“We believe kindness cannot sit down simply because anger has stood up.” Penzeys*
So fellow travelers, recent dialogues on various social media forums has given rise to much conflict. There’s been some collateral damage, fractured relationships and unraveling of connections. Yet within my own circle of close friends and family, we seem to have weathered the storm of uncertain times. I’ve been pondering why.
And then someone left a comment on a post I shared which contained an article about a respected civil rights leader being discounted and belitted by another elected official. Up to that point I had considered it an act of kindness to quietly remove negative, ill-informed comments, which have thankfully been rare on most of my forums. To date, I simply removed those comments without responding, although it often left me wondering if people fully grasped what their negative comments reflected about them. I try to be mindful of “casting the first stone,” we all have our flaws.
Love is always there, sometimes we have to look closely.
It was not the negative tone of the comment which coalesced my thoughts. It was the willingness to post without regard for the truthfulness of their comment. Worse yet it came from someone I respected, someone I thought would know enough to vet their information more thoroughly rather than simply pass along an inaccurate “headline.”
I’m not against engaging in a thoughtful exchange of opposing ideas when the content is accurate and free from personal attack towards me, other individuals or groups of fellow humans. I feel it is important to note my circle does encompass a fairly broad range of ideological stances. I firmly believe understanding different perspectives is essential in embracing the wonderful diversity of human society.
How boring our world would be if we were all the same. Wall collage, Portland Oregon
I was the subject of a fair amount of bullying as a “half-breed” kid in a very white neighborhood. I may have forgiven but rest assured I never forgotten the sting of those taunts. Now, as a mixed race, internationally educated woman who works with special needs students I strive for acceptance and tolerance. I do my best to keep a positive focus in what I publish here. I’m not trying to minimize the issues, indeed its quite the opposite. In truth I feel there’s enough negativity to fill the Grand Canyon out there. My feeling is “Let’s not add to it here.”
I said the same on my Facebook page, which I also try to keep focused on positive perspectives and action with a healthy dash of irreverent humor. Heaven knows if we can’t laugh at ourselves from time to time we truly have lost our way.
So I felt the time had come to post some clearly defined boundaries on my page. I am deeply grateful the majority of friends in my social media circles don’t need those reminders. I asked simply for comments to be respectful, accurate and kind. If it’s not something one would say face to face to someone else, then it is not welcome on my feed.
Kindness matters, to me, to our society, to our world. Going forward I hope to see it expand and shine hope into an increasingly uncertain future.
Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.
*The opening quote came from a post on Penzeys Spices web page. The post goes on to say “It’s simply not enough to point and say “Can’t you see what they’re doing here?” In the long run you have to offer people a better vision of the future, a vision they want more. ” and they walk their talk. I’m glad I found them.