Driving County Roads

An on line journal sharing my views. The content reflects my background as a rural person employed in agriculture and as a retired elected official of local government.

Monday, August 24, 2009

LESSONS IN CIVILITY

A few years ago I read a news report about the actions of some council members of one of our state’s larger cities. Evidently individual members were taking actions that resulted in the council being unable to function in an orderly manner. The end result was that the council adopted a few guidelines on “how to behave in a civil manner.”
The necessity for elected bodies to have to set up standards and guidelines on how to behave is becoming more common. Some of us just scratch our heads and wonder, “how did this happen?” The actions by citizens at some of the Congressional town hall meetings seem to answer this question to some extent.
Some governmental units have undertaken what they call a “Choose Civility” model. It is an initiative inspired by Dr. P.M. Forni in his book, “Choosing Civility: The 25 Rules of Considerate Conduct.” Our world would be a better place if this was required reading for all high school graduates.
The following is a list of Civility Principles that have been adopted by Howard County in Maryland.
Pay attention
Listen
Speak kindly
Assume the best
Respect others’ opinions
Respect other people’s time and space
Be inclusive
Acknowledge others
Accept and give praise
Apologize earnestly
Assert yourself
Take responsibility
Accept and give constructive criticism
Refrain from idle complaints
Be a considerate guest

Didn’t we all learn these things in kindergarten? And if not, why not? end

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