Monday, July 07, 2014

Morning Tea


Still Life of Porcelain and Biscuits, by George E. Foster, German/American 1817-1896

Available from Allposters


Good morning. I have been out in the garden in the cooler moments and now am having my morning tea.


Flower Arrangement Tips



The flower garden is filling out, and I went to the above link to find out more about arranging flowers for the home. There is a slide show instruction from a flower-arranging school, too, plus seasonal bouquet ideas. For further flower-arranging instruction, do a search on YouTube.


My flower beds are filling out.


Many years ago in an ettiquette class I taught the importance of using our hands for good. Children should keep their hands to themselves and not aggravate other people with their hands. They should learn self-control by having their minds trained for good things, and then have their minds control their actions. I am sure everyone knows what it is like to be "picked on" by a child who cannot keep her hands to herself. Hands should not be bothering other people.



If this is not learned in formative years, it can lead to trouble later on. The Bible says a lot about the use of hands, for good or for ill. I particularly never liked other people handling my babies and children in public---tickling, stroking, grabbing, picking them up, twirling them, etc. I feel that just as adults have a personal "space" and you keep a polite distance and do not get up too close, that children's personal space should be respected.



Polite behavior demands that we not only stand a polite distance from people but we also are careful to control our hands, not meddling with other people's children. Teen girls are wont to be obsessed with children, but they should practice polite restraint and not touch other people's children unless invited.

An old plant holder with a birdhouse theme, from a former anniversary.



Hands also have to be guarded and trained by the mind not to touch everything that the impulse demands. The Bible teaches us to control the impulses. Young ladies need to practice the art of restraint in the homes of other people, in church, in the market and when with their siblings, cousins and friends. If you restrain your hands you can never be guilty of damaging property, personal or public, and can never be accused of anything offensive or tawdry.



If you are a young lady having trouble knowing what to do with your hands, you might try practicing flower-arranging. Your hands will be so busy from the intricate work required in this skill, and your mind will be duly and thoughtfully focused on something worthwhile. There are a number of ways to use such careful creations, and there are numerous facilities that would welcome such a sweet gesture.


Young ladies who are having a struggle controlling their hands need to direct them to a worthwhile work, such as the flower arranging I suggested, or art or gardenning, sewing or some other thing that has something to show for the effort. How about becoming a dedicated housekeeper and keeping your mothers house clean, at the same time keeping your hands out of trouble and busy with something useful.

Meddling with other people leaves no reward but frustration on both sides, and nothing to show for it but loss of friendship and respect. They should engage their hands in something that requires them to mind their own business, or keep them still.



There is an old saying that idle hands make mischief, but The act of holding your hands still and being politely refined in your movements, not threatening anyone by the way you handle yourself, is good, too. The idle-hands-make-mischief slogan can mislead some young ladies into thinking they cannot hold their hands still, ever.



If young girls and young ladies are having difficulty controlling their hands, they can meditate on the teaching in the New Testament that says Christians are supposed to be quiet and mind their own business and not meddle:



1Th 4:11    And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;

1Th 4:12    That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.


Sometimes people are convinced they are being "friendly and outgoing" and must be always aggravating others with their hands, (especially brothers and sisters) but this is not true help or true affection, especially if the other people do not like it.



The above is part of the lesson I taught on how our hands can be used for good or for ill. Sincere young ladies will not wish to be offensive to others and will desire to build their social skills in a pleasing way, rather than being pushy. A pushy young lady who will not accept instruction on this matter will become a pushy old lady someday who will become a terrible plague on other people. Mothers are obligated to teach their children a hands-off policy regarding people and things. When my children were little, I finally had to establish a hands-off policy regarding other people tugging on their clothes or their hair or aggravating them, including siblings.



I have a few more "lectures" coming up, from old manners lessons for children, including one on crude language and one on important old sayings. Pleasant times at home depend on some teaching and training. It is nice to sit and have a cup of tea with the children, but if they are not taught how to make their hands behave, the purpose of the event is spoiled.








anglow said...

More lectures? Please bring them on!!!!! I love knowing there are people who still teach manners and humility. Thank you!

ChristyH said...

I think my sons need to work on keeping their hands to themselves.

Yes, bring on more lectures!!

Renee said...

