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The Civil Gentleman
Discussion on Ethics
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Pledge Inspiration Partners

A pledge is a declaration of good intentions; a commitment to follow the straight and narrow path of righteousness; an exposition of high values and virtues; a recognition of things worthy of upholding or deserving of rejection.

If made in earnest, a pledge can strengthen the moral fiber of an individual; enhance the vision of one's conscience; provide a new day of hope for the disillusioned; define a turn of forgiveness or repentance.

There are many inspiring pledges found in literature, some by notable persons, others by common folk who feel a need to express a moment of vision or a turning point in their lives.  The web is a convenient place to browse a number of pledges composed by many individuals, some very artfully made.

If you enjoyed reading The Civil Gentleman pledges, you will likely appreciate sharing other pledges on the web as well.  You may also be inspired to compose a pledge or two of your own and share them with us, your family and friends, or other folks on the web, as well.  You can send us your pledges by e-mail at the address indicated below.

Pledges can also be shared in small groups in a manner similar to poetry readings.  Think of a tea party where everybody brings a pledge or two that they discovered in literature or on the web, or that they composed themselves.  By bringing enough copies for everyone in attendance, each partner will be able to collect a notebook of these inspiring messages which may later be shared with other friends or family members, as well.

Pledge readings, like poetry readings, can also be a basis for discussing the meaning of the pledges and possibly common concerns for issues identified (or ignored) by the pledges.  If the pledges are many, such as those of The Civil Gentleman, they can be read by several partners and divided over a series of gatherings.

Everyone who participates in a pledge reading or pledge and tea party is a partner, a Pledge Inspiration Partner.  This is not an organization or an affiliation of any kind, but only a descriptive name to help identify the main intent of the gathering, especially when new friends are invited.  Anyone who sends us his or her own pledges by e-mail is also dubbed a Pledge Inspiration Partner.

Sharing pledges in small gatherings is also a good way to cross over cultural bridges related to different ethnicities, religions, age groups and genders.  By mixing up the partners in your group to intentionally open the circle as much as possible, you will learn more about the common values and special perspectives of each person and group.

Because the ethical issues identified by pledges can often lead to extended debate and education from different perspectives, there should be an agreement at the onset of an ending time for each session.  Discussing differences on issues should be encouraged and all partners should be content to agree to disagree. 

Depending on the content of the pledges, there may be more sincere discussion by separating genders or other groupings for part of the session.  For example, many of The Civil Gentleman pledges may be discussed more openly by a group of men who are being challenged by the pledges to treat women in a more civil manner.  After separate discussions, further communication across groupings may help to build a better understanding of different perspectives.

By rotating the pledge and tea parties to different hosts for each gathering, everyone will be an equal partner.  Each partner should also feel free to bring whatever pledge he or she wishes to share.  The group may also opt to focus on a particular theme for an upcoming gathering.  For example, themes could focus on parenting, marriage, business, substance abuse, patriotism, world peace, healthy living and many other topics.

Sharing pledges in this way does not obligate any of the partners to commit to any of the pledges that are presented.  When discussing a pledge that may require specific disciplines, partners may also wish to discuss whether they think the disciplines are worthwhile, practical, unrealistic, too idealistic, or possibly too general for effective direction or accountability.  Being critical and sincere in your discussion is a way to properly respect the importance of the subject at hand. 

The partner presenting a pledge should be prepared to advocate its merits and value.  If a problem is revealed that is not well known, the presenter should be armed with some educational information, as well, including perhaps some timely literature that could be distributed to all the partners.  A good discussion is a stepping stone for intellectual growth and the reinforcement of important values.

Preparing for a pledge reading or pledge and tea party requires a little bit of research or creative effort to compose a new pledge of your own.  The frequency of each gathering should therefore be planned with ample time, most likely on a monthly schedule.  If your group includes a diversity of cultural and religious backgrounds, it may be  helpful to look for pledges with broad cross-cultural relevance to share with your partners.  When composing your new pledges, you may likewise challenge yourself to identify common motives or values that other partners may appreciate.

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People who already participate in tea parties may do a show-and-tell to see if their friends are interested in pledge reading activities.  Just print this page or The Civil Gentleman page in sufficient quantities for your group and see what kind of reaction is generated.  Other groups who meet to discuss issues of peace or other ethical issues, such as civil rights, women's rights, men's rights, etc., may also do the same.  The Civil Gentleman article is also available in pamphlet format which provides a more comfortable reading experience.

If you would like to share your own experiences or ideas regarding pledge readings or pledge and tea parties, please feel free to do so.  You can e-mail us at info[AT]2givenow.org.  In the end, it's all about partnering for enduring peace, better health and a kinder way of living.

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