“Think the Best” – Choose Civility Principle for October

“Think the Best” – Choose Civility Principle for October
Stanislaus County Office of Education (SCOE)
How do you approach relationships? Do you always think the best of people or
do you find yourself making assumptions and falling into a judgmental or critical
frame of mind?
According to P. M. Forni, author of Choosing Civility, “There is no doubt that
thinking the best of others can boost the quality of your life.” He says it is a
decent thing to do and brings with it a healthful innocence to our lives. “When we
approach others assuming that they are good, honest, and sensitive we often
encourage them to be just that,” he says.
The danger in thinking negatively or angrily about others is that it often rebounds
on us, making us even more critical says Tom Brownson in his post, 5 Questions
That Will Change Your Life. He says we’re likely to feel more stressed and
unhappy if we believe others are deliberately out to cause us grief. He suggests
we avoid making assumptions when someone irritates us and ask the question,
“What else could this mean?” For example……just because your date is late
doesn’t necessarily mean he doesn’t value the relationship, he might just be
stuck in traffic!
According to Forni, who was born in Italy, thinking the best of others is a defining
American trait, along with our belief in freedom and individual rights. “What is
America if not the place where people can expect to be given a chance, where
they are given the benefit of the doubt when they come under suspicion, and a
second chance after a fall...so, when it comes to people, have great
expectations; it will be good for your soul, and it may touch theirs.”