Tenet the First: An Exploration -- Board Member Carl Hunt talks about the tenets of civility

From Carl Hunt (Pittsburgh, PA)

Happy New Year to you all!  I hope you all have a wonderful, prosperous, and peaceful 2017.  I thought a great way to start off the year is to dive right into the first of the ten tenets of civility. 

Be Attentive: Live with awareness toward others and your surroundings

A few years ago, I was sitting in church with my kids.  About thirty minutes into church, a gentleman sitting across the church from me began to put his head down.  His skin was turning gray and he began to sweat and mumble to his wife.  Although the majority of the people in church paid were paying attention to the service, a few people sitting nearby the ill man quickly attended to him and called paramedics.  He was having a mild stroke, and because people were being attentive, he was able to get quick care, leading to a solid recovery.

Being attentive doesn’t always have to save a life.  I once had a subordinate get into an argument with a manager at work.  Both of them were disappointed with each other’s efforts to complete a work product that had to get completed and delivered to a client that day.  Neither of them was attentive enough to notice that the conversation was quickly escalating, and within a few minutes, I (now aware of the argument because of the noise in a normally quiet office) had to step in the middle of a loud shouting match. I quickly separated the two of them into different rooms, and had them both focus on what needed to get done to meet the client’s deadline.  The deadline was met, but some hard feelings lingered between the two people engaged in the argument.

In the event of the two coworkers, they were both ignoring the many signs of an escalating argument, and they weren’t listening to each other very well (if at all).  At church, the man was not ignored – but what would have happened if he had been ignored?

Ignorance is the opposite of awareness.  Being aware of others and your surroundings is a great place to start in practicing civility.  It could prevent an argument…or even save a life.

Tell us about a situation you encountered in which awareness was used or not used. What happened?  Please share your story with us!