Etiquette Lesson 1

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But let all things be done decently and in good order. 1 Corinthians 14:40

St Paul in his letter to the Corinthians told them that God wanted them to do things properly.

Etiquette introduction & definition:

Etiquette is a word you may not have heard. It was used more in years past. Today we refer to it as having good manners but it really is even more than just that. Etiquette is the way you act that is appropriate for the situation you are in.

Using proper manners will be different around different people, in different places and in different situations. In general, you will be using good manners if you do not make someone else feel uncomfortable or embarrassed by what you do.

Etiquette also involves showing respect for people, places and situations. God tells us to show respect and honor to our parents and anyone else who has authority over us. When we talk about those who have authority over us we are talking not only about our parents but also about anyone God has put in a place of responsibility over us. Included in this group would be older family members, teachers, pastors, Lutheran Pioneer leaders, police officers, government officials, people we work for and in general most adults.

God says in Genesis 20:12 “Honor your father and mother so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving to you.”

Martin Luther in his small catechism explained this commandment in this way:

“We should fear and love God that we do not dishonor or anger our parents or others in authority, but honor serve and obey them and give them love and respect.”

Showing this respect is not only for you as boys but also for all adults. One way we show this respect is by using good manners when interacting with parents, other adults and those who are the same age as us.


We can show respect and practice proper etiquette in many ways. When you are in a group in a public place like a mall, store, school or church activity or fast food restaurant, you may find that you have to wait in line. Be ready to do that. Don’t push to the front or “cut” in front of others. If you are in line with your brothers or sisters or friends, don’t begin pushing each other or fighting with each other. You certainly can visit with each other but don’t shout or use crude or coarse language. While this may be funny around a campfire with just the ”guys” or during an athletic event, it is not appropriate in a public place.

When possible; let others go first, especially if they are older or if they are females. This shows respect for the other person.

When talking with others, adults or other kids your age, listen to what they are saying. Don’t interrupt the person talking, rather take your turn in the conversation. No one really appreciates someone trying to dominate the conversation all of the time.

If you are invited to a friends home for a meal or if you go out to eat with your family or friends, you should also show respect for those with you. Don’t talk with your mouth full of food. It doesn’t look very nice and spoils everyone’s meal. Take your turn in the conversation if you are involved in it. Keep in mind that adults will often carry on a conversation that is not meant for you to participate in.

There are other things that you can do to show respect but in general if you treat others as you would like to be treated you will do fine. By showing respect to others, especially those that God has given authority over us, we show respect and love for our God.


  1. – Wait your turn.
  2. – Do Not push or shove while in line. 3 – Let the elderly go first, if possible. 4 – Let women go ahead of you.
  3. – Listen to others that are older than you
  4. – Do Not interrupt an ongoing conversation 7 – Do Not talk with your mouth full
  5. – Do Not chew with your mouth open
  6. – Do Not reach for thing on the table, ask for them to be passed 10 – Always use Please and Thank You.
  7. – Treat others like the way you want to be treated
  8. – When walking on a side walk or road the man or boy always walks on the traffic side.


Another time when manners will come into practice is when you answer the telephone or place a phone call to someone else. Because of sin and the problems it causes in our world, we need to be careful when answering the phone. Talk with your parents to see when they want you to answer the phone and when they think it is best if you don’t answer it.

A good way to answer the phone is the following:

“Hello, Smith residence, this is Jim. Can I help you?”

If the phone call is one of your friends calling to talk with you, have a nice talk. Remember to not tie up the phone for too long since others may want to use it. If you are going to have a longer conversation, you may want to ask your friend if you can call him back and then first check with your parents or other family members to see if it is okay for you to talk for a longer time. Then you can call your friend back.

If the person asks to speak with someone else in your home, politely ask who is calling and then go get the person they want to talk with. Don’t hold the phone in your hand and

holler for the other person to pick up the phone. If your phone has a hold button, use that before you go and get the other person.

If the person they want to talk with is not home, take down any message and a phone number your family member can use to call them back. To make sure you have the message and phone number correct, repeat it to the person calling.

If you should be home alone and answer the phone, don’t let the person calling know you are home alone. If they ask to speak to your mother or father and neither one is home, you may want to just say that they can’t come to the phone right now.

When you are calling someone else you should let them know who is calling when they answer. Tell the person answering who you want to talk with. If you know your conversation will take some time, ask if it is a good time to talk or if you should call back later.

Try not to call someone during meal time. When they answer, ask if they are busy or if this is a good time to talk. Also, try not to call after about 9:00 PM. Some people need to go to bed early because they must get up early.

If the person you want to talk with is not home you can leave a message or tell them that you will call back later. If you get a wrong number, apologize for the error and hang up. Check your number before calling again.

If you get an answering machine when you call, you can leave a message asking them to call back or telling them you will call back.

Mobile Phone

If you’re fortunate enough to have your own smart phone, most of the above suggestions should also be used with your smart phone calls.  The major difference is when people/machines call your number they want you, not anyone else.

Also, when your mobile phone rings, it is a good rule of thumb to only answer it if: 1) the call is from a person in your contacts list or it is a number you know.  Otherwise, let the call go to voice mail.  If it is someone you want to talk to you can call them back.

Remember, the telephone is a tool we use to communicate with others. It is not a toy. Summary:

  1. – Ask permission from your parents if you can answer the phone
  2. – Practice how to answer the phone
  3. – Never yell for someone to come to the phone 4 – Never tell a caller you are home alone

5 – Do not call during meal times – Do not call after 9:00 PM

  • – Taking Messages:
    • Write it down
    • Include call back number
    • Include any message
    • Repeat the message and number back to caller so that you know you have it correct.
  • – Apologize if you dial a wrong number
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