I was at a lacrosse game at the Windham High School recently and experienced the importance of civil responsibility when the referees stopped the game because the national anthem was being played at a nearby field where the American flag was visibly flying. The referee blew his whistle and the crowd heard the anthem playing, turned toward the flag and quieted. 

Civil responsibility includes how to interact with each other in our society and needs to be taught from early childhood to ensure a civil society and nation. We teach our children the importance of being civil when we teach them about manners. Just like we teach them to say “thank you” and “you’re welcome,” we need to teach them what to do – such as being quiet and looking at our American flag – when the national anthem is played because it is just good manners to be respectful to the citizens of the United States of America.  

Having good manners and respect for others promotes inclusion and unity. It expands the understanding that not only are we all a part of something with other individuals like a family, a religion, a neighborhood, a school, a team, a state, but a nation.  Our nation has a complicated imperfect history, like all nations of the world, and has achieved greatness in many ways. We should teach them what those ways are. They should know that we can be proud of who we are and that we can participate in making changes if we choose.  We need to acknowledge our responsibility to maintain civility to ourselves, our families and our nation so we will ensure our collective capability to be all that we want to be now and for generations to come.

Susan Gleason