As a teenager, George Washington copied a set of rules for civil behavior, and the 110 principles became his guide to treating people with respect and dignity.
That was then—when women curtsied and men doffed their hats—and this is now—when cell phones jingle and holiday shoppers jangle each other in checkout lines.
Times may have changed, but civil behavior is not passé, thanks to the UVA Civility Project. Members are compiling their own list of 110 rules based on suggestions from students, faculty, alumni, staff and others in the University community and beyond.
“I believe social behavior has deviated too far from a basic level of general respect for others, and I hope this project will give voice to those with similar concerns,” says Erica Mitchell, a fourth-year history major who is the project’s student leader.
The effort’s formal title is “The Civility Project: Where George Washington Meets the 21st Century.” But what if Washington time-traveled to our modern era? How would his rules—and the principles behind them—fare in the age of tweeting, texting and blogging? How would the new civility rules match up with those of centuries ago?
Check out our video for a humorous look at how the Father of our Country exemplifies civility during the holiday season at Mr. Jefferson’s University.