These days, it’s easy to feel disconnected from the world and, more importantly, from each other. Every day, it’s clear to see that we’ve lost our ability to constructively relate to one another. It’s easy to blame technology for the ever-increasing tensions that characterize so many of our interactions, but assigning blame to online “bubble” culture or a divisive media apparatus only obscures the deeper issue lying at the heart of our fractured society and ourselves. Putting the onus on others dangerously abdicates responsibility from individuals and hands over control for how we socialize to increasingly powerful governmental organizations.
What we are missing at the core of our cultural discourse is civility. It’s a word and concept that has recently regained a foothold in our national discussion, specifically around politics. Though the toxic nature of incivility has begun to corrode our daily lives, Shelby Scarbrough believes there is hope that we can all help create a more civil society.
With Civility Rules!, author and passionate civility expert Shelby Scarbrough reclaims civility for the modern age. Scarbrough’s conception of civility involves much more than the polite preferences of genteel society; instead, she views it as a core competency of our very humanity. Civility Rules! does not assign blame but rather makes civility, and the resulting civilized society, an issue of personal accountability. “My immediate goal is to share how we can build a practice of civility in our own lives. With practice, patience, and prioritization, we can make positive change, one interaction at a time,” Scarbrough tells readers in her book’s introduction. And she delivers on that goal as only she can.
Using George Washington’s “Rules of Civility” as the starting point for her broad discussion about civility, Scarbrough explains—without judgement—how we lost our way. More critically, she shows how the deliberate practice of courtesy, humility, empathy, patience, respect, and understanding can help us shirk off our own self-centeredness to create a more civil world and welcome more joy into our own lives.
At a time when respect and understanding can make all the difference, Shelby’s inspiring insights on civility are more urgent and needed than ever. Join her in restoring civility!