Educational Editorial: What happened to civility?

By Dr. Bill Bosher, NBC12 Educational Specialist

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Civility is frequently highlighted in the media, hallway conversations and classrooms. Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia, also includes it as one of five pillars…or values for its users.

In reality, it means civilized conduct…courtesy and politeness. The question for us is, "Where is it taught?"

Perhaps there is even an inconsistency in the question…is civility actually taught or is it emulated. Do young people learn to be polite because they are taught a definition or are they courteous because they see it happen?

My generation, the boomers, grew up with many "sayings"…one was, ironically, "I don't care what you say; I care about what you do." Behavior always trumped talk.

Recent graduations again tested lines between celebration and civility. While many schools have attempted to create an event of "pomp and circumstance," they have been trumped by families and friends who frequently act like they are in a pep rally cheering on their team with told disregard for the other players.

The protracted yelling and "noise-making" can obliterate the recognition of other students.

In some instances the "celebration" seems to be focused more on the attendees than the honoree. While some believe that there is no way to get this genie back in the bottle sense it has ridden its carpet to high school graduations from its big brother, colleges and universities, we should not abandon our quest for the emulation of civility…and it starts at home.

With our children and grandchildren, I have fun…lots of fun, but I have also tried demonstrate another of those sayings… "always treat others like you want to be treated."

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