that were never talked about back in the 1800's are better to be out in the open now. Also, instead of looking at the fact that knowing something about someone makes them more vulnerable to gossip doesn't it make them more venerable to be the object of prayer?
Please don't think I am being cruel in my words. It is not meant to be that way at all. Just a different view point.

Kimberline said...

Thank you so much for the newest article. I was just put on the hotseat at church by one of the older women. It was very upsetting because of the nature of her prying, her sharp response to the answer I gave her when I probably shouldn't have answered at all, as well as the disappointment I felt in her as someone I was looking to as an example. I really have had next to no Titus 2 women in my life and I had made her one. I now think I was too hasty. She isn't on my list any longer and her sharp words were a true discouragement to me. If only people knew how just a few sharp words can stay with someone for ever so long. I can FORGIVE what she said but I just can't forget it. It was an object lesson though. I am trying so much harder to carefully weigh my words now before speaking. I really don't mean to cause harm or hurt to anyone. What a good reminder I found in the article. Our words can be a balm or a burr to someone's soul. I so appreciate your leading in these articles, Lydia.

Anonymous said...

I would like to ask if you consider posting on sites like Pinterest to be lacking in discretion. I have mixed feelings about it and I am wondering what your opinion is. Is it indiscreet to post things like favorite recipes or things for the home we wish to purchase? Do we give away too much information unwittingly when we have boards on Pinterest dedicated to our religious beliefs? Where to draw the line? Thank you for any tips. Many women are very absorbed in Pinterest now and I am not sure if I ought to participate.

Lydia said...

The older women I knew when I was a child were careful not to reveal personal things like miscarriages except to a close friend. Health issues were kept quiet except for those that had to know. We could probably air just about all our errors in the name of ministry, but some of it can lead others astray or cause others to judge you unfairly; or things we say can make people's minds dwell on less that that which is pure and good. We need more privacy these days, I think.

Lydia said...

and, being able to sense when someone considers certain subjects private, is a great skill. Not everyone can do this, so I have found it best only to wait and see if the person wants to reveal something, or wants to know something, before telling it. That way, there is no danger of invading their privacy or revealing your own to their offense.

Anonymous said...

I have a rare autoimmune disease and it can be difficult to live with. I used to be more "open" about it, in an attempt to explain some symptoms such as why I was often very tired. However, I found that was not the best policy. It led to more and more questions, that I did not want to answer. One problem with being open about things like illness, is that there can come a time when you want more privacy, but people have become accustomed to you divulging too much, and are offended when you no longer want to do that. They can also assume that because you are willing to discuss some aspects of the condition, they can feel free to ask all sorts of invastive questions, and make all sorts of suggestions, medical and otherwise, which can lead to confusion and be a drain on one's energy.

Also, I want to be known as something more than the woman with the disease. If I choose to discuss the condition with others, they will see me not as a capable mother and wife, but the woman with the condition that has a weird name, or something like that. I'd rather live so well and quietly with my struggles that people are shocked if they happen to learn of it.

Lydia said...

Sometimes elderly people will refuse to divulge the doctor's diagnoses because they dont want it to be the subject on everyone's mind for the remainder of their lives, especially if it is terminal. They may not tell anyone they have a disease, or cancer, and just go home and live a normal. life. That is what I call discretion. People just do not understand that today.

Anonymous said...

In saying all this, do we just use a smoke screen on everything and live in secrecy?

Anonymous said...

There is a difference between "living in secrecy" and having common decency. I think Lady Lydia has made that abundantly clear.

Anonymous said...

I know you like to keep this blog pleasant and free of politics, but I heard something so related to this post I wanted to mention it. The recent stimulus bill to give more aid to the public schools takes away some of the student's right to privacy and the need to obtain parent consent before giving information to private companies. You can research "Common Core and privacy" on the internet if you wish.

Anonymous said...

Comment at 5:04 - the point is not to live in "secrecy" but privacy. We live in the Facebook era where people do not "get" this subtle difference. Facebook culture would have you constantly putting out information - most of it personal and trivial. This information can, at the worst, be used against that person in the form of bullying and gossip. On the other hand just wasting countless hours reading up on everyone is not a "holy" use of time! We are supposed to be redeeming the time. We are supposed to be salt and light.

I will give an example of how being indiscreet will cost you. A few years back, I met a new neighbour on my street and because our toddlers were the same age we got together to "visit". Well, she had a way of extracting way too much information about my husband, family, situation, etc. This person I found out later has been the cause of extremely malicious gossip and general foolishness in her life. In short, when Proverbs tells you not to associate with fools, I cannot underscore enough how true this is! I found out the hard way, through wasted hours, emotional blackmail, etc. I have now distanced myself from this person but I recognize that I could have prevented this had I been more discreet in the first place.

Thank you Lady Lydia, for a very important message. Keep writing and have a Blessed Easter!

Lydia said...

If you will read some of the old novels written in the 17 and 18 hundreds or earlier, there was sometimes a contrast between the blabbermouth and the dignifed, reserved person. They talkative one would reveal things that would get both he and the conservative person into trouble, and create all kinds of commotion in the community portrayed in the book. The reserved people were considered higher and nobler in thought and deed; the blabbermouth was looked on as simple-minded and shallow.

