Standards

I thought about the word ‘standards’ the other day, and I liked it.

It brought to mind a level or a benchmark below which a certain thing did not go. There are ‘standards’ for acceptable behavior and professional performance.

Excellence, innovation, and creativity know no bounds, of course. But standards hold fast, day after comforting day.

So we keep them up. We hold to them. We may raise them, but we must always maintain them.

I’d love to hear the personal standards that you hold dear. To what aspect of your life do you most consistently and most strongly apply ‘standards’?

Feel free to share.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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19 thoughts on “Standards

  1. What an excellent question! Always make your bed, always be kind, always say “thank you” always pay your bills, always give back, you get it done no matter what; and finally, your word is your bond! These are the rules I live by, my “standards” if you will. It’s the way I was raised and it’s the way we raised our son.

  2. These were the four big standards we were raised with and I continue to pass down to my children. Firstly, kindness is the essence of good manners. Without it the rest doesn’t matter. Secondly, school is the job of childhood and requires hard work and discipline. Thirdly, politics, sex, money, and religion are topics of conversation for immediate family only. Fourthly, dinner is eaten together daily as a family. While never explicitly stated as a standard of behavior, it was just assumed that being well read and well informed was required of every member of the family.

  3. Good morning Byron,

    It has been a while since I heard anyone referring to ‘standards’. Sadly. The upholding of standards requires discipline. ‘Enforced‘ discipline, which is designed to give way to self-discipline, wherein after the world might find one a better person. It all starts with parents, and a proper school.There are no shortcuts.

    Regards,
    David.

  4. Hello, I was thinking of something along these lines in terms of parenting, as I am watching the resulting behavior of some young people I know and the contrast between families. What standards are necessary in parenting? Of course no parents get it all right all of the time, but I was having a conversation and what we came up with is that teaching and modeling respect for others is one of the most important standards. That baseline determines a lot of other behaviors and attitudes, and underlines WHY other standards exist.

  5. That’s such a great question – we have business standards – for example our business web site must respond within half a second, bills must be paid. etc. But in my personal life it seems like everything is shades of gray and when pressed many lines are bendable depending on the circumstance.

  6. Some Standards:
    Deportment -treat everyone we encounter with kindness and decency. Control our emotions. I was shocked in terms of the state of male masculinity when I see male newscasters on one of those 24 hour news channels cry like a child.There is a youtube video from CBS that has Walter Cronkite announce the passing President Kennedy with dignity and respect. Cut the cable cord. Carry a pocket book or kindle when out in public and detach when you are in a queue type situation.

    Frugality – old is better. My wife noted to me that not one piece of clothing I had on was less than 10 years old.
    Nice and soft. Also cook from scratch. This sounds cliche, but our day starts out with fresh squeezed orange juice and fresh ground coffee. Yep, takes about 5 minutes to juice some oranges and grind some beans, without buying out., Put on a sweater in the Winter

    Keep Busy – Bored, really! Read a book, learn something new. My wife, a career person turned a family room in our basement into a sewing room; her Christmas gifts are in demand. Patchwork quilts, pajamas ……etc. Curate some quality streaming services. I recommend: The Criterion Network, MHZChoice and if your town library has Canopy just get that, since you can get good movies for free.

  7. Hi Byron:

    Manners comes to mind as I think of the current holiday…especially simple table manners. Civility in one’s conversations…especially when being challenged. Cleanliness…in one’s grooming and in a home.

    And I agree with all the others already posted. I am anxious to read what others have to say on this subject.

  8. Hello Byron,

    I was raised to treat everyone with the same respect and good manners. No matter if they were a retail person, a neighbor doctor or a porter; every person deserves to be addressed with kindness, respect and a smile.

    The other standard I keep myself to is to dress in an elegant and sophisticated way. Here in America (and sadly among my own social circle), casual style is ubiquitous. My friends are always telling me I look so well-dressed and I consider it a compliment. Well-made, quality clothes/accessories stand the test of time. My friends are constantly shopping and buying fast fashion while I’m still wearing outfits I’ve had for years, and yet they consider me the best dressed

    I appreciate your reminder that standards are a cornerstone of civilization and when we as a society lower them, we lower ourselves.

    Kimberly

  9. Politeness first. Love of self and others as demonstrated by how you live. Groomed and refined is a must. If you can’t bother to be well presented (and be on time) then you’ve made a loud statement. Never, ever lie and don’t swear (often).

  10. Remember the forgotten. Invite an extra person to holiday dinner (well, maybe next year anyway).

    Treat the young with respect. They can sense your attitude a mile away, and even “teenagers today” will usually
    respond favorably to being treated with dignity.