I appreciate these inspirational lectures on manners. The relationship of big brother to little sister especially seems to bring out this "poking" or not keeping the hands to themselves and is frustrating I agree. Any practical thoughts on how to break it once the habit is in place?

Susan said...

I had trouble with this when I was a little girl. I had a need to handle and touch everything. The first time I got my hands in real trouble was the last time. I couldn't resist some candy in the candy shop that I didn't pay for. When I got home with it my mother marched me right back to the store and made me return the candy and apologize to the store owner, in front of all the other patrons. Then we marched home and I began my instruction in sewing. This was not an option on my part and at first I didn't like it, but as soon as I understood all the pretty things I could make I was perfectly content. The first thing I learned was to braid rugs, and then making clothes for my dolls, and then French knots for embroidery. There is a reason why in old paintings you see young girls sewing. It kept them out of other mischief. I learned to love it and these needle arts have become one of the joys of my life.

In my days church was a place of restraint and a place where I learned patience and respect for others. We went there in our best "Sunday" clothes with an attitude of humility to worship, sing, and pray for those in need.
As I became a young girl I sang in the choir, became a Sunday school teacher, and helped in the nursery. I was too busy taking care of my duties to be a bother to others. As I got older I realized that all these church responsibilities were helping to prepare me for life as an adult. The older men and women in the church became some of my life instructors. Their criticism of my sometimes unacceptable behavior helped to steer me in the right direction. Respect for elders is an important factor in bringing up children.

I love the lectures. These are very important issues that need to be discussed. Manners especially seem to be rapidly disappearing from society. It frightens me to see the directions things are going.

The flowers are pretty. We are having a bit of a dry spell in the east.

Christine said...

I agree with the others, more lectures.
We all can be taught. Even us who are older.

Unknown said...

My mother taught me at an early age these very things. She taught me that hands were beautiful tools that God gave us to use not only for ourselves but for others. She taught me to keep my hands clean, well-manicured, and to myself unless using them to help others.

An elderly spinster lived next door to us and she and I became special friends. She often invited me to tea at her house starting when I was about 5 years of age. My mother would curl my hair and put in barrettes or bows, dress me in a pretty dress, check my hands to see that all was fresh and clean and then she would allow me to go over for tea.

I remember her house as cool, dark, and sweet smelling. There were white starched doilies on the tables. My hostess used to always have on a pretty dark colored skirt and blouse with a ruffle or lace about her throat. She always took my little hand in hers and softly greeted me in her entry hall. If I had on a coat she would hang it up for me on a tall coat rack.

We would go into her sitting room which was immaculately clean and where a beautiful tea tray was all ready for us. There were usually fresh flowers. Her lovely china was set out for us with small homemade cookies or sandwiches.

She spoke sweetly and gently to me in a well-modulated and calm manner. As she poured our tea, she would ask me about school and my friends. She spoke of the seasons and her garden. I felt very grown up for a little girl, cared about and a cherished friend. Of course my cup of tea had plenty of milk and sugar in it. I enjoyed her company. There was no "generation gap".

Miss Bechtel told my mother she always enjoyed having me over to tea because I was polite and did not touch things that I was not supposed to. Through this special friendship I learned the art of small conversation, listening, and how to appreciate people of all ages. Our teas probably didn't last more than an hour but I never felt rushed. She looked me in the eye and I could see how much she was enjoying herself.

I only wish that every little girl could have that special relationship and tea time that I had. I was so sad when she passed away. I will always cherish those memories.

I shared these tea times with my sons. When my oldest son was in High School, He would come home after school and make me a cup of tea, even putting a paper doily on the plate between the cup and saucer. He would tell me he knew how hard I had worked at home and now it was time for me to sit down, drink my tea, and he would ask about my day and tell me about his day at school.
All these were because of a tradition started with an older lady and myself. Small events in ones life can have great meaning.

Susan said...

Debbie that is such a lovely story. Thank you for sharing it.

Katrinka said...

When I was a girl and teenager I had a bad habit of biting my fingernails. It seemed nothing I did or my parents tried would work to make me stop. When I entered junior high school I took up sewing in home ec, and to my surprise, when I began sewing (not hand sewing, even just by machine) the urge to bite my nails went away.

I never tried to figure out the correlation between the two, I was always busy with work or school or time with my horse or pets, so I was never idle, but for some reason using my hands for sewing satisfied the urge that was causing the nail biting.