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Small Steps to Civility


Take small steps toward compromise, civility

Democrat & Chronicle Newspaper, December 31, 2012     




Written by

Arlene Hisiger


Post elections, our political leaders speak of the urgent need for compromise and reconciliation. How nice to imagine this goal within easy reach, but experience has taught us differently.

At times like these, when the fabric of civil society has been seriously frayed by the corrosive effect of coarse reality shows, violent video games, and high regard for the quick put down; when our daily discourse is distinguished by its disengaged, can’t-you-see-I’m-busy-checking-my-emails insensitivity, it may be best to rely on a tried and true method for surmounting the seemingly insurmountable — break the task down to bite-sized manageable pieces.

The main thoroughfare of compromise and greater civility is best reached via access roads of small, yet decidedly not inconsequential acts of kindness and consideration.

In the workplace, all too often, we forget to thank others who aided in making our goals more attainable. Sure, we are quick to send a thank-you to the major players — the CEOs and managers — but what of the unseen and unsung?

Can you recall the last time you dashed off an email or made a quick call to thank an administrative assistant or technical assistant, to name just two of the many possible people crucial to the successful outcome of a presentation, trade show or power lunch?

An equally effective means of showing respect for others is inviting input when assuming a new position. An acquaintance made a point of calling the parents at a school where he recently became headmaster. A parent, on the verge of enrolling her children elsewhere, was so impressed with the principal’s warmth; she elected to keep her children enrolled at the school; proof, as Vincent Van Gogh said, that “great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”

Hisiger is a freelance writer. Contact her at arlene@wordtailor.net. This column is written by members of the Rochester Women’s Network (rwn.org).


Contact Arlene at 585-442-6108 or arlene@wordtailor.net
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