Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Creating a Culture at Home: An Etiquette Perspective by Anna Post

Last year I was able to meet with Anna Post. Our philosophies are very similar when it comes to etiquette, entertaining, and creating traditions. I am honored that she has once again found the time to write a guest post for my blog about creating a culture at home. Thank you so much, Anna.

The word culture brings to mind everything from cities to civilizations. But culture can apply anywhere there are groups of people living or working together on any scale. The culture you create in your home is one of the most important because it affects how you interact with your loved ones, how your children are raised, and how guests feel in your home.  How does etiquette figure into all this?  Respect, consideration, and honesty (the tenets of etiquette) are necessary when creating this culture.

Several factors influence your at-home culture:
  • Physical appearance - How your home is decorated. Is it impeccably clean or comfortably cluttered? Does it have a casual feel or a more formal one?
  • Emotional atmosphere - How people in your home interact. Will they be greeted with bug hugs and shouts of joy or simple handshakes?
  • Standards - The house rules. Does everyone take his or her shoes off at the door? What kind of language is appropriate?
  • Traditions - Let everyone know what to expect and what is expected of them. How are birthdays to be celebrated? Who carves the turkey on Thanksgiving?
place setting

Together, these factors weave together the unique culture of your home. Each is important to consider when deciding what environment you want to live in. Raising children is one of the mot important reasons for this.

The home is where children learn standards essential to becoming considerate, respectful, honest people. To be considerate, a person has to think about others, and in this sense, thinking is learned and refined with practice. Family life presents daily opportunities for lessons in thoughtfulness and consideration.


Respect is simple. If everyone in the home treats themselves and others with respect, then they will become respectful young adults. This shows that you care about yourself and the people around you.

Finally, we have honesty. Simply put, if children see honest behavior, that is what they will learn. If they observe deception and little white lies, they that is what they will learn.

Understanding these three principles makes it easier for kids to appreciate the standards and traditions they live with and also to understand how they can be different home to home. It's important for parents to be clear that their children must respect the standards and traditions of the homes they visit. They learn this both from their own parents and from the people they visit.

For more information about etiquette in the modern world, please visit EmilyPost.com or read the Emily Post's Etiquette, 18th Edition.


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