The Fruits of Civility
“The rewards from a civil society are shared and honored by all.”
What can be done to encourage and promote more civility in today’s world? In last week’s article, it was shown how being civil in a debate competition works towards your advantage. The goal now, however, is to make this become the societal norm and reject those whose primary means of dialogue is to belittle and demean anyone with whom they disagree. If this is their only way of knowing how to respond then they honestly do not have the capacity, fortitude, nor quality to be a leader.
Being courteous and gracious not only rewards the individual but also the receivers of this kind act. The other day I had a conversation with my son and without even bringing up this subject, he told me how he had made a conscious effort to be more complimentary and civil to his employees and others in general. In one particular conversation, he went out of his way to tell someone what a great job he was doing and wanted him to know how much his hard work was appreciated. The next day, that gentleman told my son how much what he said had really meant to him.
I was even more proud of my son when he continued with this question. “What is one thing that you can always do that costs nothing and could very well change someone’s day, or for that matter, their life”? After a brief pause, he uttered, “A compliment”.
Being civil and maintaining civility is a choice; quite often a rather difficult one. But like anything else which takes effort, there are great rewards. It builds your own character and also becomes an example for others to follow. Perhaps the biggest side effect of adopting a more considerate form of discourse is that it encourages compassion; evoking a more open-ended outlook and ultimately changing the kind of person you are.
Kindheartedness transforms the individual. It generates empathy for others which in turn, creates an opportunity to be more caring of those around you. Cultivating civility within yourself will ultimately be a beacon to others and invite them to choose it as well.
Today’s society has become infected with harsh, contentious, and divisive rhetoric. All too often, it is given accolades and praise when it should be rebuked and expelled. When that type of behavior is applauded, it only exacerbates and encourages this despicable form of communication. We as a society must make the choice to fervently rebuke this kind of language and not stand for the kind of contention and lack of respect it creates.
Truthfully, civility takes more strength and courage than it does to be argumentative, cruel, and insensitive. It is an arrogant, ignorant, and weak man whose first course of action is to ridicule and denigrate. Mockery is not a sign of intelligence but rather a frustrated, selfish being whose self-importance is only outshone by his true lack of character.
Civility must return and it is the duty for everyone to take part in this effort. We all ought to be courageous and do our best to maintain it while shunning and rejecting those who see no other means of debate.