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

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