Civility And Compassion - A Special Event

 Unrest on city streets, bullying in schools and political discord have resulted in a feeling that American society has lost a sense of civility and compassion in daily life. Poll after poll indicates that in the 21st century Americans feel that the lack of civility is a major problem. Missouri River Regional Library will address the issue with a series of programs: Civility and Compassion.

“Civility and compassion together make a community possible,” said George Dillard, one of the programs discussion leaders. “Our goal with this series of presentations is to address the significance of these virtues in creating peace within ourselves, and within our greater community.”

The series will begin on April 3 with Gara Loskill, character education coordinator for Cole County, who will address George Washington’s 110th Rule of Civility: “Labor to keep alive in your breast that celestial fire called conscience.”

As a schoolboy in Virginia, Washington took his first steps toward greatness by copying out by hand a list of 110 “Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation.” 

Most of the rules are concerned with details of etiquette, offering pointers on such issues as how to dress, walk, eat in public and address one's superiors. They seek to form the inner person by shaping the outer.

On April 10, Betty Cooper and Don Love, from the local Universalist Church, will be speaking on social necessity for civility and compassion as an aspect of world peace.

“At a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized, at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do,” President Barack Obama said in a speech in 2011, “it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.”

Reverend Edwards, of The Center for Buddhist Development, will discuss the place of compassion in the Buddhist world view on April 17.

“Every human being has the same potential for compassion; the only question is whether we really take any care of that potential, and develop and implement it in our daily life,” the Dalai Lama has written “My hope is that more and more people will realize the value of compassion, and so follow the path of altruism. As for myself, ever since I became a Buddhist monk, that has been my real destiny – for usually I think of myself as just one simple Buddhist monk, no more and no less.””

In the final program on April 24, Rev. Sharon Allmond, of Unity Church of Peace, will be speaking on becoming a more compassionate person and how we can make a significant, positive difference in our world by learning to make a shift in our perspective.

“In the course of my observation, these disputing, contradicting and confuting people are generally unfortunate in their affairs. They get victory sometimes, but they never get good will, which would be of more use to them,” Benjamin Franklin once said.

All programs begin at 7 p.m. every Tuesday in April, and will take place in the Missouri River Regional Library Art Gallery.

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