The point of the “Good for the Soul” blog is to invite people to submit posts that seek to improve lives – emotionally, spiritually, educationally. As one of its administrators, I try to make a point of not contributing frequently because this blog site is about community, not my personal playground.
But after a particularly disturbing week of national and local headlines, I’m making an exception and am copying a post from my personal blog, urging all of us to choose our words more wisely, stop pointing fingers at one another, and start offering solutions (not criticism). The following originally appeared July 10, 2016 in the blog #Significance.
I’ll just be honest. I didn’t really want to write anything for #significance this week. With all of the stuff in the news, fights over social media, protests, murder, violence and politics that went on this week, I’ve had moments of thinking, “Why bother?”
Then I read a few more things – both good and bad. Some things I knew to be true, some I knew to be false. One in particular I personally knew not to be true, but the person expressing the thoughts truly believed it was.
That was the moment of clarity. Words do matter.
Particularly given the reach of social media, we are inundated with more words every day than anyone could have ever imagined just a few years ago. That’s not a bad thing. We just need to choose the words we believe with a little more diligence. And we need to choose the words we use with a LOT more care.
The words “homo sapien” and “homogenous” are not synonymous. True, we all have human genes and DNA that, at the end of the day, are not all that dissimilar. We have features that are not all that dissimilar – like eyes, ears, limbs, teeth and noses.
But we are not the same. And thank God for that! We are NOT the same. How boring would life be if we were?
Would you go to a party if everyone was the life of the party? How about if everyone was the wallflower? What if everyone was the host and each host made the exact same dish, from the exact same recipe, using the exact same ingredients, yielding the exact same result?
What if there was only one style of music and every band was made up of musicians, vocalists and songwriters who looked and sounded exactly alike and didn’t deviate from one another?
What if we only had one kind of flower and it only came in one size, color and season?
We accept diversity in every form of nature and interest as something good, fascinating, satisfying or entertaining every single day. Why can’t we simply apply that to one another in general – on a human level?
We have certain laws of nature to which we must or need to abide. We have man-made laws to which we must or should abide.
Beyond that we only have ourselves and each other. We can govern our behavior in a way that celebrates our differences, or we can continue to build moment on our respective paths that say, “I’m right. You’re wrong. That makes you an idiot. I’m this color. You’re not. That makes you hateful. I’m affiliated with this party. You’re not. That makes you an even bigger idiot.”
In business and in life, a very big pet peeve of mine is anyone who is critical of others, but brings no solution to the table. Or worse, brings theirs and only their solution to the table, then expects everyone else to carry out their design.
When we stop complaining, stop pointing fingers, and start looking for solutions together, with an understanding that no one gets everything they want, and none of us are getting out of this life alive…so let’s make it the best we can for everyone…that will be #significance.
Let’s start with words.
P.S. The song “Ain’t No Man” from the band The Avett Brothers sums it up better than I ever could.
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