As for facebook, I recognize that it can be used for something good, such as church announcements or when facebook members put my blog there to notify people when it is updated. :-) I myself do not use facebook because when it first began I was right there enjoying the new technology, and had my identity and picture stolen and a fake facebook page put up, inviting all kinds of strange people with vile messages. So I wont be ever getting back on it. It did not work for me, and I would rather people email me or visit my blog. I think blogs are beautiful--just look at the ones on my blogroll, and are a chance for many people to have beautiful glossy magazines online, whereas previously it was immpossible to publish, for many people. Now I see some of the mainline magazines are using the blogs for their articles.

Lydia said...

I would like to address the "using-personal-information-for-ministering to-the-hurting" issue.

After living in a preacher's world for over 40 years I have seen people seek personal information for the purpose of ministry. They would tell something in BIble class of a personal nature so that they could seek the prayers of the congregation.

They would ask personal questions about your past so that they could offer sympathy or get some advise for themselves.

But still, if it is personal, it should remain so, and never spoken of in broader circle of acquaintances.

If you had an awful fight with your husband or child, it is my experience that it is better to pray for them yourself or ask your mother or daughter to pray for them, even if you don't reveal the problem. The reason for this is, asking for public prayer puts your family in question and brings further curiosity. You also expose yourself to things. I am thinking in particular that there is a tendency to think "failure" about some people when they air their dirty laundry. I dont know if anyone ever heard of that saying: don't air your dirty laundry.

Ministry has been used as an excuse to expose people's problems when they might like privacy.

And as far as using your own miscarriages and health problems for the purpose of ministry, I think you still have to be careful that the other person wants it.

Lydia said...

If you just commented within the last hour, please submit your comment again. I think I deleted them.

Lydia said...

Also, some people would want to know details of someone's problems and claim it was "for ministry" or "for prayer" but it leaked out and became an embarrassment to the other people.

Lydia said...

I have had to curb a lot of the medical talk during ladies Bible class, as ladies can spend the entire hour talking about dreadful, depressing things. A visitor to our class once said, about 20 years ago, "How can you stand so much bad news?"
It was then i decided we would talk up, about the scriptures we were reading, and make it uplifting. Prayers were always offered at the end for those who were sick, but we did not discuss details.

Lydia said...

What I am saying is that some people want to know personal details and claim its "for prayer" but they really are salivating to know some kind of family problem.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lady Lydia
I agree very much with this article. Facebook in particular, seems to mirror society's current trend of revealing every detail about our lives, even what seems to be the dull minutiae of daily life.
The "cult of celebrity" seems to be spreading, and too many want to jump on board, with everyone feeling they are entitled to know your business.
This is such a wonderful reminder of what is truly important, and I for one, will start being more careful of how much I reveal to others, and to whom.
There is an expression I heard once, which springs to mind, " Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool, then to open it and remove all doubt".

Anonymous said...

I remember my parents not wanting to tell people where they were going, or when they were coming home, or what they were doing. I thought at the time that they were too paranoid. Now as I get older, I resent the questioning, and the disdain for my privacy. As I dont want to reveal trivial things, they express their astonishment that I do not want to give an answer. They label me as abnormal.

Lydia said...

It sounds confusing to those who are not accustomed to descretion, as it seems like memorizing what not to say and what to say. The main point is that if it is about someone else's personal business, it is best not to inquire for details, or to bring up a subject. Remember in the comedy "Fawlty Towers" how the hotel proprietor brought a dinner guest to tears by asking her about the war, and she had lost her whole family and the atrocities of it were brought back to her memory just by the questions and comments Basil was asking her.

I remember a woman asking a man whose wife was sick, "So, are you going to put her in a nursing home?" The shock on his face was terrible, and the question very imposing, personal and unfeeling. Of course there are those in this world who think if you dont get answers, the other people are "lying" or "hiding" or putting up a smoke screen, but that is not the case at all. It is awful when your personal business is aired all over a church or a family or a community, and it is best not to inquire about these things unless it is a close, personal friend who has already confided in you.

Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful and timely post. the book of Proverbs has numerous verses that apply to discretion and its opposites.

Women are to have a gentle and quiet spirit. 1 Peter 3:4 This is of great worth in God's eyes. A woman with discretion will have a gentle and quiet spirit and vice versa.

Our society has seemingly totally lost the art of discretion. Not just in clothing and speech but in the social media. It begs for behavior that is the farthest from discretion.

Gail said...

People are so accustomed to having to know everything and tell it all that most will find what you are saying to be utterly strange, as was evidenced in some of the comments you have received on this post. But I can attest to those who disagree with Lydia, that as surely as night follows day, you will certainly come to regret gossiping about yourself.

Anonymous said...

Your post also brings up the bible's caution against being a busybody. See 2 Thess 3:11 and 1 Timothy 5:13. Once at church there was a woman who would ask alot of questions. Even if you didn't really mean to talk to her about something at length, she would ask about various aspects of it. Then the next week she would ask for updates, and the next and the next. If it is an illness or health concern, the patient can begin to feel like they are no longer a person, but a condition, as no one asks how THEY are but "how's your ". Years ago my husband had knee surgery. For literally years afterwards, certain people would not even say hi to him as a greeting, but "how's your knee?"!

