Above / Since 1979, this stone marker along the DuPage River has been a constant reminder of “What We Need” in this imperfect world. The Naperville Riverwalk extends to this thoughtful message beyond the former Netzley House, now a welcoming visitor’s center for Moser Tower with the 72-bell Millennium Carillon. Find the stone for peaceful reflection just west of the footbridge that leads to Centennial Park. Share it with family and friends every season of the year. You might have to dust off the snow! (Photo updated Dec. 22, 2016)
Join a grassroots community movement to promote good-natured civility and kindness in Naperville…
Originally Posted in January 2011 – Reposted in June 2016 – ETC. / Updated link February 2019 /
For several years, a number of PN readers had pitched ideas to promote kindness and good manners. Several readers mentioned the “Random Acts of Kindness” campaigns as examples to emulate.
One reader returned from a trip to Minnesota where residents are considered “Minnesota Nice,” adhering to friendly, courteous and mild-mannered behavior. Searching online, we found Minnesota Nice was defined as “an aversion to confrontation, a tendency toward understatement, emotional restraint and a disinclination to make a fuss or stand out.”
Consider traffic behavior. When someone slows down to allow another driver to enter a lane in front of the other person, that’s “Minnesota Nice.”
Others have wondered if the fast pace of the new-age with so much to learn and communicate has been a distraction, eating up time while failing to teach the foundation of character education to our youth. Basic manners are missing.
Guess what? It’s nothing new.
110 Rules of Civility
Back in the 1700s when Founding Father George Washington was 14 years old, he focused on writing “110 Rules of Civility in Conversation Amongst Men,” influenced by even earlier writings from 1664.
For instance, Washington wrote, “Speak not when others speak, sit not when others stand, and walk not when others stop.”
If you search for “George Washington’s rules of civility” online, you’ll find many rules, though they may sound awkward, still apply to today.
A Slogan: Kindness in Naperville = KIN
While we were trying to come up with a slogan, we also tested some “nice” ideas in quasi focus groups.
One participant mentioned when she presented the idea of promoting “nice” to a board of directors on which she served, she practically was laughed out of the room.
Several men, almost in unison, replied, “Nice guys finish last.”
Still, we persisted in our pursuit. We came up with “Kindness in Naperville, a grassroots community movement to promote good-natured civility.”
We’ll call “Kindness in Naperville” KIN for short, mindful of family.
If folks want to mock us for trying and striving to be considerate, courteous, compassionate, caring, accepting, loving, forgiving, helpful, joyful, peaceful, faithful, patient, gentle, truthful, reasonable and self-controlled (hard as it can be for outspoken individuals who are mindful of unintended consequences), welcoming and independent; so be it.
Our aim is to be mindful of small sacrifices that everyone can embrace for the good of all and the sake of living together.
Call us Pollyannas. This country welcomes freedom of speech. Diversity and opinions absolutely are welcome.
As we strive to begin every year with more optimism and a stronger sense of humor than we began last year, we find ourselves reminiscing.
Our thoughts turn to a fortune cookie fortune we opened on New Year’s Eve more than 45 years ago at a then-new Szechuan restaurant in New York City:
‘Be kind whenever possible. It’s always possible.’
Whatever the circumstances, everyone can resolve to be kind even in the most spirited and/or disagreeable moments. Remember nobody’s perfect. Respect goes both ways.
We consider civility to mean well-mannered, the unenforced standards of conduct which demonstrate that an honest person is proper and polite instead of deliberately rude.
Sometimes unkindness is unintended and kindness is not easy.
Civility is far more than the spoken or written word. Civility implies practicing decent public behavior while dining out, opening doors, waiting, talking on the phone, texting, taking selfies, sending e-mails, driving, bicycling, walking, volunteering, etc.
For example, when you’re walking down the sidewalk four abreast and several folks are walking toward you, move to the right, single file, to allow both groups to pass. In fact, remind yourself whenever walking on the sidewalk and driving down the street, “This is America. Keep to the right.”
The KIN campaign officially was launched on January 1, 2011, with input from Bev Frier, Beverly Eigenberg and a number of members of the Rotary Club of Naperville/Downtown. Thanks for help spreading kind words. We welcome your help.
RELATED PN POST: KidsMatter: Your Digital Footprint Matters Summit / February 2019
Find peaceful reflection & kindness along the Riverwalk
Since 1979, a stone marker (see top of page) dedicated to Clyde “Budd” Netzley, Rufus Dirck Schumacher and Harry E. Ridley has been a place to pause and reflect about “What we need.”
After the Naperville Riverwalk began developing in 1981 as the city’s sesquicentennial gift to itself, the path eventually led to the location of the stone marker just west of the foot bridge across the DuPage River.
In light of current events and heightened awareness about depression and bullying in the schools as well as unsettled challenges in our world, perhaps all individuals could stop in their tracks, read the poem and consider spreading a message that a little more kindness is “What We Need.”
What We NeedA little more kindness and a little less creed, A little more giving and a little less greed, A little more smile and a little less frown, A little less kicking when a man is down, A little more “wee” and a little less “I.” A little more laugh and a little less cry, A little more flowers on the pathway of life, And fewer on graves at the end of life.
Remember kind words of Mother Teresa
UPDATE, Nov. 15, 2016 / On Sept. 4, 2016, news spread around the world that Mother Teresa, an Albanian Catholic nun who devoted her life to helping India’s poor, was declared a saint in a canonization Mass held by Pope Francis in the Vatican.
Previous Post of Mother Teresa quotes…
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”
“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”
“Peace begins with a smile… Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”