The Gift of Civility

The current state of the economy is causing many people to curtail their spending this holiday season. While your gift list might be shorter than previous years, there are some gifts like joy, happiness, and good cheer that you can give without spending any of our precious dollars.

Another “no cost” gift is the gift of civility. In his book, Choosing Civility, P. M. Forney writes twenty-five rules of “considerate conduct.” Here are ten rules that I believe will contribute substantially to our lives both at work and home, and especially during the holiday season.

  1. Pay Attention - “Every act of kindness is, first of all, an act of attention”.
  2. Acknowledge Others - “A greeting is a minimal yet meaningful conferral of honor on a person for just being a person”. Avoid choosing the invisibility game.
  3. Think the Best - “Thinking the best of others is a decent thing to do and a way of keeping a source of healthful innocence in our lives.”
  4. Listen - “What prevents us from doing a good job of listening is that instead of focusing on other people, we focus on ourselves and our own needs”.
  5. Speak Kindly - “By speaking with kindness you will improve the lives of those around you.” (And, don’t underestimate the kindness in some times choosing silence.)
  6. Respect Other’s Opinion - “Among the most civil utterances of all time is the simple, humble, and smart question. ‘What do you think?’”
  7. Respect Other People’s Time - “We respect other people’s time when we learn to value it as much as our own.”
  8. Assert Yourself - “. . . assertiveness is part of the set of quiet but powerful interactive skills of civility.”
  9. Refrain from Idle Complaints - “It is up to you to choose between giving in to dissatisfaction and resentment and embracing content and joy.”
  10. Accept and Give Constructive Criticism - “When we reject outright the criticism that comes our way we forgo a precious source of knowledge and wisdom.”

Happy holidays!