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According to Merriam-Webster.com, to “yell” is to “1) utter a loud cry, scream, or shout; 2) to give a cheer, usually in unison.”

Tonight I’m ready to yell, “All right, already — enough is enough!” Our country is suffering from too much blaming, complaining, buck-passing, excuse-making, race-baiting, and making assumptions. I think most of us would agree that we can’t legislate morality any more than we can force people to be nice to each other. And grand, sweeping rhetoric will not solve our country’s problems.

But each one of us can start a groundswell of civility by simply being nice to the people we encounter every day. Try smiling instead of snarling. Instead of flipping off the driver who cuts in front of you in traffic, respond with the shaka or “hang loose” gesture of openness and good will. Don’t just complain that your neighbor’s yard isn’t as neat as you might like; help that same neighbor take the trash cans out of the street on trash day. Start small.

Start at home, with your dearest family. Insist that your children speak kindly to each other and do the same with them. Don’t give them space to quarrel with each other…siblings should be important to each other, and be respectful. Teach them to share. At our home we have what we call the “parent tax”. If, for example, we buy a child a candy bar, we can claim a (small) first bite…it is the “tax” for providing the treat, and done in good fun.

If we each start by caring for our own household, then reach out to our neighbors, we really can make a positive impact on our world. Like ripples from a pebble tossed into the pond, our influence will extend father than we can imagine.

Where will you begin?

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