Lydia said...

that is one reason I never tell anyone of the rare occasions that I've been in the hospital or had any illness.

Anonymous said...

I don't know how I missed this post, but I am glad that I finally saw it...It, along with the comments, are wonderful and full of good food-for-thought.

On the subject of FB I am on my second time of trying it. I changed many things this time around and it has been much better, but there is still something that I don't care for about it. I grow weary of the negative news that is shared, particularly regarding politics and the state of the country/world. I also agree with you in that blogs are so much prettier to look at. And, while there are exceptions, most tend to be more careful about what they share on blogs and more thought is put into what is posted.

The exception to this is what I sometimes see mothers post on their blogs about their children. These poor children are losing their privacy because of the poor judgment of their mothers and it makes me very sad.

Lydia said...

I do not think the pictures of their children should be on public blogs. If I find one that has childrens pictures I take the blog off my blogroll. Its not safe or private to have children's pictures on the blogs.

Anonymous said...

Could the word for number six be "boorishness?" Inferring from characters in books described as such it might be! Thank you for the article and the reminders.

Mrs. C.

Lydia said...

Excellent point. Hospitality is something in which this occurs. I have often been asked, after giving an invitation, "What are we having?" and wanting a detailed list of the food. I do not think it is wise to ask such a question, in case for some reason, the original menu does not quite work out. That way , the hostess has a chance to change her mind about the menu. I always considered it rude to ask a hostess, "Why are you inviting me?
or, "What for?" This attitude always puzzled me, because I was brought up among Christians who practiced hospitality. You did it for the Lord and for others because it is good to "give" and because it would influence them for Christ. But the world cannot understand it sometimes and wants to know the details of the whole thing, as if they were in a restaurant making a choice off the menu.

Anonymous said...

As a child my mother taught me that you NEVER ask what is on the menu when invited over for dinner. And you take a little bit of everything and not too much of anything. And if you don't like something you keep that to yourself.

She also taught me to NEVER invite myself over to someone's home, even if they were relatives....I was to wait to be invited.

Suddenly I am very thankful for the things my mother taught me. :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for this post. I've been pondering this topic myself much recently.

One must even watch what is put in an email. I've been burned before by someone forwarding an email containing sensitive information to someone else without my permission. I've begun either relating sensitive information verbally or even in a letter.

I found the 1922 edition of Emily Post's etiquette book online. I had previously read elsewhere that it wasn't considered a good thing to write on the reverse of a page when writing a letter (Miss Manners). The Emily Post book explained why: because the writing on the back of a page would show through the envelope. I write lots of letters and the writing does show through the envelope.

Another way in which many people today show a lack of discretion is on their cell phone calls. I've been on public transportation while a businessman was loudly discussing the details of a contract or deal still in negotiations. Others will talk in a very sexually suggestive way with a girlfriend or boyfriend. A coworker used to do this every day on his lunch break, while I was still working at my nearby desk. I actually went to HR to get him to stop as it made me very uncomfortable.

My congregation does have a Facebook page, but it's not used much. Our pastor sends out announcements as needed on email. One must also show discretion in posting pictures online. I've been asked to take pictures at weddings and other special events at church. Depending on the number of pictures, I will either burn a CD, email a few pictures, or post the pictures on one of my online albums (only viewable if you have the link). A lot of people like the last option because they can send the album link to those unable to attend the event. When I take pictures of Easter or Christmas services, I try very hard not to get closeups of children, as these pictures are posted on our congregation's website. I send the pictures to my pastor and he posts what he likes.

What's interesting about being more discreet is that if you've previously been very open about everything, and then begin showing more discretion about what you share, people either think you're being "stuck up," you're hiding something, or it simply makes them nervous. The first happened with a friend in her office, and the last happened to me. The comment where the poster mentioned her husband's coworker talking to him about the coworker's female issues really reminded me of my office. My little area is all women, but really, do your coworkers really need to know everything that goes on in your life? Unfortunately, they blend their work and personal lives, being connected on Facebook. There has been drama on Facebook, which in turn has caused problems in the office in the past.

I would prefer to not be on Facebook. I did delete my account a few years back, but went back after a while after I discovered that some long-term friends will not communicate in between visits any other way. Births, engagements, deaths all get announced on Facebook. They simply don't consider sharing the news in any other manner than Facebook. These are old friends, and I don't want to end friendships over the fact that someone won't use email.

Lydia said...

Yes they get very offended when you do not answer a direct question with the full details of information they required. They think the freedom of information act is something that was enacted for them to pry every detail out of your life. I was observing this today: how many questions are asked! I tried to answer without divulging personal information but it generated more questions. I believe if someone wants to reveal something, they will outright tell you. I feel my blog is sufficient enough on personal information. And as you mentioned facebook, I did notice that people quit using email and quit visiting my blog. Now that they have facebook they are caught up in moment by moment details of everyone's lives.