Column: Is incivility on the rise?


Commentary by Jeff Worrell

Is civility – or the lack thereof – really getting worse with each generation? It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking so, especially with all the negative news and social media showcasing extreme behaviors. But before we blame the younger generation or pine for the “good old days,” here are a few thoughts.

First, the media tends to focus on conflicts, creating the impression that civility is on a downward spiral. Then there’s the fact that each generation’s social norms seem to evolve, leading to perceptions of declining civility.

Just like my father and my grandfather before him sharing their views about the younger generation, I realize it is easy to remember the past through rose-colored glasses, seeing only a simpler and more respectful time. But could it be that global, instant communication magnifies incidents of incivility from around the world, making it seem like they’re more common than before?

It’s important to remember that people tend to notice and remember negative interactions more than positive ones, contributing to the perception that incivility is on the rise. I challenge you to look for and reinforce the positive interactions you encounter this week. Let’s celebrate a growing mindset of civility in our community, and, please, share them with me.