Without a doubt, America has a civility problem. Each wave of reality shows proves the unfortunate fact that incivility is ubiquitous; no area of American society is untouched. Eroding civility is harmful to our country’s future and takes a toll on how we interact with the people and institutions around us.
We have had an entire political cycle of vitriolic,inane commentary from a man running for office.
“From the start, uncivil discourse has been an element of web-based culture and online discussions. As social media becomes more mainstream, it’s not surprising to see the numbers on the rise.”
Our digital platforms teem with trolls and expressions of disrespect. Reflecting these conditions, surveys show that a significant majority of Americans believe we are living in an age of unusual anger and discord. Everywhere we look, there seems to be conflict and hostility, with shared respect and consideration nowhere to be found.
People need to understand civility. For most of us we need to model tolerance and acceptance.Try to set a positive example in all that you say and do. No one’s a saint, and no one is perfect, but making the effort shows that you believe it’s important and worthwhile.
Civility is the behavior that recognizes the humanity of others – a key element of sociability. It is what allows us to live peacefully together in families, neighborhoods, schools, and communities. Civility demands restraint and an ability to put the interests of the common good above self-interests. It requires us to treat others with decency, regardless of our differences. The psychological elements of civility include self-awareness, self-control, empathy, and respect.
Reality series such as ‘Love & Hip Hop’ is a teaching model for how not to behave.
Children model adult behavior on television and in real life. And they replicate language they learn online. It is not uncommon to hear “F*** you” spoken by children just learning to talk. That’s because children are systemically connected to everything around them. The world is their learning environment. We are their teachers. And as parents, teachers, coaches, politicians, television producers, and others who impact children’s lives, we have a responsibility to foster civility in children so they grow up with less, not more violence and ridicule.
Start by doing the below:
- Think about the impact of words and actions on others before you use them.
- Apologize when you are wrong.
- Set ground rules for civil behavior at home and in classrooms.
- Teach kids how to become engaged citizens.
- Treat children and adults with the respect that you expect from them.
- Demand civility of politicians and public servants.
- Use respectful language when you disagree with someone.
- Don’t let anger and emotion get in the way of listening to others.
- Be tolerant of people who are different from you.
- Teach character strengths, like respect and empathy, at home and in classrooms.
- Challenge people’s views, but don’t attack the person.
- Acknowledge others for their civility and respectful behavior, regardless of their viewpoints.
- Remind kids often why they – and you – should be civil.
- Empower children to take a stand against bullying.
- Lead by example.