Advice for Students

Civility Is…

August 18, 2012  |     |   0 Comment

Civility is:  taking time to appreciate your surroundings and being grateful to be in the moment.

I recently returned from a vacation and visit with my family in St. John’s, Newfoundland.   Growing up there, I did not appreciate it’s beauty.  Now, when I go home, it is all I see – like the ocean, the jelly-bean row houses, the majestic colours, the rugged landscape, and the salt-of-the-earth people.  I was blessed to have grown up there, and feel an incredible sense of pride and privilege whenever I go home for a visit.

There was one particular moment that my husband captured in a photograph which I have shared in this blog.  I am sitting on the ocean deck at Atlantica restaurant in Portugal Cove, NL.  The sun is setting and I am looking out, onto the ocean, where a whale was feeding and surfacing from time-to-time. A spectacular vision.

It is here that my family and I enjoyed a cocktail before dinner, which was being prepared by revered chef, Stephen Vardy.  During a conversation, I made a comment concerning an incident that I felt could have been better handled by our server. I thought I had been discreet.  My father, ever so wise, noted that there was no room for negativity and that we should always focus on the positive and be grateful for what we have – not focusing on what we don’t.

I don’t consider myself to be negative – I’m a “glass half full” kind of person.  Yet my father was correct. The comment I made, though true, was not necessary and detracted from the incredible environment and moment we were sharing together as a family.  I apologized and learned a valuable lesson.

Incivility can creep up in many forms – even for those of us who specialize in all things manners and etiquette.  It is up to us how we see the world, treat others, and conduct ourselves.  A negative spin can be put on anything – if we wish to do so.  But if we choose to take the time to appreciate our surroundings and be grateful to be in the moment, we will be open to experiencing true “moments of grace” and be better to ourselves and each other.


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