Autumn is upon us and with the beginning of this season comes a return to school for students, a renewed energy in the workplace with summer holidays behind us, and the end of the extensive summer vacation for government. With everyone raring to go, there are bound to be uncontrolled fits and misplaced bursts of energy, many people jockeying for positions of comfort after their rejuvenating summer breaks. Undoubtedly, there will be instances where people are so enthusiastic or full of themselves in general that they will exhibit uncivil behavior. We are, after all, human beings. It is our very nature, especially in western society, to get ahead either at school, in our jobs, or in our efforts to get reelected as government officials.
What better time than the present is there to stop and assess our actions, our motives, and our goals? I have observed, as have many others, that civility at school, in the work place, in social and activity clubs and in the legislature has fallen to a very low point. If we want to build any kind of a sustainable and healthy future for our children and grandchildren, now is the time to begin anew to lead by example so that those who hold us in high regard have good reason to do so.
Bullying comes in many forms – physical, emotional, verbal, and mental. Unfortunately, the effects of this abuse can last a lifetime. We all deserve respect. Whether the newborn freshly home from the hospital, the elder statesman who is the patriarch of the family, or the grandmother whose firm guidance has solved many a family argument, we all deserve to be treated with kindness, compassion and respect. This is best accomplished if practiced every day. I think it is so important that I suggest scheduling some family time if necessary, where all family members can get together to discuss what is going on in their lives. How else will we find out if someone is being bullied and is afraid. None of us are skilled enough psychics to guess how our loved ones are feeling, what their troubles may be, and how we may help them to feel better about themselves.
Bullying is akin to negative reinforcement. The only thing worse is abandonment. Coming home to an empty house, for example, is a very unhealthy way for any of us to end our day of work or schooling. Even something as simple as a short note indicating that there is food in the fridge or what time dinner will be gives some assurance that a much needed connection will be made soon. We cannot thrive or even exist in isolation. We mustn’t do this to our loved ones.
When we return to our schools and offices this autumn, let’s try to make it our own personal policy to behave civilly with one another. This kind of natural behavior cannot be successfully legislated, nor should it be. A healthy society should be able to nurture this behavior very comfortably. Discussing this at home brings it to the forefront of our minds and helps make it easier to happen. If the home is a secure place to live physically, mentally and emotionally, our schools and places of work will be too.
Jay Remer is a consultant in corporate etiquette and international protocol. He is trained and certified by the Protocol School of Washington to present a variety of interactive workshops. You can find out more about Jay, read his articles on protocol and etiquette, and learn about his Seminars, Courses, and Event Planning Services, at www.etiquetteguy.com.