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I am a retired English teacher and department head, the mother of three, grand mother of three, and have been married to the same man for 42 years. I subscribe to Dr. PM Forni's concept of Civility. I was born in South Philadelphia and grew up in the 'burbs. I love soft pretzels and cheesesteaks, the Phillies, the Eagles, and San Diego. I love being Mom, Aunt Kathy, Nona Kathy, and Teacher. I spend a lot of time in my gardens in the spring and summer, and in the winter I plan what I'm going to plant. I also am an avid reader and photographer.

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Choosing Civility

As I write, it's dark, raining, and the wind has picked up.  I love it.  It's been a good while since we've had a day like this.  As soon as I finish this post, I'm going downstairs to cuddle into my comfy chair with the PD James book I'm about to finish: The Private Patient.  I deserve this having spent the morning terminating stink bugs with their only known predator - my vacuum. 

Frequently in these parts one sees magnetic bumper stickers reading "Choose Civility in Howard County".  Other counties, too, have jumped on the civility bandwagon.  Dr. PM Forni of Johns Hopkins University, came up with this program to encourage gentleness in contemporary society.  He offers workshops nationally.  Seems sad that it's come to this, but I'll not argue  a profound need.  As far as manners and gentle behaviors go, I think we've lost our freakin' minds.  Two days ago in the gym parking lot, a woman pulling into a space was in the way of another woman exiting the handicapped area of the parking lot.  The one parking her car was obviously backing up and pulling into a space as expeditiously as she could.  The woman pulling out scowled, thrust out her jaw, and repeatedly lay on her horn.  Another patron and I stood agape.  He said to me, "I'm not sure what we just witnessed, but evidently it was important."  I felt like sticking one of the Civility stickers on her car, but she probably would have decked me.  Evidently, lack of manners is now a handicapped condition.

15 comments:

George said...

I think the 'Choose Civility' campaign is badly needed nationwide. I hope it helps in your area and spreads to ours.

Linda said...

I just had this conversation with my sister-in-law yesterday. Are things worse or is it because the media shows every little misdeed and gives other people bad ideas that they in turn act upon. Wouldn't it be nice if the media focused on catching people in the act of good deeds?

TAG said...

Great post. Two things come to might right off.

1. Now is the perfect time for you to be a kind host and say nothing at all to fans of a certain other baseball team that is no longer in first place.

2. Talked to my younger brother this afternoon. We were recalling some time he spent umpiring baseball games. Seems he was behind the plate for a high school game some years ago. As he put it, the pitcher wasn't in the same zip code as the plate. To make matters worse, the pitchers grandmother was in the stands right behind home plate. As you can imagine she was not a happy camper.

At one point my brother suggested to this lady that she needed to calm down and keep in mind that the kids were watching and listening to everything she was saying.

"She told me what orifice to stick it in and how deep to go."

Asked my brother what he did.

"I had her arrested. The cops came and put her in handcuffs and were taking her to jail before her husband talked me into letting her go."

TAG

Betsy from Tennessee said...

It's true that we as a country don't have any manners or civility anymore at all... AND--why are we so judgmental? Why are people so rude to each other? And why are people these days so darn ANGRY???? It's really sad to see what has happened to our country...

Where is faith, hope and charity????? SAD!!!

Great post, Kathy.
Hugs,
Betsy

Purple Flowers said...

It is not only badly needed nation-wide but world wide.

Linda Reeder said...

Oh, I just saw the samw thing yesterday in the Safeway lot. A woman was backing out of her slot, carefully because you never know what idiot will rush up behind you. Then sure enough said idiot did rush up and procede to hoke at her. The back up drived exchanged looks and head shakes as she pulled away. The other then zoomed by and pulled into the handicap slot by the door. I was going to wait to see if she was really handicapped, but decided I'd invested enough in her already.
I couldn't help but pick up on 'Johns Hopkins'. At there hospital today an extreme lack of civility was demonstrated, as a man shot his mother's doctor, then shot his mother, then himself. Fortunately the doctor will survive.

Happyone :-) said...

I've noticed a lot of those stink bugs around my house too!!

Many times I've noticed that those people with the choose civility stickers on their cars are not living up to their sticker!!
I agree the world is not a very polite place anymore. Sad! So many people are just so impatient.

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

I agree that a Choose Civility campaign is badly needed everywhere. I never cease to be amazed at the rudeness of people.

Bilbo said...

Dr Forni needs to offer a few of his workshops to Congress. You may want to go back and read this post from my blog back in September of 2007: http://bilbosrandomthoughts.blogspot.com/2007/09/parable-about-parking-space.html

Kimberly said...

Maybe we've just become too relaxed in all ways. Relaxed jeans, relaxed manners... There is an old saying Clothes make the man. Maybe we should go back to dressing up. It's harder to be rude when you are all decked out. Manners seem to just come with the sprucing.

Gilly said...

Its just as bad in the UK! Well, nearly. I just think "love your neighbour" and return rudeness with politeness.

I think we have to do this, otherwise society will break up. Someone has to hold it together, even in a little way.

My, do I sound sanctimonious!!!

Maggie said...

Thanks are worse because parents aren't teaching manners. Boy, they should have lived with my mother.

Cobalt Violet said...

When I was teaching art this summer I told the kids, if my 4 year old nephew can say please and thank you (having started at 2!), so can you.
I agree with Maggie that it starts young.

I also think our whole society is under so much pressure. So much going on ... too much ... in our lives, on our computers and cell phones and it's not like everyone is meditating and doing something to stay centered with all the craziness.

In some countries people take naps in the afternoon and spend more time enjoying life get more vacation time. It seems to be less angry there.

Having said that ... we still need those bumper stickers in LA. ;)

Palm Springs Savant said...

I love it! I'd contribute to that campaign. btw- I love "weather" too.

Maggie said...

RYN: Thank you so much for sharing your cancer experience with me. My mother survived colon cancer in 48, breast cancer twice, and thyroid cancer. My grandmother survived breast cancer too. My friend Kay is surviving lung cancer. Tho Lee and Marion are dying, I bet Michael will do well with the new treatments and live as long as his mother....who just died at 99. Hugs to you.