October 2012 Civility
Oct. 31 ~ A dream: We can speak a world of bridges into existence. Every day. #civility
I have been humbled and excited to make a month’s journey thinking about civility. It’s been a great ride, intellectually and relationally, as we interacted on Twitter, Facebook and here! Thank you! Let’s live the dream! Let’s speak a world of bridges into reality where the spaces between us afford some beautiful views and vistas where only disconnect had been seen before!
Oct. 30 ~ Civility knows when to keep quiet and just let something go. #civility
This is a higher level skill… some people think it’s a cool skill to have snappy comebacks and to be able to return insult for insult, but keeping quiet? That’s one that takes skill and experience.
And this may not even be about an insult, but simply letting something go… when someone makes a mistake or misspeaks… you don’t always have to correct them. They’ll probably realize in a little while they made a mistake. Or maybe it’s someone who feels they need to correct you, even when you know you’re right. Or the blame game? Or “getting the last word in?” Letting these things go without a fight can be tough, and surprisingly rewarding.
It’s most rewarding because it makes room for everyone’s blood pressure to drop and tensions to lessen. It creates a less competitive, hectic space.
Oct. 29 ~ Civility is marked by humility, patience and candor. #civility
Oct. 28 ~ Civility offers the needed apology. #civility
I knew eventually I’d hit a day when it slipped past me to get a saying on civility posted before falling into an exhausted sleep, and that was yesterday! I’m sorry.
That means today is a double day! And civility does offer the needed apology. Incivility doesn’t apologize because the apology is so easily stopped by anger, pride and the desire to be “right” or to be “dominant.”
It’s that base of humility, patience and candor that allows civility to function. On such a solid footing one’s own mistakes are clearly seen, reflected on and owned. Owning mistakes and offering apologies unlocks new vistas of discourse.
Oct. 27 ~ “If speaking is silver then listening is gold.” Turkish Proverb #civility
Been saving this little dandy for that day when nothing comes to me… and that day was today! Woot for cool old sayings attributed to far away places! And it fits the civility discussion so well!
Oct. 26 ~ Civility includes mastery of the basic courtesies: please, thank you, you’re welcome. #civility
Indeed, simple courtesies are the building blocks of civil discourse. These small habits engender a sense of dignity to a conversation and display an intrinsic respect for the other participants.
Want to build personal credibility? Be thankful and gracious when you speak to people. Even in moments of disagreement being courteous allows the discourse solid traction to keep moving forward.
Somewhere along the way someone started acting like “being right” completely overshadowed “acting right” or “speaking right.” The idea caught on, and a win at all costs attitude developed in our manner of discourse and disagreement that leaves no room for courtesies. It looks and acts something like this: “If I am right, then you are wrong, and therefore you are not deserving of my courtesies, and I am not obligated to be courteous, especially if my good manners might steal some of the impact of my superior ideas.” Sound like anyone on the radio you’ve heard recently? I’ve heard that attitude spoken on both sides of the aisle, right and left!
A Presbyterian friend of mine once made a self-deprecating joke about his denomination’s tendency to be slow to adopt changes and fast to assemble committees for long and multiple meetings, he said, “We Presbyterians are the ones who can miss an opportunity to do right because we’re so focussed on doing it right.“ I get what he’s saying, and I can chuckle with him at the joke, but I also have to give some grudging respect to the attitude of doing things well.
Oct. 25 ~ Civility is your body language as well as your words. #civility
Shaken fists, scowling, narrowed eyes, pointing fingers… all these work to lower the civility of our discourse. We can often be forgiven the more subtle things like folded arms and blank stares, but the very aggressive stuff needs to be curbed if we want to raise the level of our civility.
Some people think civility is the same as “tact,” or worse, it’s “not saying” what needs to be said. Civility is not only saying what needs to be said and as it needs to be said, but also includes the total package of our presentation. Uncivil body language can end our discourse as fast as name calling or shrill yelling.
Oct. 24 ~ Civility builds a person’s integrity one word at a time. #civility
There are no shortcuts. There are no substitutes. We can choose to be a person known for our anger, our insults, our number of wins, our caustic attitude, or our superiority… but none of that replaces integrity.
Integrity is that essence of personhood that brings people to you when they have questions. It brings people to you when they need to say something. It brings people to you when they need to be heard.
Integrity is that honesty that enables people to listen to you with openness, and the fairness that allows you to hear dissenting positions. Civility creates integrity. Integrity creates trust. Trust creates friendships. Friendships create the most wholesome and transforming dialogue. Bank on it!
Oct. 23 ~ Civility allows for change to happen. #civility
What do I mean? Am I saying that no one should be challenged for ever-shifting stances on issues? Am I saying that inconsistency is a virtue? No, I’m not trying to say either of those things.
We’ve all seen a candidate in a debate, or a in political advertisement, painted a certain way or pigeonholed for comments or stances taken years before which may have changed in the course of a decade or more years of experience We’ve all heard the accusations of hypocrisy the moment someone changes their mind. Civility will ask us to rethink our knee-jerk reactions to those shifts in people’s thoughts and conclusions.
I mean really, have none of us moved from more conservative to liberal or more liberal to conservative views in our religious beliefs or political ideas? Have we not experienced our own selves adapt, change and subtly shift through the years in various ways? Have any of us learned or experienced something that changed our way of thinking? It’s uncivil to brand that in another person as inherently hypocritical or inauthentic.
Civility allows for change. Civility is not a closed, predetermined response to someone, but it allows for some growth, some adaptation and the cumulative effect of years of discourse and experience.
Oct. 22 ~ Civility is humility on parade! #civility
Because humility, like civility, is one of those strengths that never gets old, never fails you, never goes wrong! When we showcase civility we are letting humility put on it’s “Sunday best” and strut down the street with a marching band!
Oct. 21 ~ Civility, like any good habit or reflex, requires practice. Start small, work your way up. Don’t give up. #civility
Civility is not just for disagreements, but it can shape all our discourse, from simple thank you‘s to a courteous please. Civility can be cultivated and grown, nursed and shaped into reflex and habit. It’s a daily commitment with long-term dividends.