At the school I currently serve (Guthrie CSD, Guthrie, Texas), we are teaching our children ways of thinking and ways of behaving that go beyond academic content. We call this framework of learning the Guthrie Graduate Profile. We believe that students who learn these future-ready skills stand the best chance of living happy, fulfilling, and productive lives.
Civility is not a word that shows up in the Guthrie Graduate Profile, but its essence is clearly present. When we learn to treat others with respect, courtesy, and empathy - with civility - we open the door to understanding the “other” better, and to being better received by the “other.”
Unfortunately, the entertainment effect derived from conflict, put-downs, and disparagement (as demonstrated by a whole host of politicians and entertainers) makes our work along these lines that much more difficult. We too often feel we're swimming against the cultural tide.
When we treat others with respect, we gain
(not always what or as much as we want, but something).
When we treat others disrespectfully, we always lose
(usually in ways that we can’t imagine or measure).
Here is a critical point we try to reinforce with our students:
With so much to gain and so little to lose, treating others respectfully will ALWAYS work to their benefit.
(By the way, it works for us big people, too).