Maryland Mayors Association | Civility
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Civility and George Washington on Mount Rushmore


Let us take time to consider civility and how we  live our lives and interact with others.


by John Miller

By the age of sixteen, George Washington had copied out by hand, 110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation which are based on a set of rules composed by French Jesuits in 1595. Many of those rules today would sound downright silly and outdated, but they represent more than just manners. They are the small sacrifices that we all should be willing to make for the good of all and the sake of living (and working) together.

Although we won’t list all 110 of The Rules, here are some of the most important ones that we all should consider:

  1. Treat everyone with respect.
  2. Be considerate of others.
  3. Do not embarrass others.
  4. When you must give advice or criticism, consider the timing, whether it should be given in public or private, the manner and above all be gentle.
  5. Do not correct others when it is not your place to do so.
  6. Do not be quick to talk about something when you don’t have all the facts.
  7. In Washington’s words: “Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.”


Let’s all focus on tolerance toward others rather than focusing on our own self-interests that we find so prevalent today. And remember that civility is a conscious awareness of the impact of one’s thoughts, actions, words and intentions on others. So do as we’ve been taught and treat others as we would ourselves like to be treated.

–Reprinted from Cindy R. Unangst

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