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Archive for the ‘civility’ Category

You are so rude!

A young man in a hurry drove around my car on the shoulder of the freeway and cut in front of me. He also gave me a one-finger salute as he did this. I wasn’t surprised–this is not the first time this has happened lately. (And yes, I do drive the speed limit or a bit over, and no, I did not return the gesture.)

This apparent disregard of manners and increasing trend toward vulgarity is just a part of the current course of incivility in our times. People are increasingly dismissive of the rights, let alone the comfort, of others. The “new norm” is said to be bad behavior. It is unusual to attend a movie,concert or lecture where someone’s cell phone conversation isn’t part of the experience.

And it’s not only older people who notice and remark on it. Public Agenda, funded in part by the PEW Foundation, conducted a poll and found that 79 percent of the U.S. population thinks there is a lack of respect in today’s society. We are ruder than we used to be, say percent. And a whopping 84 percent think we are no longer teaching our children manners.

Sara Hacala is a certified etiquette and protocol consultant. She has written a book called Saving Civility: 52 Ways to Tame Rude, Crude and Attitude for a Polite Planet. You can read more about her ideas at http://www.savingcivility.com.

She believes that we must reclaim regard for others and reverse the current trend. She feels that older Americans can benefit themselves and the society as a whole by doing so. Here are five tools from what Hacala calls our civility tool kit:
-Make a habit of practicing kindness, generosity and gratitude. (You’ll live longer, healthier and happier.
-Nurture your social relationships. (Scientists say these relationships generate our greatest happiness.)
-Establish meaningful dialogue with medical providers, asserting your right to respectful and compassionate treatment.
-Seize “teachable moments” with your grandchildren if you love them but not their behavior. (Social skills are a more accurate predictor of future success than test scores)
-Promote decency and decorum among elected officials> Urge civil discourse and bipartisanship to avoid gridlock.

Our future depends upon it.

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