I’ve been wondering lately, whatever happened to respect and civility in our society?
I was taught common courtesy, to say please and thank you and to treat others with kindness and respect, even when I didn’t see eye to eye with them. I haven’t always been successful, especially when I was younger, but I’ve certainly tried and still do.
Nowadays, so many people – from millennials to baby boomers – are filled with spit and vitriol over just about anything.
Take Facebook or Twitter, for example. Both were originally intended to draw people together, to create community. Unfortunately, just the opposite has happened in recent years.
I’m seeing so many family relationships and longtime friendships ruined over political differences, religious beliefs, even social norms. It’s not that I’m naïve. I know tensions have risen to a feverish pitch over serious issues like the upcoming presidential election, COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter and All Lives Matter.
For Pete’s sake, people, for your peace of mind, health and sanity, if you don’t like what someone posts, respond if you must, but do so respectfully, or detach and move on.
Our choice of words and the way in which we use them mean everything. Hate begets hate. Sarcasm begets sarcasm. Attack begets attack.
I have family members, friends and acquaintances whose beliefs and subsequent behaviors contrast dramatically from my own. Nevertheless, we can discuss our views without showing contempt or derision. As my friend, Dee Williams, said, “We should be able to disagree agreeably.”
Words seldom sway another’s beliefs. What does is setting a consistent example. If we all show common courtesy and kindness, more often than not that’s what we get back.
There are those who will never change, even if it’s in their own best interests to do so. We can all agree on that. So why waste precious time and energy arguing with closed minds? Why argue in the first place?
I’m not saying we shouldn’t speak our truths. What matters is how we say them or act out of ego to defend them.
We don’t need to be rude, mocking or sarcastic to someone, even if that person is. Those kinds of behaviors spread like wildfire, especially on any form of social media. And they’re certainly no way to effectively communicate.
My mother used to tell me, “You get more bees with honey than vinegar.”
Those words could not be truer.
So if you can’t say anything good, folks, just put a lid on it, and don’t say nothing at all.
Lois Kindle is a freelance writer and columnist for The Observer News. Views are not necessarily shared by The Observer News. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.