Practicing civility will create the best environment for persuasion. Studies show story-telling and open-minded conversations are powerful tools that connect two parties on a neurological level. A presumption of decency is as useful as anything in the pandemic arsenal. While a global crisis has upended life for now, it shouldn’t be an excuse to forget the humanity in others. Civility is the way toward more productive conversations and, ultimately, a changed heart.
Sue Panek is a core team member of The Oshkosh Civility Project:
Show respect: Honor others — especially in disagreements. Just because people don’t agree on something doesn’t mean they don’t deserve each other’s respect. Sometimes, being respectful is not easy because it requires self-discipline, self-control, tolerance, sensitivity, and fairness. And, in the end, it’s fine to say that “it’s ok to agree to disagree.” Take time to calmly share your point of view while listening to the points of view of others. Practicing civility does not mean one needs to give up self-expression. However, while self-expression allows us to share our thoughts and feelings, it does not mean we can act recklessly, unchecked or brazen. Whatever your views on the pandemic, we can to get through this if we just remember we are part of the larger society. I hope you will decide to choose civility in your daily life.