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Everyday Graces: A Child’s Book of Good Manners

Publisher: Intercollegiate Studies Institute • 2003 • 407 pages

Good manners are about much more than selecting the proper fork and keeping one’s elbows off the table. They are, writes Karen Santorum, “an outward expression of inner virtue” — the everyday habits of conduct and speech by which we express our fundamental respect for others, whether parents, friends, colleagues, or strangers. And, like the virtues themselves, good manners are best learned through constant practice and examples. That’s why Mrs. Santorum created “Everyday Graces: A Child’s Book of Good Manners” — a wonderfully rich and instructive anthology of stories, poems, and literary excerpts that illustrate the connection between good manners and good character.

Mrs. Santorum provides no fewer than 164 selections that teach good manners in the home . . . in speech . . . at meals . . . in personal hygiene and dress . . . towards the elderly, sick and disabled . . . in public and in other people’s homes . . . with friends, schoolmates and teachers . . . at play and in sports . . . in correspondence . . . at church, weddings and funerals . . . towards animals . . . in citizenship . . . and more. Lesson categories include:

Honor Your Father and Mother * Helping Out at Home * Loving Your Family * Loving Your Home * Please, Thank You and Other Kind Words * Taming the Tongue * Telling the Truth * Be Considerate at the Table * Eat in Moderation * Appreciate What You Are Served * Setting the Table * Washing * Dressing * Appreciating People with Disabilities * Being a Friend to the Elderly * Showing Compassion for the Sick * Visiting Other People’s Homes * The Value of Hard Work * Following the Rules * Good Sportsmanship * Seeing the Good in People * Sharing in Your Friends’ Successes * Helping Each Other * Good Ways to Lose Friends * Writing Letters and Invitations * Behavior in Church * Good Citizenship * Respecting the American Flag * More

Mrs. Santorum writes that this anthology “grew out of the frustration of not being able to find a book on manners that instructs through stories rather than by rules of dos and don’ts.” Each of her selections has been tried and tested on her own children — and each is introduced and concluded by her own thoughtful commentary. Authors include Hans Christian Anderson, Robert Louis Stevenson, George MacDonald, Aesop, Mother Goose, Beatrix Potter, Mark Twain, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Geoffrey Chaucer, Homer, A.A. Milne, William Blake, L. Frank Baum, C. S. Lewis and Max Lucado, to name only a few. Your children will learn:

  • Why “speaking your mind” isn’t always a good idea — as seen in Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables
  • The importance of good table manners — as illustrated by Johanna Spryi’s Heidi and Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland
  • The art of serving others a pleasant meal, as shown in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  • The importance of good grooming, in a story about the battle of Thermopylae
  • Learning to live by the Golden Rule, as seen in Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess
  • How to introduce people properly, as exampled in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Men
  • Why cheating in school is never a good idea, as discovered in Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer
  • The meaning and importance of good sportsmanship, as taught in Mary Maples Dodge’s Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates and “The Battle of Hector and Ajax” from Homer’s Iliad
  • Why and how we write letters, from Rudyard Kipling’s “How the First Letter Was Written” and the correspondence of Presidents Jefferson and Lincoln

“One of the casualties of the ‘culture war’ has been civility, manners, and what we called in my grandparents’ generation ‘deportment.’ Karen Santorum mounts a counteroffensive in Everyday Graces, gleaned from classic sources that teach what we once held to be common sense and common values. This book belongs in every home in need of reinforcements.” —CAL THOMAS

“A delightful and poignant opportunity for parent and child to bond in love and wisdom.” —DR. LAURA SCHLESSINGER

“Parents who share this book with their children will thank Karen Santorum for the skill and sensitivity with which she chose its contents. And so will the parents’ children when, years hence, they read it with their own children.” —GEORGE F. WILL

“Karen Santorum touches a raw nerve. The moral decay in American life has led to the coarsening of America. . . . Through stories, poems, fables and myths, here is a great resource to restore manners.” —CHARLES W. COLSON

“What I want to say to Mrs. Santorum for giving us this remarkable and stimu_lating book on the much-neglected subject of manners is: Ma’am, permit me — thank you so very, very much.” —WILLIAM MURCHISON

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