Monday, March 19, 2012

Civility Week 12: March 19, 2012

It’s a long road we’ll travel, you and I, lots of drivers, trucks and turns.  We had better remember to pack our civility.”  Mom to Daughter #2

   It’s true. When my youngest child and I are in the car together, it’s something of a circus. At least that’s what my husband says.  This weekend he sat in backseat so my daughter could drive and I could co-pilot.  I am told, mostly by my husband, that daughter #2, who is the youngest child in the family, and I are very much alike, our temperament, our attitudes and outlooks on life. We think much the same way, we see things much the same way…and our mouths also work the same way, especially in the car.

   Yikes, what have I done? I didn’t mean to create a mini me who has the same trouble with keeping her mouth shut as I do when someone rudely pulls out in front of our car, cuts us off, or slams on their brakes in front of us. 

   I guess it would make sense, that as the youngest, she probably has the most experience sitting in the car with me, driving the other two kids to school, to field trips. She was born when my oldest began kindergarten so it was go, go, go from the first few days after her birth, riding in her car seat being entertained by my babbling at her from the front seat to keep her entertained.  She has grown up in the car with me, not always being so good at restraining my outbursts at other dumb drivers who could possibly be endangering my child in my car by their poor driving skills. I call it the Mama Bear instinct. The Mama Bear in the car instinct is the reaction I have when someone pulls out in front of me, cuts me off or otherwise causes me to take drastic action to ensure we won’t have an accident because of their stupidity!  I mean, my child is in this car! What are they thinking!!!

   Remember those little yellow signs that says “child on board”, sometimes I thought some drivers thought that was a dare to see if they could scare the  mom in the front seat to yelling something their children should not hear.

   Anyway, it’s Daughter #2 that has been trying to help me with my civility resolution for this year. In other words when we ride in the car together, if something slips out of my mouth, she reminds me.

Well, this weekend the tables were turned when it was her turn to drive Her father, meanwhile, tried to lean back in the backseat and sleep. But we could see the glimmer of a smile pulling at the edges of his mouth. Hmmm….we had to prove him wrong.  

   Two semi trucks were in front of us, each blocking a lane. Daughter #2 began, “I hate when they do that…”
“Um hmmm…” I said, crocheting away on a pot holder.
Silence… “Can you turn on the radio?”
“Sure,” I replied, the radio is always a good alternative to griping at the drivers on the road, when you are singing it’s a lot harder to yell, “You moron!” at someone cutting you off.

   I’ve been reading several books (Happy Catholic,  Style, Sex & Substance)  lately written by Catholic blogging women who share lots of wonderful ways to increase your faith, some with humor, most with really good ideas about what it is like to be a faith filled Catholic woman in this age.  Despite the fact that pretty much all of these women are much younger than I am, I have been learning a lot of things I have forgotten over the years, like how to not take myself so seriously, how to forgive my own faults, and to get rid of that whole Catholic mom guilt thing. I am so glad to find I’m not the only one who has that!

   Becoming more civil sometimes means you have to release your own guilt about how you parent, how you mess up in life, forget your mouth or whatever gives you trouble and keep bringing yourself back to the foot of the cross and telling the Lord, “I messed up again.”

    Accepting that we ourselves are uncivil at times, resolving to be better at it, and not wallowing in self pity because “Gee!  It’s so gosh darn hard to be civil sometimes in this world,” takes a lot of effort.

   Slowly I am learning that it’s not a one week process, or even a month. I’m really glad I have given myself a year for this Civility project, because in all honesty, I think it may take me a year to let go of my incivility, to remember to keep a civil tongue about anything and to not feel so much guilt about it I give up on the whole thing.

   Because I think learning more civility is important, for me, for my family, for my friends and neighbors. And just then, maybe then, more and more people will see that it’s important for all of us to be more civil. As we meet more and more people on this planet through social media, internet news, and travel, we need to learn to respect each other more and keep a “civil tongue in our faces!”

   Fave quotes:  Katherine McLintock in “McLintock– “You keep a civil tongue in your unprepossessing face!”

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