Soucheray: August signals civilitySome say that if we can’t be civil all the time, at least we can do it for a month.
By: Kate Soucheray, Woodbury Bulletin
The month of August begins next Wednesday. The month is highly unusual because we celebrate no national holidays during the month. However, it has been named the National “Win with Civility Month.” Some say that if we can’t be civil all the time, at least we can do it for a month.
But what exactly is civility? According to Webster, civility is politeness, courtesy, good manners or showing respect for others. It is being gracious and considerate. Imagine if we each acted in a civil manner throughout the entire month of August what our world would, or even our own community, would look like?
We might see people waving other drivers on at a four-way stop sign rather than deeming that we arrived first, which therefore means everyone waits for us.
We might see people holding doors for others as they enter or exit a building. And we know that kindness is catchy, so we might even see the person for whom we held the door, hold it for the next person in return.
We might see people stopping to help load groceries into an elderly person’s car or perhaps returning the cart they used to the store, thus saving them a trip back there themselves.
We might see people paying for a soldier’s dinner at a local restaurant because they are in uniform and the observer simply wants to extend their gratitude for service rendered to our country.
We might see people picking up a dropped coin or bill, or even returning a found wallet with money and credit cards intact, to its rightful owner.
These are all examples of civility, something many older readers may simply shake their heads as they consider that these occurrences are not commonplace anymore. They may be disappointed that we have to designate a month to remember that civility is important and that it once seemed ordinary and routine to behave in this manner everyday.
In fact, if you didn’t act with civility, whether outside playing, attending church or while at school, your parents would likely have received a call and you would have been reprimanded or punished for your lack of respect. Today, no call is made. No responsibility is held. And no one is being reprimanded.
It seems we have come to accept the lack of civility and good manners as much a thing of the past as fins on cars. Something we go to a special show once a week and ooh and aah over the old-fashioned models that used to populate our streets and were considered cool. Now, they’re considered antiques and held away in a garage for safe-keeping from rust and weather.
Perhaps it’s time to bring back civility, if even for the month of August. Talk about this with your family members and decide what you could do to be more civil to each other. This list could start with the kids speaking respectfully to their parents, saying please and thank you when they receive something, whether at home or in public, and being thoughtful of siblings, neighbors and friends.
Being civil is simple. It’s what we teach in kindergarten: take care of your things, pick up after yourself, don’t tease others and be nice.
Soucheray is a Woodbury resident and a licensed family therapist