We are well aware of much of the dysfunction across the world from gun violence, terrorism, the wars in the Middle East and the spoiling of the planet. It is impossible to watch the presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and not want to turn the television or computer off.
We are rightly concerned about the ills affecting humanity globally, as well as here in the United States and in our own communities.
We do not have much control over many of these larger issues but we do have control over our individual choices and daily activities.
Yet, for most of us, especially those living in developed countries things have rarely been better.
Our access to food, healthcare, and employment is unprecedented even with the troubling and growing divide between the very rich and the very poor.
My neighbors, friends, and colleagues often lament for a past that was not nearly as perfect or safe and happy as our memory and perspective would like us to believe.
Our concerns cause us much anxiety yet for the vast majority of us we experience safety and prosperity each day and each night we tuck our children in bed.
We have lost a sense of control and that is one of the casualties of terrorism as ordinary places can suddenly be dangerous places. What we can control is how we engage with each other.
Can we exercise patience for the pedestrian crossing the street or the person driving slow in front of us?
Can we hold a door open for the person coming in behind us and other small gestures have an infective impact?
Can we listen a bit longer before we speak and consider the impact of our words when we do?
Practicing Civility even in the face of the many horrors we are sensitive too around the world can be an exercise of defiance even as we must be vigilant about those who would do us harm.
The smile you send out returns. In a world that is more connected, interconnected, fast-paced and in the midst of epochal change; Civility matters more than ever and it is up to you.