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Montana Freemason                                             January 2018                                 Volume 94   Number 1
      According to the founders of the Institute for Civility
     in  Government,  “Civility  is  claiming  and  caring  for
     one’s  identity,  needs  and  beliefs  without  degrading
     someone  else’s  in  the  process.”  We  can  disagree
     without  being  disrespectful  and  move  beyond  our
     own  preconceived  notions.  Everyone  has  a  right  to
     be heard. The potential benefi ciaries of changing the
     current civility paradigm are our public organizations.
     If Oregon Masonry has the opportunity to partner with
     other Masonic Jurisdictions in the civility eff ort, we all
     will benefi t.
                                                           What is Civility?
      Sometimes  it  is  necessary  to  have  a  “constructive
     confrontation”  (for  example  standing  up  for  your   Civility  is  claiming  and  caring  for  one’s  identity,
     rights), but carried to an extreme confrontation becomes   needs and beliefs without degrading someone else’s
     destructive. According to Guy and Heidi Burgess, Co-  in the process.
     Directors, of the Confl ict Research Consortium at the
     University of Colorado, in The Meaning of Civility, we   Civility is about more than just politeness, although
     can utilize “confl ict processes, dispute resolution, and   politeness is a necessary fi rst step. It is about disagreeing
     advocacy strategies to help disputants better advance   without  disrespect,  seeking  common  ground  as  a
     their  interests.”  They  recommend  that  we  “separate   starting point for dialogue about diff erences, listening
     the people from the problem”, or separate the merits   past one’s preconceptions, and teaching others to do
     of the argument from the personalities.                the same. Civility is the hard work of staying present
                                                           even with those with whom we have deep-rooted and
      The principles of civility which apply in the public   fi erce disagreements. It is political in the sense that it
     sector apply to us as individuals. Individually, we all   is a necessary prerequisite for civic action. But it is
     need to demonstrate civility with our family, friends,   political, too, in the sense that it is about negotiating
     associates and with those whom we work. Before the    interpersonal  power  such  that  everyone’s  voice  is
     age of 16, WB George Washington in a school exercise   heard, and nobody’s is ignored.
     wrote “Every Action done in Company, ought to be
     with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present.”   Civility Is:
     Obviously the concept of politeness and respect is not   A conscious awareness of the impact of one’s thoughts,
     a new idea.                                            actions,  words  and  intentions  on  others;  combined

                                                            with,  A  continuous  acknowledgement  of  one’s
      Let  us  proceed  in  the  coming  months  with  a  new   responsibility to ease the experience of others (e.g.,
     outlook in our interpersonal relationships. Truly listen   through  restraint,  kindness,  non-judgment,  respect,
     to the thoughts of others without a preconceived notion   and courtesy); and, A consistent eff ort to adopt and
     about what they are trying to say. If you do this, maybe   exhibit  civil  behaviour  as  a  non-negotiable point  of
     those who disagree with you can hear what you are      one’s character.
     trying to say and you can come to a new understanding.
     Every eff ort at dispute resolution does not succeed, but
     not making the eff ort will certainly fail.

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