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That’s why we asked our readers to tell us about theirs. We received over 3,000 responses after asking “What is the rule your parents taught you that you will never break?” on the It’s a Southern Thing Facebook page.

That’s a lot of rules, y’all, and they were all worth following. To see some of our favorites, you can read below. To see all comments, click here.

No white shoes after Labor Day

“No white shoes after Labor Day or before Easter. I actually tried to break this one but I’m afraid my mom and grandma will come back and slap me next week. It makes me uncomfortable.” — Diane Martin

Pay attention to your manners

“I was always taught to respect my elders, and even though I’m older, I still respect my elders to this day, and even the younger generation, in hopes that they will learn respect too. It all starts by: yes ma’ I am, no sir, please, thank you, then go to, if you borrow something, take it back clean and still working; if it’s broken, fix it or give them the money to replace it.” – Christiana Diehl

“Guest favors” are essential

“Always have some guest gifts wrapped under the tree in case someone brings an extra friend on Christmas Day.” –Nicole Weis

“The family is holding back!”

“When the guests were at the table, ‘the family holds back!’ This meant taking the less desirable/smaller quantities for our guests to enjoy, in fact I thought my grandma preferred the fried chicken wing or back. –Jennifer Black

Give a good handshake


“My dad taught me to always give a good, firm handshake and look people in the eye. As cliché as that sounds, it shows the other person that you appreciate meeting them and that you appreciate their time.” -Kayla Cox

Always respect your elders

“Never, ever, no matter how adult you think you are (or even if you are technically adult), refer to ANY adult relative by their first name alone, you better always include aunt or uncle. Still got scars (psychic and emotional) for thinking I could just ask “Gladis” if she wanted ice cream with the birthday cake My family isn’t that big, but I swear 100 people got me slapped reminding me it was AUNT Gladis!!” –Ruthie Johnson

Keep a pair of “good” pajamas

“Keep a pair of ‘good’ pajamas in case you have to go to the hospital. I can’t even tell you how many new pajamas my mom had when we cleaned her room. God rest her sweet soul.” — Brenda Green Witte

Always wear clean underwear.

“The only rule that doesn’t matter, although we have followed the rule, is to wear clean underwear in case you have an accident. The truth is…they cut all your clothes in case of an emergency. Yeah…had my favorite bra that day.” –Kay Reynolds

Don’t toot at the table

“I learned never to whistle at the table. My brother did it once. My mom got up, reached over the table and slapped him from his chair! I also learned that you don’t laugh when your brother is slapped from his chair!” –Debra Heffner

Do not call after 9 p.m.


“If you call after 9 p.m., you better be in the hospital or the house is on fire.” -Cynthia Clark

Turn off the lights when you leave the room!

“Turn off the lights when you leave the room!” » –Josh Hamilton

Don’t miss the pot.

“Never pass up a potty opportunity when traveling!! Becomes more useful as I get older.” –Caroline Dominick Turner

Keep your promises.

“Keep your promises. Your word is everything.” — April Previte Turner

Make sure your friends get home safe and sound.

“Another good idea from my dad was when you take a girl, make sure she gets home safely. I may be married now, but if I ever drop someone off, I make sure May he get home safely.” -Zac Gentry

Eat what is offered.


“Eat what is offered or be hungry until the next meal. I don’t understand parents who offer their children a separate meal.” –June Iljana

Know gun safety.

“Treat every firearm as if it were loaded and don’t point it at anything you don’t wish to destroy.” –Jacob Lichty

Take care of what doesn’t belong to you.

“If you borrow something, take care of it and return it in better condition than you got it.” — Debbie White

Do not turn on the lights inside the car.

“Don’t turn on the lights inside the car. It’s illegal. As an adult, I learned that’s not the case.????” –Elizabeth J. Horne

Pay your respects for a funeral procession.

“Always ALWAYS pull over on the side of the road to pay your respects to a passing funeral procession. People certainly don’t always seem to understand that these days.” – Chrissa Shanks-Williams

Know when to compress it.


“If you can’t say something good, don’t say anything.” –Art Cate

Don’t put your feet on the furniture.

“Never put your feet on furniture in someone else’s house. It makes you feel like you don’t respect them.” -Colleen Havel

Do it well.

“Don’t do things halfway. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.” – Mandy Chuntz

Seriously, do what’s right.

“Evil does not become right because it is accepted by the majority.” -Audra Henderson Gaines

Be an eagle, all of you.

“If you can boo with the owls on Saturday night, you can soar with the eagles on Sunday morning.” –Kelly West Smith

Tip well.

“My father taught me to always tip and tip well and my grandmother taught me never to go to someone’s house empty-handed.” — Margy Walker

No tomatoes in okra.

“No jeans or shorts in church. No tomatoes in okra. Always treat a janitor or CEO with the same respect. Always be nice.” –Kira Fontenot

Push your chair.

“Pushing on my chair when I get up from the table. It drives me crazy when people don’t do that in public!” -Stacy Carroll

Write thank you cards.

“Always write a thank you note for a gift. And don’t serve crackers or broken cookies to guests.” –Barbara Wolff Cavalluzzi

Prepare the sweet tea.

“My grandmother always said to have a pitcher of sweet tea made. You never know who to come to visit in case the Lord comes to supper.” – Melinda Mo Turner

Don’t throw away the toilet paper.


“My grandparents taught me never to flush the toilet paper! They had a septic tank so it would always clog up. Although now I know I can if I want to, I don’t. Just a habit, I guess. 😊” -Cheyenne Barnett

Don’t throw away.

“My dad was adamant about not littering, not throwing anything out of a car window… to this day, I wouldn’t dare!” –Sherry Brown

Be kind.

“Be kind and act like you are a gift given to you whether you do it or not. I taught my children and grandchildren the same rule.” — Libba Elisabeth

Do not wash dishes during a thunderstorm.

“Don’t wash the dishes when there’s lightning or you’ll get hit 😂 I still won’t to this day!!!” — Frame Amanda Cowart

Show those you love how much you love them.


“My mom said to me, ‘I may not like what you’re doing, but I’ll always love you.’ I said the same to my kids.” –Susan Adams Forbes