For as long as I can remember, I have been keenly aware of and had a genuine concern about how people treated each other. As a child, I would get very bothered when I witnessed someone being mistreated and could almost feel what that person was experiencing as a result of the offense.
About three years ago, I had an “aha” moment when I realized that the saying “what makes you angry is somehow directly tied to your purpose and destiny in life”, is true. You are sent to be an answer to the problem that makes you mad. For me, that’s so true! I can’t stand to see people mistreated, undervalued or marginalized, and I certainly don’t like being the target of that kind of behavior. BUT, such is life and increasingly so in every segment of our society. Civility matters and incivility has become a MAJOR social ill. Fortunately, there are rules of engagement that helps to curtail and often times eliminate that kind of toxic behavior. George Washington penned the first 100 rules of civility and decent behavior when he was sixteen years old. Although some of the rules are obviously outdated, many represent a foundational premise for successful interaction and engagement today. #Civility is the framework that we can use to help us get along as we move along in society. We can disagree without being disagreeable and disrespectful in the process.
I have spent the last few years talking and listening to family and friends, hosting group discussions, facilitating workshops, panel discussions and speaking about the lack of civility in our day to day interactions and how it impacts our lives. I’ve also focused on creating safe places for middle and high school students to share how they are affected by the increase in violence in schools and #bullying within the educational environment.
Much of my time has been dedicated to finding likeminded people with a shared passion for raising awareness about this social ill. One of my first experiences occurred when I attended a Civility Symposium on Capitol Hill hosted by #The Institute for Civility in Government in 2013. I returned home extremely excited, hopeful and convinced that this journey was a major part of my calling in life. Shortly afterwards, I organized a Civility Symposium for community leaders, advocates, political leaders and residents in South Fulton County that was facilitated by the Institute Co-Founders, Cassandra Dahnke and Tomas Spath. Earlier that year I created a curriculum and implemented it in a middle school that was very successful. From my living room to the classroom, the boardroom and many places in between, I’ve been teaching and preaching the message of #civility.
Today, it appears as if we live under clouds of darkness that hover over us with all the hatred, violence, racism, classism….Jesus, take the wheel! We must shine a light and address the decline in civil discourse and common courtesy. I am on a personal journey to be a force for good and provide empowerment and leadership to help us get along better as we are moving about in society with a basic level of love and respect for our fellow man.
Yes, we can be the change we want to see in the world by recognizing each other’s humanity at home, in the workplace and wherever mix and mingle. #Change starts here. It begins with each one of us, taking the time to think before we act out, to give respect so we can be respected.
Join me in this movement. Let’s rise up with #civility and let healing begin. I’m in. Are you?
I am LaRita Reid. The Civility Maven