Friday, March 2, 2007

Americans for More Civility began as a modest grassroots movement in 1998 with the noble purpose of trying to promote more civility in American life. The movement was founded by two writers, Alan Gibson of Jasper, Georgia, and Glenn Dromgoole of Abilene, Texas. We welcome others to the cause who share a common interest in encouraging Americans to practice more civility, more grace, more kindness, more generosity, more reason in all that we do. There is no membership, no dues. For those who have asked how they can help, here are a few suggestions:

1. Write a supportive note to someone at least once a week.
2. Start a discussion group about the general topic of civility.
3. Send a letter to the editor encouraging more civility and kindness in public life or praising an act thereof.
4. Increase your level of giving to your local United Way or other community charity.
5. Read an inspirational book and pass it along to someone else.
6. Apply the Golden Rule, and teach children to do so.
7. Be more tolerant of others at work, at home, in traffic, in politics.
8. Volunteer at least an hour a week to help someone else.
9. Smile more and complain less.
10. Think about whether your community, your home, workplace or school would be better or worse if everyone behaved as you do.
11. Accord leaders at all levels, whether at work, church or in politics, the courtesy you would want if you were in their shoes.
12. Every day look for an opportunity to make a small difference for good.
13. Make peace with someone you have had a disagreement with.
14. Tune out TV or radio shows when people start interrupting each other.
15. Don't be too hard on yourself when you suffer lapses in civility, as we all do.

I'm famous for writing down a ton of links from books that I'm reading and then not following up with them for several months. That is the case with the above. I have no idea where I got the initial reference to this site, but I'm glad I went in and looked at it. I especially like number ten. My son had a very difficult time at school yesterday with his best friend over a very silly issue. She said something was one way and he insisted that it was another, and simply wouldn't let go. Long story short, we were talking about what happened at dinner last night, and my husband made the comment that I do the same thing (argue profusely.) My immediate reaction was to deny. Then I got to thinking about it and realized that he is right. I do have a hard time letting go if I think that I'm right. Now, what does all this have to do with #10 you ask?? Well, I damage my relationships every time I decide to argue over something that is usually quite silly. So...if I would learn to let go my home might be a more pleasant place. There is some good advice in thinking about how we act, and what affect it has on others.

On a side note I think it is interesting that one of the founders is from the town I was born and raised in. I will also say that the people of West Texas have to be some of the friendliest in the world!

Tomorrow is the Carnival at ODC's school. I'm looking ahead with both dread and anticipation. I know there will be tons of people there (most of them under 48" tall and loud!) This environment is always a little stressful for me. The noise, keeping up with my kiddos, the inevitable rude behavior (maybe I should take some copies of the above to pass out. Hmmm...) etc. On the other hand, the kids really enjoy it. They have been asking since October when it was, and this is only our second year at this school. I suppose it's only about 3 hours out of my life so I'll go with an open spirit and just enjoy them enjoying themselves.

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