Press: Iyer Press (October 6, 2008)
Author Name:Kennedy, John
INTRODUCTION ON the high occasions of family life, such as weddings, baptisms, and funerals, we find ourselves involved in ceremonies.
What happens at them How can we best prepare for them What is involved in participating in them These are the questions this book seeks to answer.
I have told all that is needed for ordinary people concerning the etiquette of these occasions, and I have added some observations on the meaning underlying them.
Etiquette without meaning is an empty form.
These high occasions in family life are turning points.
That is why they are celebrated with some ceremony.
To observe convention and to miss their life-meaning is to fail to adjust ourselves to the new pattern of living which they set.
Yet etiquette in itself is important.
It is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as The conventional rules of personal behaviour in polite society.
The observance of etiquette gives form and dignity to a social or family occasion.
It is the outcome of long experience as to how to arrange our social affairs in the most agreeable way.
As in most other aspects of human conduct, its rules are not cast- iron rules.
One can depart from normal convention if there is good reason for doing so, nor need one be unduly disconcerted if through ignorance or inadvertence some social rule is broken.
The spirit of thoughtfulness and kindness matters more than the rules.
Etiquette is simply an extension of good manners.
Yet, falling back on the rules of etiquette on a social occasion saves much uncertainty and friction.
What has worked well on numerous other ceremonial occasions is a good guide to the arranging of our own.
Etiquette gives definiteness and agreeableness to our arrangements.
It provides the channels through which kindness and courtesy can flow.
To mean well is not enough.
On a social or ceremonial occasion there must be a certain pattern in the arrangements into which the participants fit if they are to feel incase.
Convention comes to our aid in letting us know beforehand the personal duties which fit into this overall pattern.
If we observe the convencions in a spirit of goodwill, what seems at first a formidable under- taking becomes a creative achievement carried through with ease and with pleasure to all.
There is no successful ceremonial occasion which has not real planning and work behind it.
The planning, however, need not be rushed, nor the work extemporised on the spot............
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