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Rabbi Caine's Derekh Eretz Challenge

Derekh Eretz Resolutions: Good Manners We Can Work On

Choose a few that your family will work on this coming year.

 Challenge friends to join you in your chosen resolutions on Facebook, and link back to this page.


Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. - Emily Post

The test of good manners is to be patient with bad ones. - Solomon ben Yehuda ibn Gabirol


  • When asking for something, say "Please." When receiving something (even from someone paid to help you), say "Thank you."
  • When a guest comes to the door (even, say, a babysitter), everyone in the house (including every adult) stops what they are doing and greets the guest at the front door. (Kids can go back to doing what they were doing once they've asked how the guest is doing and have stayed for a little while.)
  • Take turns. Don't bud. Look around to see if someone you didn't notice is waiting for their turn.
  • Include younger children in your activity and help them succeed. After a while you can say, “We're going to take a turn of playing with just the big kids, but then we'll have another turn with all of us.”
  • Don't block people who are walking: look around to make sure you're not walking in front of somebody, or blocking them from getting by. If you bump into somebody, immediately say "Excuse me."
  • Do not interrupt grown-ups who are speaking with each other unless there is an emergency. They will notice you and respond when they are finished talking. If you do need to get somebody's attention right away, the phrase "excuse me" is the most polite way for you to enter the conversation.
  • The world is not interested in what you dislike. Keep negative opinions to yourself, or between you and your friends, and out of earshot of adults.
  • Consider your body language no different from words coming out of your mouth. Smile when you can. Greet strangers with a cheerful countenance. Keep negative body language to yourself.
  • Do not comment on other people's physical characteristics unless, of course, it's to compliment them, which is always welcome.
  • When people ask you how you are, tell them and then ask them how they are.
  • Go out of your way to greet and make welcome anyone who is new, such as a new student in your class. Work hard on remembering and using people's name.
  • Don't make promises that you need others (like parents) to follow through on, before checking with them first.
  • When you have any doubt about doing something, ask permission first. It can save you from many hours of grief later.
  • Don't leave the table or ask for dessert until everyone is finished their main course.
  • If there is no obvious 'host', wait for everyone else before you start eating.
  • Carry your own used dishes to the kitchen.
  • When you have spent time at your friend's house, remember to thank his or her parents for having you over and for the good time you had.
  • Knock on closed doors -- and wait to see if there's a response -- before entering.
  • When you make a phone call, introduce yourself first and then ask if you can speak with the person you are calling.
  • Be appreciative and say "thank you" for any gift you receive. In the age of e-mail, a handwritten thank-you note can have a powerful effect.
  • Never use foul language in front of adults. Grown-ups already know all those words, and they find them boring and unpleasant.
  • Don't call people mean names.
  • Do not make fun of anyone for any reason. Teasing shows others you are weak, and ganging up on someone else is cruel.
  • Even if a play or an assembly is boring, sit through it quietly and pretend that you are interested. The performers and presenters are doing their best.
  • As you walk through a door, look to see if you can hold it open for someone else.
  • When an adult asks you for a favor, do it without grumbling and with a smile.
  • Don't talk about something in public that someone who can hear wasn't invited to.
  • Use eating utensils properly. If you are unsure how to do so, ask your parents to teach you or watch what adults do.
  • Do what the teacher says to do, not what other kids are doing. If you're not sure what the teacher instructed, find a polite way to tell them you don't understand the directions.


Mon, February 19 2018 4 Adar 5778