Let's all choose more pleasant course

Let's all choose more pleasant course

In some ways, we seem to have normalized incivility. Reality television shows, political skirmishes, national media that focus on everyday messes, nasty music, social media mania, violent video games mirrored by real-life events (or vice versa) — all are frequent and fraught with uncivil thoughts and actions.

It all comes close to feeling like just another day in the life of our citizenry. We might shake our heads and hope it doesn't happen here or to us. Or we can hide under a rock and, perhaps, miss some of the fallout.

Our community recently was provided with a breath of fresh air that was not just "another day in the life." The Champaign Public Library promoted a Civility Week called "It's Cool to Be Kind." There were activities and programs for folks of all ages.

Donna Pittman, the library's develoment director, spearheaded these efforts. A host of wonderful sponsors included Champaign Public Library Friends, Parkland College and Lifelong Learners with Jan Simon's leadership, University of Illinois Library, Habeeb Habeeb, The News-Gazette, Adams Outdoor, and Surface 51 were joined by a wide array of participating community leaders and members to add quality to the initiative.

The weeklong effort was motivated by author P.M. Forni and his wonderful book, "Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct."

To all of us, here's the challenge: Let's not limit this focus on civility to one week. Each of us has the opportunity to choose civility in our lives on a daily basis. We can be kind or cruel; empathic or selfish; respectfully confrontational or relationally destructive; hopeful or hopeless.

Truly, it is up to us personally and collectively to choose civility in our relationships, our systems and ourselves. It is cool to be kind.

TOPPER and CAROL STEINMAN

Champaign

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