This post is part of an ongoing series that highlights discourse about civility from around the Web. We glean the links in this segment from as broad a cross-section as we can manage of blogs, newspapers, magazines, and other online venues, from the United States and around the world.
This week’s segment focuses in part on educational settings: the administration and culture, and the classrooms, of high schools and colleges across the country. Here, we catch a glimpse of the fraught world of curriculum changes in New York State; we see a call for civility among students at Brigham Young University and beyond; and we see the continuing impact of what happens when bullying moves online.
But this week’s segment offers more than just the three Rs. One columnist calls for civility — in the style of the NHL. While another makes the important point that politicians cannot compromise as long as we expect our elected officials to tell us only what we want to hear.
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Now — the list:
Classroom by classroom, school by school, district by district, state by state, we are out of time. Pure and simple…we may resent it but it is true. Our best intentions no longer count for data. It is not because a federal or state government told us so; it is because our own moral, ethical compass tells us that there are many children we are failing. It is the system’s fault. We are part of the system. We all suffer if it doesn’t change.
Commissioners have jobs to do and so do we. We will accomplish nothing without respect for each other and civility in our interactions. Remember in this, too, we are teaching the children.
People were quick to call the government shutdown childish, but they aren’t acknowledging the part they played in this mess. If our representatives are bratty kids, it’s our fault for encouraging bad behavior.
Politicians specialize in telling people what they want to hear. Today, however, the political climate is incredibly hostile thanks to a vicious cycle of straw-man arguments, finger-pointing and name-calling.
I’ve heard lots of talk lately lamenting the loss of the ability to compromise in our society, and I agree with most of it. But the problem runs deeper than that; even when events finally run their course and decisions get made without a spirit of compromise, there’s a distinct refusal to accept defeat and move on to the next thing. Instead, we throw all sense of dignity to the wind and keep returning to the decided issue, trying to make it undecided again. If this were to occur in hockey, each best-of-seven playoff series would become a best-of-nine, then 11, and so on.
But, no, after each series has been decided in the previously agreed-upon manner, our hockey heroes simply line up, shake hands, wish each other well and move on to the next series or the next season.
If only the rest of us could be so civil.
We are not built to like everyone, but we are built to behave civilly. We need to reinforce this message in schools, homes and sports programs, and within the worlds of digital culture and commerce.
Teenagers — and adults — must be called out on excessive sarcasm, bilious remarks, soft bullying and anything that denigrates another individual.
Humiliation is not entertainment. Whether it’s a shock jock, a coarse reality-TV show, an obnoxious song or a shout-fest on political TV: turn it off.
One of my students recently told me that on the day BYU played Utah, he and his brother had waited in line for several hours to secure great seats in the student section. However, when the gates finally opened, mote than 50 students cut in front of those who had waited for so long to get in.
To be uncivil is to be so selfish that you are completely oblivious to other people and their needs. It is to say, “I really don’t care about anyone else but me.”