As a young teenage schoolboy, George Washington copied out 110 “Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior.” Many of these had to do with simple manners. “Cleanse not your teeth with the tablecloth, napkin, fork or knife,” reads Rule 100. Good advice at any time.

But the first rule the future president wrote down and followed for the rest of his life was especially notable: “Every action done in company, ought to be with some sign of respect to those that are present.” There are times when I find myself wishing that all of us would adopt the civil behavior of that particular teenager.