In order to improve our communities, our country and the world, we have to have healthy debate. It’s impossible to agree with everything and everybody. And, it’s important for you to stand up for what you believe in and value. But, in order to help tackle issues facing our communities and move forward, we have to work to find common ground. We do that by listening carefully to others, and treating them with dignity and respect, even when we disagree with them.
Here are some great tips for fostering civility in your schools and communities from the Speak Your Peace Civility Project (Duluth, Minnesota):
- Pay Attention. Be aware and attend to the world and the people around you.
- Listen. Focus on others in order to better understand their points of view.
- Be Inclusive. Welcome all groups of citizens working for the greater good of the community.
- Don’t Gossip. And don’t accept when others choose to do so.
- Show Respect. Honor other people and their opinions, especially in the midst of disagreement.
- Be Agreeable. Look for opportunities to agree; don’t contradict just to do so.
- Apologize. Be sincere and repair damaged relationships.
- Give Constructive Criticism. When disagreeing, stick to the issues and don’t make a personal attack.
- Take Responsibility. Don’t shift responsibility and blame onto others; share disagreements publicly.