Civility and kindness…are they slipping away from us as a society?

I was visiting Sarah and my new grandbaby Lennon on Wednesday when I first caught the story on television about the bullied bus monitor video that had gone viral on the Internet.  The entertainment show that I caught it on only showed a snippet of the video, but a snippet was enough.  It was, in a word - disturbing.

The kids that can be heard on the video evidence such a disregard for the woman’s feelings that it is difficult to watch.  The teens reduce the woman (a senior citizen) to tears with their relentless, ruthless bullying.   It is truly startling what a complete lack of empathy they showed for the damage they did.

This video is a startling reminder of how brutal bullying can be and how shattering it can be to the recipient.  Watch the video - you will be sickened by it.

The good news is, there has been a tremendous backlash against the kids who bullied the bus monitor.  Kids and others have posted their own responsive videos on YouTube that denounce the behavior of the bullies and call for discipinary action.

The school that the students attend has stated that the students involved will face disciplinary action.  I am not so sure that their disciplinary action will do anything to make the poor abused woman feel any better and I don’t know that it will allow the abusers to appreciate how heinous their behavior was (which is what is needed to curb future behavior of this nature).   They appear in the video to completely lack empathy and this is something that should concern us all.

Talk to your kids – show them this video and let them know how unacceptable this type of behavior is in regard to anyone of any age.  Make sure they understand the importance of civility and kindness.  Ask them to imagine how they would feel if they were treated the way the woman in the video was treated.  Ask them how they would feel if those kids were saying those type of things to their mom or grandma.  Ask them to remember that they alone are responsible for what they say and do to others and tell them that you expect them to treat others the way they would like to be treated.

When I see these type of things I worry for the well-being of our society – a society that seems to be increasingly losing its people-sense.  Technology is changing us and I worry that it isn’t always for the better.  Is our humanity being lost among the advancements?  Are we spending so much time with computers that we are losing our people skills?  I don’t know the answers to the questions I pose, but I am pretty sure that a disintegration of civility and kindness is not a positive step for our society.  And if you don’t believe me, ask the bus monitor.

Day one thousand and eighty-two of the new forty – obla di obla da

Ms. C

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About Ms. C

I teach at NDSU...but I remain a student of life with all the enthusiasm that entails. My favorite saying is, "Sometimes you have to take the leap and build your wings on the way down." In the new forty that is what I am doing...building my wings.
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3 Responses to Civility and kindness…are they slipping away from us as a society?

  1. PrairieWoman says:

    I was deeply disturbed by the kids who did this to that poor woman. I think the punishment for bullying should be expulsion for the remainder of the school year and mandatory community service. Not just any community service either. It should be working with kids who are differently abled, the elderly, and the vets. Something that instills the seed of compassion in these kids. I don’t understand how it can be cool to hurt others. I just don’t.

    • Barbara says:

      I agree, PrairieWoman. After taking all that abuse from those boys, Ms Klein still doesn’t want them punished–that sure speaks to what a nice lady she is. So she was hardly a “meanie” who had inspired that treatment in any way. I think that too many kids are acting quite power drunk these days because they’re just not seeing neighborliness and they’ve been getting away with too much punk-ness. How we fix this, I don’t know, but it helps to have a story like this one in the spotlight.

  2. Paul says:

    There is actually a growing body of thought that says there is too much kindness in the world – that civilization will collapse of its own weight as we forgive more and more people for being unproductive or socially nonconforming or deficient in some way. Starve them out, is the new creed. No more mercy. Think of yourself and yours first. There is no common good beyond brute survival, and every act of compassion undermines it.

    The Tea Party in grassroots politics, and the Alternative Right in online discussion circles, are two examples of this philosophy in action. The Tea Party, mostly older people invested in the system, does not admit its bedrock beliefs, but camouflages them for political gain. The Alt-Right, young, male and mostly disenfranchised, is very frank that they would rather see chaos than let society continue as it is.

    Both of these groups need careful watching and regular exposure in the public discourse. The Teahadists get some; the Alt-Right are not yet taken seriously. Not seriously enough. There is much anger, jealousy, and tribal hate in our society that is ready to wage all outwar on kindness. It would be tragic indeed if that war were declared without our knowing it.

    We need never be cruel to be kind, but soon we may need to fight to be kind.

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