October 9, 2018
Civility is not a sign of weakness.
John F. Kennedy
I am worried that too many of us have lost our ability to look at today’s issues with an open mind. Modern media makes it too easy to see only what we want to see and hear only what we want to hear. For example the current political ads are more negative than ever, many loded with innuendo and falsehoods.
The consensus building that has been the foundation of our democracy has been stifled by polarization, animosity and tribalism. Our leaders seem to have little time for constructive dialogue spending more of their time raising funds to increase their power than solving problems.
In some settings it has gotten so bad that neighbors are reluctant to discuss current events for fear of triggering an angry response, even from their friends. What must our children think? Our tradition of civil discourse has been diluted by the angry rhetoric of today. Too many of us seem to believe we already know all the answers and have no need to listen to others. The right and left use to meet in the civil middle as we built our nation, I miss those days. I yearn for a return to civility.
The 25 rules of considerate conduct
Think the best
Don’t speak ill
Accept and give praise
Respect even a subtle “no”
Respect others’ opinions
Mind your body
Keep it down (and rediscover silence)
Respect other people’s time
Respect other people’s space
Avoid personal questions
Care for your guests
Be a considerate guest
Think twice before asking for favors
Refrain from idle complaints
Accept and give constructive criticism
Respect the environment and be gentle
Don’t shift responsibility and blame
We are losing sight of civility in government and politics. Debate and dialogue is taking a back seat to the politics of destruction and anger and control. Dogma has replaced thoughtful discussion between people of differing views.
Radar: “Flight 1234, for noise abatement turn right 45 degrees.”
Pilot: “Roger, but we are at 35,000 feet, how much noise can we make up here?”
Radar: “Sir, have you ever heard the noise a 727 makes when it hits a 747?”
My wife tends to leave well enough alone. Unfortunately, things are rarely well enough.
The wise old Mother Superior was dying. The nuns gathered around her bed trying to make her comfortable. They gave her some warm milk to drink, but she refused it.
Then one nun took the glass back to the kitchen. Remembering a bottle of Irish whiskey received as a gift the previous Christmas, she opened and poured a generous amount into the warm milk. Back at Mother Superior’s bed, she held the glass to her lips. Mother drank a little, then a little more. Before they knew it, she had drunk the whole glass down to the last drop.
“Mother,” the nuns asked with earnest, “Please give us some wisdom before you die.”
She raised herself up in bed with a pious look on her face and said, “Don’t sell that cow.”
It’s frustrating when you know all the answers, but nobody bothers to ask you the questions.
A young preacher was contacted by the local funeral director to hold a grave-side committal service at a small local cemetery for someone with no family or friends. The preacher started early but quickly got himself lost, making several wrong turns.
He arrived a half-hour late, the hearse was nowhere in sight, and the workmen were eating lunch.
The pastor went to the open grave and found the vault lid already in place. Taking out his book, he read the service.
As he was returning to his car, he overheard one of the workmen say: “Think we should tell him it’s a septic tank?”
On a trip to the zoo, I made a casual stroll by the cage of a laughing hyena. A young man was leaning over the bar at the edge of the cage, whispering something in the animal’s direction. As I stepped closer, I heard him say, “Did you hear the one about…”
Civility means a great deal more than just being nice to one another. It is complex and encompasses learning how to connect successfully and live well with others, developing thoughtfulness, and fostering effective self-expression and communication. Civility includes courtesy, politeness, mutual respect, fairness, good manners, as well as a matter of good health. Taking an active interest in the well-being of our community and concern for the health of our society is also involved in civility.
- M. Forni
Management is not responsible for duplicates from previous dailies. The editor is somewhat senile.
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