  11. I find the state in which many are perfectly happy to leave their home in to be a major sign of lower standards. Even in pandemic times, it really takes no more effort to put on a decent pair of pants and a nice shirt or sweater than it does some of the truly dreadful and sloppy ensembles I have seen as of late. When we were able to travel and dine out, it was really shocking to see people in airports and restaurants basically in pajamas. Gym clothes as daily wear also comes to mind. Though where I live, this has become a weird status symbol for some women (Who want to show off that they need not work so can wear their yoga, Pilates or spinning gear all day, every day). I call it lower standards.

    1. I agree, it’s sad the way standards have come down. I work in a bookstore. Seeing the state of some of our customers is truly sad. I just do not understand coming out of their houses looking the way they do.

    2. Long before the pandemic my wife and I noted this. There we were a hardworking family dressed nice seated next to people basically wearing Pajamas. What we did is started home cooking in earnest, but also found a “Mom and Pop” take out Pizza and Chinese restaurants that were much better than any “sit down” places.

  12. Here’s an exercise for you:

    You’ve noticed the way people are ‘dressing’, if that’s the word. Now, discreetly observe the manner in which those same people might address a shop assistant, speak to one another at an adjoining table, conduct themselves in an airline boarding queue, observe the insides of their cars as they get in or out etc etc. The list is endless.

    Then write back and tell me if what you observed in the first instance, namely the attire, was in isolation.

    Very little, if anything, happens in isolation.

    1. I’ve noticed rudeness, demands, raised voices. Just yesterday, in my bookstore we had a family in sweats, pajama bottoms, one had on slippers; torn shirts. Their children took the place apart, tore open packages, and scattered food all over the place. One ripped a book apart. The parents ignored them, focused on their phones. When asked to to please control their children, we were told to “f***k off”, screamed at and threatened. Do I think all who dress poorly act like this? No I don’t, but it seems a fair amount do. None of this was in isolation.

  13. One of the standards for myself during this long quarantine period, and Byron’s first “Old Money Principle” is physical and mental health (the latter being even more important while trying to process current events). Daily walks, as much sunshine as your geography allows, exercise routines at home, lots of water and vegetables. I have also started trying to meditate and pray daily, and even my wife has noticed I’m much more calm as we both work from home everyday for the foreseeable future. As someone mentioned above, this requires discipline but it really pays dividends in unexpected parts of life. I’m less likely to feel overwhelmed by work and stress and it allows me to be present with my family and be more productive around the home. I hope everyone is taking care of themselves as well – our standards will get us through these mad times!

  14. Standards? On decline, Byron. Like civilization. People not noticing this slooooooow collapse believe in better times in the future. Millions of mericans pumping dollars into questionable scheme. Read tons of books and have never noticed neither ancient nor medieval families running pension plans.

    In October 1985 Otto von Habsburg wrote foreword to Felix Somary’s memoirs The raven of Zurich and I absolutely agree with Kaiser Habsburg and Somary as well.

    Standards are on decline, Byron, and people are not noticing. Romans were not noticing when they and their standards were collapsing for well over two-hundred years.

    Just look into your pocket and ask yourself what was in Franklin’s, Astor’s, Venetian or Florentine merchant’s or merchant in ancient Baghdad.

    However, one does not have to go so far to history, just look at the “standard” of the paper the first edition of The Old Money Book was printed on and compare it with paper quality – standard, of any book printed in the 50s’.

    Look at Roudnitska’s standard (20 perfumes per life) and compare it with Morillas’s standard (500 so far and hi is style pumping like crazy)

    Standards on decline.

    But as Pan Danziger wrote it her book: Let them eat (their?) cake.

  15. Interesting post and some thoughtful comments – as usual.

    Never wear black shoes or belt. Always have at least one blue blazer.
    Old is better.
    Examine yourself, but too much.
    Read books.
    Play an instrument.
    Have at least one sport and activity that requires attention and competition, even into adulthood. Be a gracious loser. Play by the rules. Don’t cheat.
    Live below your means.
    Provide your children with the best education possible.
    Do not brag.
    Do not flaunt.
    Be kind.
    Do not waste time with banal people.
    Old friends are kept close.
    Avoid the ephemeral.
    Give money to causes and people who deserve it.

    Get on with it!

  16. It dawns on me when reading the above comments that I frequently fail to meet even my own standards much less those upheld by others. I suppose when it really comes to it, though, I endeavor to greet each new day trying to improve upon the last, which includes extending kindness and grace and looking the other way when necessary. As I’ve grown older, I find myself no longer wishing to be arbiter of all that is acceptable in the world, an exhausting and undignified pastime, but I do wish to set a better example today than the one I set yesterday.

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