Thursday, April 10, 2008

Where is the lost art of civility?

I was going to link you to a post I have been considering the past few weeks. It was about homemaking without lists and schedules. I liked it. It made me think and consider the way I like to do things. Some of us are just not cut out to be list makers!

Only this morning, as I read the blogroll, I discovered that the blogger had removed her posts. Her extraordinary, wonderful, thought-provoking posts.
Because of the comments.
It reminded me eerily of the time that another of my favourite bloggers did the same thing. Only Elizabeth actually switched off the comments.

A long time ago, people knew when to stop. They knew when something was worth quarreling about, and when it was something you just did not discuss.
They understood the art of not offending someone. Manners dictated their behaviour and did not cross the boundary line into something unforgivable.

My husband and a friend of his have a favourite discussion. They talk about how civility should be taught in schools. Without that, they believe, people will continue to use their cell-phones in the middle of a restaurant, they will continue to be bad drivers, always wanting to be first. They think teaching civility in schools will help young people to respect the old, neighbours to respect neighbours. They expect that people will learn the value of what it means for someone to have 'property' and why you should not damage it. They expect many things.

Yes it is true, in the past people were not perfect. People did destroy other people's things. They did quarrel violently, but manners were taught so that older people were respected and certain manners governed their behaviour.

I am so grateful that, as a homeschooler, I can teach my children civility. Shouldn't we all?


  1. Thought provoking.
    I did read Elizabeth's explanation for turning off her comments. I've been very blessed to have had nice comments. I do wonder at people that seem to go out of their way to say something cruel. What happened to the idea that if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all? Many people seem to defend their opinion fiercely and take any opposing view as a personal affront.

    Lynne Truss(?), who wrote Eats, Shoots and Leaves, wrote a book about the lack of manners today called "Talk to the Hand." I never finished it, so I'm not sure if it was simply a rant or if she had solutions for the lack of civility.

    It's my own feeling that our age of social networking has created a virtual Wild West. Because it is so easy to act in anonymity, many allow their baser instincts to control their actions.

    I comment with the thought that someone I know might read it, and I want that someone to be proud of me, not embarrassed to know me.

    Peace and Laughter,

  2. Amen! I couldn't agree with you more! I taught public school for 8 years. My last day was over 9 years ago and I thought we were in trouble So much has changed since then. We call the problem of speaking out of turn or ugly the Thumper Syndrome. If you can't say anything nice then choose not to say anything at all. Thank you for this reminder.


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