America The Uncivil?

It would be easy to assume civility is dead given the antics of a few people who should know better. Over the last week we’ve had a Congressman be disrespectful to the President, a tennis star show poor sportsmanship and a musician take away from another’s moment in the spotlight. What these three did was wrong and rude and lacked respect for others. It was enough to give anyone pause about where our country is headed. However, I think we are letting a few color the many and I argue there are so many gracious, kind and respectful people in this country, they just don’t get the coverage that the bad boys/girls do.

I recently heard about a very cool project a local school created – an online kindness class that is open to everyone, not just students. The school is the Puget Sound Community School, a private middle and high school located in Seattle. According to their website, the school’s purpose is to help young people discover and follow their passions while becoming thoughtful, sincere, and respectful global citizens.

There are currently 200 people from all around the world signed up for the kindness class; young and old, students and not. According to the kindness blog, while this is called a “class”, there are no serious deadlines, no grades and no expectation other than for those participating to try to get the most from the kindness alliance, personally and globally. The first assignment is to do something consciously kind for yourself. The blog states “We must first feel good about who we are and what we have to offer before we can give to others.”

What I love is that the school founder and director – Andy Smallman – has done several of these projects through the years and he wrote “when participants have been mindful in past classes they start noticing more of the kind things happening around them. They report becoming happier, more peaceful. They infect others with optimism.”

This kindness class is closed, but there may be another in January. A kindness class or not, let’s all make a point to be kind, gracious and respectful global citizens. Let’s show the world civility lives and it’s a happier way to live so that the recent disrespectful acts we witnessed don’t overshadow the good.

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Arden Clise is founder and president of Clise Etiquette. Her love for business etiquette began in previous jobs when she was frequently asked for etiquette, public speaking and business attire advice by executives and board members. The passion for etiquette took hold and compelled Arden to start a consulting business to help others. Read more >>

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