Courtesy breeds civility

We had the fun and good fortune of a dinner together with Cristi Lee and her family, and in the course of conversation, Cristi mentioned that she had come across some thought-provoking ideas in her recent reading.

One was a quote from Dr. James Dobson, “Manners easily and rapidly mature into morals,” and another from author Sheryl Eberly who says that when we teach social graces to our children, we are training the next generation in self-government and self-control.

Cristi teaches in Kerrville’s sixth grade school, and is convinced that “most families” fail to teach or model good manners at home. Going way beyond knowing which fork to use, so many kids act and speak to adults and to each other in a way that shows no respect or self-restraint.

Holiday House--how it all started!

Holiday House–how it all started!

Thank goodness The Heart has such a deep-seated tradition of manners!

When Heart O’ the Hills Inn first became a summer camp 60 years ago, it was a junior camp. Because it was “ritzy,” with air-conditioning, wall-to-wall carpeting, fine dining and the like, demanding grownup behavior from little girls was a natural.

Later on, the Holiday House was added for older girls, with instruction on modeling, grooming, posture, hostessing, and more. Along with that, the girls got to attend a play at the nearby Point Theater, and a fancy dinner at the Raleigh House.

Teens all dressed up for their fancy dinner at Riverhill Country Club

Teens all dressed up for their fancy dinner at Riverhill Country Club

Attending a play at The Point is still a tradition for our Seniors, and the Teens have their fancy dinner at Riverhill Country Club (alas, the Raleigh House is no more). Apart from those opportunities for the campers to turn their focus to proper behavior in public, we still strive to teach good grooming and table manners.

In Life Skills, the Seniors hear all about writing thank-you notes, introducing themselves properly, helping a newcomer join the group, and how to navigate the dance or social occasion.

Above all, our campers and counselors don’t curse, keep their hands to themselves, and use their “magic words,” please and thank you. Or at least we do our best!

About the Author

Jane Ragsdale

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Jane Ragsdale (Mrs. Dick Howell) is the director of Heart O’ the Hills. She was a Heart camper and counselor, and served as program director from 1978-87. She has been one of the owners since 1976, and director since 1988.

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