20 Feb For the love of all things holy…just STOP!
5 ways to stop society’s madness
Let’s face it. There are some gut-wrenching things going on in today’s world: school shootings, trafficking, sexual harassment, poverty, mental & physical illnesses, bullying, teen suicide. The list goes on and on.
While we can all admit these are bad things, we seem to have lost our way in determining how best to address them. As a society, we focus more on who is to blame than we do on figuring out the solution. We point fingers and publicly bash anyone whose opinion differs from ours, calling them things that would have gotten our mouths washed out with soap in our younger years.
We are the adults here. What example are we setting for our children on how to respectfully disagree? On how to resolve conflict? Just because others are spewing hatred and insulting anyone and everyone who doesn’t agree with them doesn’t mean we all have to follow suit.
Whether you support the President or not is irrelevant. Whether you believe in gun control or have a 100+ gun collection is not the issue. Whether you absolutely abhor PACs or stroke massive checks every year to support your favorite candidate is not what matters.
What matters is the kindness, respect, and behaviors we are modeling during the debates over these topics. Over the years, we have lost our kindness and compassion for others. Just yesterday, my 12-year old told me she wished she had lived in the 80’s, because everything sounded simpler then — no cell phones, no social media, no insane middle school curriculum…just the ability to be a kid! She loves to hear about my having to be home when the street lights came on, and that I would know where my friends were when I saw a pile of bikes outside someones’s house. She actually thinks it’s cool my parents we super strict and that they demanded respect (I do the same with my girls). I would have never talked to my parents the way some kids do today (I was far to scared of a “whoopin’” for that!).
The invent of the internet has created a wealth of opportunities for us all, and modern day advances have, no doubt, helped us become more aware of the world around us. Yet, with those advances, has also come a lack of respect. We now have a screen and a keyboard to hide behind, and a flood of information — some true, some not — filling our heads 24/7. It has allowed us to be mean to people, to put them down, and to disrespect them. It has created the opportunity for hate and disrespect to permeate our lives. There sure didn’t seem to be nearly as much of that when we were kids.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion – that is what makes this country great. Many have a tremendous reason for being mad, or feeling the way they do. I am simply advocating that we strive to educate and influence others with kindness and respect.
Here are a few tips:
Somewhere along the line, we decided that the best way to win an argument was to make the other person look bad. To trash them, to discredit them, and to make others feel as through they are absolute idiots for believing the person or the point they are trying to make.
Is this really the way you want to play? By putting down your opponent or anyone whose views differ from yours? To better encourage people to listen to your stance, and to be an influential person in their lives, speak rationally, and with clear, articulate points. No name calling, no bashing. If you want to be heard, focus on your point.
Listen and seek to understand
Be genuinely interested in what someone has to say, and what you can learn from them. What is their story? Why do they feel the way they do? Care enough to see both sides.
You don’t have to agree with their stance, but it sure will make it easier to engage in healthy dialogue when you give them the courtesy of listening.
Understand that you don’t have to agree with each other to be kind
Just like gender, racial, and ethnic diversity, diversity of thought is critically important.
A homogenous circle of friends sounds pretty boring to me, don’t ya think? You can and should have people in your life who believe differently than you. Who challenge you and cause you to think differently. My best friend and I don’t agree politically…my ex-husband and I have very different stances on gun control and on education, yet I still love them both. We have respect for one another, and are able to have mature, healthy dialogue around topics where we don’t see eye to eye. In the end, we usually respectfully disagree, and that’s okay.
Admit that your social media rant probably won’t change anyone’s opinion
I have hidden more of my friends’ posts in recent months than I care to admit. Not because I disagree with their stance (many of them are on the same sides as me), but rather because of the hatred they espouse. I have enough things in my life that stress my out, why let someone else’s rant add to that?
Sharing information is good. Voicing your opinions, thoughts and concerns is great. Shouting hatred and belittling others in an attempt to make a point rarely has the outcome you desire. If you want to influence others….strive to educate.
Set better examples for our children
We often call the younger generation “entitled.” We complain that they lack respect. Yet, in our social media, 24/7 news coverage, reality t.v. world, this is all they are seeing. This “lack of respect” is the norm we have created for them. How can we expect them to act differently, when we, as adults, are doing the same thing? How can they grow to be kind, compassionate, change agents, when we aren’t modeling that behavior ourselves?
Be the change you wish to see. Be the example you want your children to follow. It all starts with us!
“The truest form of love is how you behave toward someone, not how you feel about them.”
I am not naive enough to think these five tips will singlehandedly change the world. We have big problems to solve and complicated issues to address. But you’ve gotta admit, it would be one hell of a start. Who’s in?