10 weeks already!!! Argggg….I don’t feel any different yet! Well, maybe…but not 10 weeks worth!!! I did notice that last Friday, I was slowing down in my car. I mean, like under the speed limit, not that I was going over the speed limit before, well, maybe like 3-4 mph over, but as of last Friday I began to feel a little more relaxed behind the wheel and actually driving 5 miles UNDER the speed limit. Could it be? Could civility finally be taking a hold, like one of those tiny trees in the cracks of a sheer cliff along the interstate? Hmmmm…..
Cardinal Timothy Dolan has asked all of us to use civility when debating the Health Mandate and the flap that arose when a talk show host called a young woman a name. “Whatever we do and however strongly we feel, we do it charitably, we do it civilly; we don’t judge the motives of other people. We just try – in a confident, peaceful inviting way to make our position felt and to invite other people to respect it.”
Vowing to continue the fight to keep government out of the church, Dolan said, “We bishops are pretty firm in our engagement with the government and the invitation for them to restore religious freedom and to back off from this unwarranted, unprecedented intrusion into the life of the Church.”
We too have to remain firm in our convictions but getting into a shouting match and calling names doesn’t help our cause. We can stand up for our rights and convictions, but killing someone whether physically or defaming them doesn’t help us. We wallow right down there in the same mud they are in.
And truly, was that how Jesus gave us the example? Nailed to the cross, was he spitting venomous words and hatred? Nope, he was forgiving and he died that way. Can’t we too die a little to ourselves by using self control of our words and actions while still fighting the good fight?
"Civility is not something that automatically happens. Civil societies come about because people want them to." - Jimmy Bise Jr, Us and Them: A Blog conversation Survival Guide, SXSW 2006
I found this really interesting piece on the web. It’s from George Washington and believe it or not, even with all the slightly odd English in it, a lot of what he says applies to today. (although I hope we don’t have to worry about pulling bugs or lice off ourselves in public. Ugg) He wrote 110 Behaviors, he was only 16 at the time.
Here are some of the things he wrote:
Every action done in company should be done with respect to those present.
Show nothing to a friend that might frighten him.
In the presence of others sing not to yourself, nor hum or drum with your fingers or feet (Drats, I hum in the grocery store line! Another thing to work on!)
Put not off your clothes in the presence of others, nor go out of your chamber half dressed. (hmm… the awards shows and Super Bowl half time entertainers should read this one!)
My favorite one was #19: Let your Countenance be pleasant but in Serious Matters somewhat grave. I am working on having a poker face, but my family, friends and in fact almost everyone who knows me, knows I don’t have a poker face! While that is not always a problem, I smile easily too, I also frown, look puzzled and confused and it all shows on my face. So being civil means working on that poker face more!
Check out the link to his more of his words of civil wisdom: http://www.history.org/almanack/life/manners/rules2.cfm
Seriously, we’ll never win people over to our way of thinking by shouting and degrading them. So this quote from my mom is something to remember when trying to win over people to your way of thinking whether it's religion, politics or what color to paint the living room! Thanks Mom!
It’s the truth!