The other day something astonishing happened on my Facebook page.
Friend #1 posted his feelings about government spending, and Friend #2 chimed in with an opposing viewpoint.
Friend #1 presented more evidence.
Friend #2 countered and began to escalate.
This is the astonishing part: Friend #1 explained his beliefs, then APOLOGIZED if he stepped on Friend #2’s toes.
Even weirder, Friend #2 responded by saying no apology was necessary and that SHE was sorry for getting emotional.
AND THAT WAS IT. CIVILITY! Kindness! Respect!
They remained friends, and everyone went merrily on.
I, however, messaged both of them and told them I believed they each earned The Internet Civility Award (TICA). Since there wasn’t one yet, I couldn’t give it. But here it is now. (Yes, I just made this up.)
I’ve written about civility before, but lately I’ve been watching for it, and it’s out there. For example, the LDS Church (Mormons) recently announced plans to build a temple in Pocatello, ID, and a Muslim family who lives there posted publicly on Facebook that they were happy for their LDS friends.
CIVILITY! Kindness! Respect!
In looking for examples of civility to share with my children, we recently became addicted to “The Great British Baking Show,” not because we’re any good at baking, but because we love watching the contestants. It’s a competition, with each week a Star Baker identified, and someone sent home.
The amazing thing is watching these contestants HELP each other, GIVE each other advice, and when one of them wins, they CHEER their fellow competitor. And when someone gets sent home, they WEEP genuine tears for their loss.
CIVILITY! Kindness! Respect!
I realized the need to point out good behavior to my children during last year’s presidential election. My kids read over my shoulder when I’m on Facebook, looking for movie trailers and videos of screaming goats. My 9-year-old was stunned to see the posts of supposedly “mature” adults she knew, calling candidates names and behaving very uncivilly.
My 4th grader said, “That person’s a GROWN-UP! Why isn’t he acting like one?”
That great question led to a discussion about kindness and respect for all people, if we like them or not. Everyone deserves kindness. Everyone.
She agreed with me that we should unfollow this person, along with a few others, who didn’t demonstrate “grown-up” behavior online.
But I want to reward those who act like mature and civil adults (even if they’re still kids), so I will be awarding TICA to those who demonstrate excellent behavior in the face of rudeness, intolerance, and anger, and I’d love for you to join me.
When you see someone approach a conflict with grace and dignity, with kindness and respect, paste this image to them and let the world know that here’s a person who still knows how to behave.
Maybe if we point out civil behavior more often, more of it might occur.
“That’s the way to respond! With respect like that, you’re already two weeks ahead of everyone else.”
~Book 6, The Flight of the Wounded Falcon, coming May 2017