Friday, November 16, 2018

Regaining Civility: Use Your Words

Today’s post is a monthly writing challenge. If you’re new here, this is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once. All of the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the recipient will take them. Until now.

Use Your Words, a multiblogger writing challenge | | #MyGraphics

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.
I'm using: gracious ~ unfounded ~ relax ~ comfortable ~ necessary
They were submitted by Jenn of Sparkly Poetic Weirdo.

Leave it to Jenn, in this time of national anger and division, to gift me with words like gracious, relax, and comfortable. I can always count on Jenn, via her blog and her FB page, to remind me to release my fingernails from digging into my palms, climb down off the ledge and return to a place where my blood pressure is at a level consistent with maintaining life. I hope I can do these words justice.

Just 10 days ago I published a post called World Kindness Election Day, in which I started this conversation. I'll continue it here today in a different context, relating it to sports, not to repeat myself but because this is something that cannot be said enough times or in enough ways.

World Kindness Election Day, a discussion about kindness on the day of midterm elections | Graphic property of | #kindness #politics

Manners are dead. A thing of the past. It's a big piece of what is wrong with us as Americans. We are not polite to each other. Bullying, bigotry, we see that taking center stage in our daily lives. On a local level, I have recently been the target of road rage, forced to feel in jeopardy, as though I could not go home because I did not want to lead someone honking her brains out and giving me the finger and calling me "f***ng c**t" at the top of her lungs out the window of her car for miles and miles to my house. What did I do to her? I have absolutely no idea. Nor does College Boy who was in the car with me. 

We have rejected the idea of being polite to each other and many of us are completely out of control, not just those who send bombs through the mail and shoot up grocery stores and temples, but some who, when we perceive ourselves to have been wronged, founded or unfounded, act out with anger, vitriol and violence.

I think lessons can be learned from sports, both juvenile and professional. I love when I watch football and a member of the opposing team helps up a player who's been tackled. Or in baseball when the player who's made it to a base smiles and speaks briefly with the player guarding that base. In both situations it is clear that although opponents on the field, they are not enemies. I cannot stress enough that it is possible to be opponents but not enemies. In all sectors of life.

But for me the biggest lesson comes at the end of a game when we often see the teams line up and acknowledge each other. Be it high fives or handshakes or just saying "good game", it doesn't matter how, but they look each other in the face and interact in some way. They "leave it on the field". What we learn in these moments are the yin and yang of being gracious. Not just how to lose with grace, a difficult lesson especially for children, but how to win with humility as well.

This is why it matters: Regaining our civility will not be a sweeping reform at this point, it will be a matter of small steps. It is important for those of us dismayed at the current climate in our society to stop waiting for this to happen from the top down. It is a time to be proactive, to make an individual effort, set a better tone in our homes, our neighborhoods, our communities. If we want to be comfortable in our lives, be able to relax in an environment in which we are free to express who we are as individuals, it is necessary, it is incumbent upon us all, to regain some basic level of decorum. Celebrate each others' triumphs, lament each others' setbacks. If we go back to being gracious, in both our victories and our defeats, we've taken that first step.

Live inclusion, not exclusion. 

Orange Cake with Apple Cider Frosting, a moist orange and apple cider cake topped with an apple cider butter cream frosting. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #bake #cake

Orange Cake with Apple Cider Frosting

Here are links to all the other Use Your Words posts:

Orange Cake with Apple Cider Frosting

1 box orange deluxe cake mix
3 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup apple cider
1/2 tsp orange zest

1 stick butter, softened
OPT: 1 TBSP orange liqueur
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp nutmeg
up to 1/2 cup apple cider

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 X 13 cake pan.
*Mix together the cake mix, eggs, vegetable oil, 1 cup apple cider and the orange zest. Beat for 2 minutes. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 25 - 28 minutes or until the center springs back to the touch. Cool completely.
*Beat the butter with the orange liqueur (if using) until smooth. Slowly at first, beat in the powdered sugar and nutmeg. Two tablespoons at a time, beat in the apple cider until the frosting is of spreadable consistency, then spread onto the cooled cake.


  1. Great post, speaking right from my soul.

    Leave it on the field and handshakes is how Colin and his hockey buddies are taught, and you are right, it's wonderful to watch; after a tough fight they fist pump and high five not only their teammates but also the opponent. And our coach will sanction those who can't help themselves and push the other kids.

    Happy Weekend, enjoy your cake, I think I can smell it, and it's yummy!

    1. I think in many ways, in this country anyway, it's time for the adults to learn from the kids.

  2. I agree. We have lost our manners and patience. OH WOW about the road rage! I had a close call recently as well. And my son was with me. I kept thinking oh God keep us safe. These people are nuts! Rude and def. need a class in civility.

    1. It's terrifying to be in that situation. Glad we both got out of it OK.

  3. Oh my goodness, yes! Yes! Leave it on the field. Leave it behind always! Let's refind our fertility!

    1. Well, it took IVF for me to find mine, but it was worth it, LOL.
      And yes, I know you meant "gentility".

  4. Auto correct blew that last comment! 😂😂😂 could you correct it for me? It's supposed to be 'gentility'!!!

  5. I am so discouraged by what I see, especially on social media where a kind loving person I know turns into someone I don’t even want to interact with. On the other hand the cake sounds wonderful. Alana

    1. I'm discouraged as well, but encouraged at the same time by the number of people now speaking out about civility.

  6. I feel like crying yet again and people asking me what is wrong doesn't help because I have no idea what is wrong, although at times I feel like saying how about you try and do some task any task and while your trying to do so I shake your arm and see how frustrated you get.

    Sorry nothing to do with this post just had to get that off m chest

    1. I hear your frustration, Jo-Anne and I'm sorry. Sounds like you need to delegate some tasks around there and give yourself a break.

  7. Yes, I too love good sportsmanship. There's too much wrong in the world lately.

  8. Oh I agree so much. It's funny because hubby and I were discussing this last night. He watches UFC you know where to idiots get in an octagon and beat the hell out of each other with very little rules. Anyway, last night he was watching these two fighters and it caught my attention because even though they had just beaten the hell out of each other they hugged and shook hands laughing to each other. One minute they were beating the hell out of each other and then the next minute they were best buds. It showed true sportsmanship which is sorely lacking in today's society. You have parents fighting with referees and coaches or each other. Players fighting each other. I don't know where civility went but I want it back!

    1. I want it back too. We have to go back to prioritizing morals and values.


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