A New Civility: Will our children lead the way?


 “We do big things,” Obama said in his State of the Union address. Whether a new civility in Congress will be one is yet to be seen. Today, let’s consider a true story of doing big things by three young children in New Jersey and their “live civilly” project. (The photo above is a generic photo illustration, but the children in today’s story are very much real.)

In spring 2009, three sisters in New Jersey—Anna (9), Grace (5), and Abigail Buss (2)—learned about hunger and homelessness and decided they should do something about it. The sisters conducted successful independent food drives and started fundraising as well. Together with their parents, they created the “live civilly” initiative. The “Little Man”—a drawing by Grace when she was just two—became their logo.

What does “live civilly” mean? To Anna, it’s “being a part of a community—something bigger than yourself.” Grace says it’s “helping people and doing good things.” For Abigail, the youngest, it’s “being good.” (Click here to read more about the origins and mission of “live civilly.”)

Kahra Buss, the girls’ mother, told me that the initiative “is more than just food pantries and feeding people. It is about working together as a group (as a school, as a community, as a state, as a nation) to create healthy individuals, healthy communities. It’s about creating a sense of pride and ownership. It is about education and improving the life skills necessary for individuals to grow to that next level. The only way to do that is to fulfill our duty as human beings and to look out for each other…to “live civilly.””

Now, that’s a big thing!

Will a new civility be our work?

Or the work of our children?

Please “Comment” below.

(Originally published at www.OurValues.org, an online experiment in civil dialogue on American values.)

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