Growing up I was raised with a foundation of civility and respect toward all life regardless of age, gender, race, culture, orientation, religion, and any other demographic others use to divide. I was taught that people are people, individually human on every branch of life’s tree. Now an adult, I still “hold these truths to be self-evident” (Thomas Jefferson). Unfortunately, civility and respect seem ever fleeting within present day society. Somehow we have reached a “doing me only” way of thinking, ignoring we are each other’s “brother & sister’s keeper” - that we really are in the school of life together. Shields are up, inner walls have been erected, and curse words sit easily on the tip of tongues waiting to be propelled like daggers into the heart of anyone who may have a grievance. According to a poll taken by the Associated Press’s NORC Center, “74 percent of Americans feel that, overall, people have become more ill-mannered in the past 20 or 30 years.” Could this be due to low self-esteem, poor past social decisions, mental illness, a lack of empathy, or darkness deep within the inner human being – the soul?
Please do not misunderstand my rhetoric, there are segments of time in history where a society bands together to treat each other in a promoting positive and constructive manners. However, just as seasons change, so do behaviors and attitudes. The absence of civility and respect toward one another is not just a result of the current political climate. It has been in decline for many years, if not generations. In fact, I have often heard baby boomers and older individuals complain about how crass younger generations are while impelling colorful and deconstructive comments. How easy they forget youth is the fruit that fell from their tree. “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit” (Matthew 7:18, King James Bible) Therefore, what kind of tree are you?
Suggested solutions: think before you speak. Take a second and consider how your words and actions represent you – your status, your family, your culture, and your beliefs. For those less selfish, put yourself in the shoes of the other person and decide if what you’re planning to say or do is something you would like to experience. Take the image of that person and place the face of someone your care about on their face, and see if you feel the same. If older, would you like someone to speak to your child the same way you’re willing to speak to someone else’s. After all, even adults are someone’s child and why so eager to disrespect based on age anyway? Keep in mind, the people who hurt us the most are those who know us. If anything strangers should be honored most, a stranger has yet to know you to offend you. Should none of these suggestions move you, and it is fine if they do not, “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction” (Issac Newton). With life comes a wheel of justice, and what you put in life will either comeback to you or could be inherited by someone you love – food for thought.
The Associated Press-Norc Center for Public Affairs Research. Rude Behavior in Everyday Life and On The Campaign Trail, 2017, http://www.apnorc.org/projects/Pages/rude-behavior-in-everyday-life-and-on-the-campaign-trail.aspx Accessed 15 Jan. 2018
Keven Porter Jr