Sunday, March 28, 2010

Civility...where fore art thou?


Pronunciation: \sə-ˈvi-lə-tē\

Function: noun

1 a : civilized conduct; especially : courtesy, politeness

b : a polite act or expression



It's perhaps a naive wish, but I can only hope that some degree of civility and rational thought can return to the national political front.  The vulgar insults, the threatening phone calls and the vandalism over displeasure in the health care reform are cowardly, disturbing and sometimes dangerous.  We have a legal process to deal with government policies that we disagree with, and violence has no part in that process.


George Washington wrote down 110 Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior when he was about 16 years old.  He copied them from a set of rules composed by French Jesuits in 1595.  Granted, he probably wrote them as a school assignment, but the sentiment of our nation's father being associated with these rules is significant.  Today the wording of those orignial rules sounds fussy or even silly, but the many of the ideas are valid and worth reviewing.  Here is a modernized list of some of those rules:


-Treat everyone with respect.

-Be considerate of others. Do not embarrass them.

-When you speak, be concise.

-Do not argue, instead share your ideas with humility.

-When a person does their best and fails, do not criticize him.

-When you must give advice or criticism, consider the timing, whether it should be given in public or private, how it should be delivered and above all else bekind.

-If you are corrected, take it without argument. Consider the message, and then if you were wrongly judged, correct it later.

-Do not make fun of anything important to others.

-If you criticize someone else of something, make sure you are not guilty of it yourself.

-Actions speak louder than words.

-Do not be quick to believe bad reports about others.

-Associate with good people. It is better to be alone than in bad company.

-Always allow reason to influence your actions.

-Some things are better kept secret.

-A person should not overly value their own accomplishments.

-Do not go where you are not wanted.

-Do not give unasked-for advice.

-If two people disagree, do not take one side or the other without examining the issue. Be flexible in your own opinion..

-Do not correct others when it is not your place to do so.

-Do not be quick to talk about something when you don't have all the facts.

-Do not be curious about the affairs of others.

-Do not start what you cannot finish. Keep your promises.

-Do not speak badly of those who are not present.

-Show interest in others conversation.

-Don't allow yourself to become jaded, cynical or calloused.


May our politicians, and news people take note as their influence is enormous. These rules seem like small sacrifices that we should all be willing to make in order to live together in a peaceful, yet productive world

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Thoughts on Vacation

Today is the last day of my vacation.  I took a week at a timeshare that is about 30 miles from my home.  Some people thought that was a crazy idea, but it turned out great.  My family, including both daughters and their families, came and went at various times during the week.  I was the only one who actually had the week off work.  Everyone was able to take advantage of the indoor swimming pool, the trail in the woods, eating out, and shopping one day or another.  We even had one day when all eleven of us were there!

Besides feeling rested and happy, I have come away with a couple of realizations.

1. I don't ever actually relax and "do nothing" at home.  I can curl up with a book and a glass of wine at the resort and completely lose myself in the wonder of the story, 100% relaxed.  I can curl up with a book and a glass of wine at home, and it's nice, but everywhere around me there is something that seems to demand my attention:  a dog wants in or out, I realize I have clothes or dishes that need to be washed, I look up and see dust on the floor that needs to be cleaned, etc.

2. It's great to have a job that you love, but it is even better to have a job that you can leave at work.  I admit, I did go visit work one time during my vacation.   I work with a lot of wonderful people who give me positive feedback.  They seemed glad to see me (it's nice to be missed) but absolutely nothing came up in our conversations that would make me feel guilty about not being there, and there was no indication that a huge pile of work would be waiting for me when I got back because no one else would do it.  That's not the way it has been in jobs past.  I remember vacations where I worried about what was not getting done, or stressed about how I would manage to "catch up" on all my work when I got back, or the worst was when we would get phone calls from work with questions or concerns.

3. Little kids help you to see the "fun" in everything.  We didn't take a bunch of toys to the resort and I was wondering how I was going to keep them entertained.  I needn't have worried.  They found joy in just running around someplace different.  I had never known that opening and closing all the drawers in a place could be so exciting.  The girls did find a Bible in one of the drawers.  And I still don't know how Morgan managed to set the alarm on the stereo system to come blasting on at about 5am every morning, but at least it was good rock and roll music.  

4. There is never enough time (or money) to do everything, but that's okay.  Vacations can be exhausting as well as relaxing.  What a paradox!

 I had a great time.