In chapter 14, Aunt Alexandra requests that Atticus educate his children about their family history and encourage them to act like polite at all times. According to Scout, Aunt Alexandra is obsessed with heredity and believes that the longer a family stays on a specific plot of land, the more prestigious that family is.
Alexandra proceeds to criticize her brother for his comments regarding Cousin Joshua and persuades him to teach his children about their honorable family history. Before bedtime, Atticus attempts to speak to his children about their heritage by telling Jem and Scout that they are not run-of-the-mill people and are instead a product of several generations of "gentle breeding." Atticus goes on to say that Alexandra wanted him to encourage Jem and Scout to behave like a gentleman and little lady. Atticus also mentions that he wants to talk to them about what their family means to Maycomb County.
Despite trying to talk to his children about their heritage and manners, Atticus cannot pretend to care about his family's history or subscribe to his sister's beliefs. He eventually tells the children to not worry about anything and to forget what he said.