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"Civility: Dead or Alive"

Joined: 12/10/2013
Posts: 3
Energy, invincibility, and the spirit of adventure are descriptive words that one visualizes of college graduates. It is exciting to be a 61 year old college graduate with the energy, renewed sense of invincibility that interconnects with the spirit of adventure. It has been an eye opening journey having been exposed to the social media, diverse technology, and critical thinking or lack of.

The stability of society is based on shared core values. We baby-boomers had the benefits of these core values that were taught in the home, church, and school. Giving us our learning years to practice our social skills like manners, courtesy, respect, and civility to each other. Today home, church and school have been replaced with technology, peers, and social media influences.

The interactions between not only fellow classmates, but the professors leave a lingering question; where has civility gone? Being a non-traditional student having the benefit of building a firm foundation taught in the home, church and school, it did not take long to identify serious deficits in core values and etiquette when discussions were mandatory with emotionally charged social topics.

The most compelling experience was in the important class on the Constitution worth nine credits; very substantial grade that could change a serious student's GPA. The Professor of Law, who held the iron hand of grades, left great concern about his lack of etiquette, courtesy, respect, and civility to his students. Based on his own rhetoric, it was obvious he did not have the benefit of learning core values from home or the church front along with lacking the skill to separate professional judgments from personal bias.

This Professor openly admitted and displayed his prejudice of Native Americans and fat people. He selected specific emotionally charged topics that wielded intense emotional classroom discussions demonstrating the lack of respect and common courtesy among many of the students. This Professor then verified his lack of etiquette by assigning the very students he proclaimed prejudice against, the task of a five minute speech, a key part of the grade, on the cons of gay marriage over less emotionally charged topics. This would not have been a major challenge had he not been gay himself leaving students in a catch 22.

Such is the culture today, there are epidemic levels that lack the human elements from early development through adulthood. The general populace is saturated with robotic mindsets, indifference to other human beings, motivated by the gusto of the moment while creating a society that is groomed for abuse by those driven for power, money, and/or sex.

The final analysis, education is a vital factor in gaining knowledge that allows us to engage in critical thinking; which is essential to create order, stability and yield productive members of any culture. When this is out of balance with such behaviors as lack of respect, manners, common courtesies, and etiquette, the natural consequences will be change, for better or worse, in order to recapture balance.
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Comment by warren

Joined: 6/22/2011
Posts: 293
Congratulations on your graduation! A wonderful achievement at any age. It sounds as if you had quite an education. Though I've been away from academia for many years, I always found the level of civility varied with the individual, whether student, staff or faculty member, and to a lesser extent the institution. Out of curiosity, I queried a former colleague who hasn't yet retired from teaching. He judged that it hasn't changed that much. I hope you have a better experience when you go for your graduate degree!
Posted: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 3:16:56 PM
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Comment by thiegsr

Joined: 11/6/2008
Posts: 702
On behalf of the entire editorial board, I would like to congratulate you on being selected as the adult winner of the December / Civility writing contest. This is a huge honor and you should celebrate your accomplishment.

We will be notifying you via your email registration with more information.

Thanks for adding your voice to our mission “Changing the World, One Story at a Time”

Rebecca Thiegs Co-Founder and Education Consultant
Posted: Tuesday, January 7, 2014 4:10:43 PM
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Baby Boomers (and older!) blog on StageofLife.comAbout Us is a blogging community for "Empty Nesters" and those in (or near) retirement to share stories about the adventure of life in an online journal via their free Stage of Life account.  Read the blogs and stories from Baby Boomers (and older), or check out the writing contest for Baby Boomers, quotes about retirement, etiquette advice, videos about retirement, discounts for retirement, and other resources for those in the Empty Nest and Retirement stage of life.  Register to start your free profile, share an essay about your life experiences, and pass along your wisdom to help us change the world, one story at a time.  If you are a college professor, teacher or educator - review our literacy, blogging and writing resources.

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From 2010 to 2016, ran a monthly, multi-generational writing contest.  With over 3,000,000 visitors and tens of thousands of participating students, teachers, parents, and bloggers involved over half a decade, grew into the world's largest multi-generational writing community. writing contestsWhere is the Writing Contest Now?  As grew into a global writing destination, the coordination of managing an international writing contest became too time intensive for the website's owners.  So starting on Sept. 4, 2016, unfortunately had to end the writing contest portion of its services. 

However, we are now actively looking for new owners of who may want to carry on the mission of helping to change the world, one story at a time.  If you know someone who may be interested in taking to the next level, we can share details around the opportunity.  Please send an email to our owners if there's interest to acquire the website.

But in the meantime, there's still plenty to see and do here - just check out the various links and menus on the page.

Past Annual Writing Contest Results:  While the energy and time to carry on the writing contest has come to a close, you can see summary reports and the winners from the monthly contests on our Writing Contest Winners page.  Tens of thousands of people have submitted essays over the last six years.  Our editorial team has been extremely grateful for all of the wonderful essays shared over the years - words and stories that have helped us change the world, one story at a time.

Sincerely, owners Eric & Rebecca Thiegs and Joe & Lisa Thiegs

Bragging rights, international recognition, and gift card prizes were part of the fun for participants of the free writing contests on

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Each month over half a decade, Stage of Life hosted and judged writing contests for both students and adults.  We thank the below brands - our educational sponsors - who supplied gift cards as prizes for the winning essays as we helped the change the world through blogging, storytelling, and our literacy-based initiatives...

 Writing contest sponsor  Writing contest sponsor on  Blogging contest prize sponsor Spa & Wellness gift cards by SpaWeek writing contestsWhat made our writing contests different?

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