Archive for category Authors

Smile – Speak – Respect

According to the CDC I am no longer a senior citizen. I am an elder. Likewise I am no longer a father I am a parent. The CDC should know that I am proud of being Suzanne’s and Michael’s father. The CDC is correct in emphasizing how we talk to and about each other. A critical article about this report was reprinted from WashingtonExaminer.com by The Week Magazine in its September 10/September17, 2021 issue. The article by Tiana Lowe is wrong headed.

In his sermon at the French Huguenot Church in Charleston on September 5, 2021, The Rev. Phil Bryant emphasized the power of words. “Words can hurt. Words can heal. Words can challenge. Words can direct what we do. In all the ways we interact with one another, our words are the most powerful. Words can kill.”

In support of the last statement, Bryant quotes Chaplain David Sparks at Dover Air Force Base, who has comforted so many families over the past 20 years, because a family member has sacrificed her or his life after the 9/11 attack. “I am aware — this is very spiritual — I am aware that there are — there have been multiple times when I did not have the preparation for a particular moment when words came up out of me that were not my own. And I said them. And once in a while, it was — for the first time — I heard it the first time when it came around in my own ear. And where in the world did that come from? And those are very holy moments for me.”

Every report states that our culture has become meaner, Part of the blame for this regression is rooted in how we talk to and about each other. Because I disagree with you does not mean that I hate you or think that you are a lesser person. It simply means that you and I see an issue differently. I love my sister and she would walk through hot coals barefoot for me, but we have different ideas about politics, church music and biscuits.  We grew up together with the same parents, but we look at the world differently.

I do not know why we have grown meaner as a culture; however, I do know how to lessen the impact of the meanness. Smile at the people you meet. Say something nice to each person. Treat each person you meet with respect. That’s it. Try it for yourself.

  1. Smile at each person you meet.
  2. Say something nice to each person you meet.
  3. Show respect for each person you meet.

Tags: , , ,

How Simple Acts Can Counter Meanness

by Mitch Carnell | Aug 30, 2021 | Feature-, Opinion -www.goodfaithmedia.org

“Hurry up,” an agitated man in the cafeteria checkout line kept mumbling.
My friend Bob, a very gentle soul, turned to him and said, “Take it easy. You’ll live longer.”
I thought they were friends and that this was friendly banter. Instead, the man followed him into the parking lot and wanted to fight.
“Why have we become so mean?” I wondered.
This topic is discussed frequently in the mainstream media and on social media. Numerous reasons are put forward.
Take your pick on the causes: the pandemic, wearing a mask, isolation, loss of paychecks, loss of identity, loss of control, conspiracy theories, the list could go on.
I readily admit that I do not know precisely what is contributing to this mean behavior; however, I do know how to lessen the severity of the problem and return us to our more genial demeanor.
The solution is simple, and everyone can participate.
Smile at people and speak to them in a friendly manner. If you are not ready to practice both, then just smile at those you meet.
My late wife suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. She no longer could speak, but her smile was enough to carry me through the darkest day.
Yes, I missed her cheerful words, but her smile lit my world. It drove the dark clouds away and put me in a much better place.
Try it. You have nothing to lose. A smile has wonderful powers. It can drive the blues away and sweeten the sourest disposition.
When you are ready, take the next step. Add a simple greeting. “Hello. I’m glad to see you,” or “How have you been?” or, “Hi, my name is…”
When I was the CEO of a non-profit agency, the president of the board of directors endeared himself to everyone. He never made you fumble for his name. “Hello, I’m John Smith,” he greeted you with an outstretched hand and a smile.
In many Christian churches, the service includes passing the peace. Other congregations practice extending the right hand of fellowship.
Both practices are rooted in Scripture. Both convey a message of peace and welcome. A handshake carries the same message.
The Say Something Nice Day (June 1) and Say Something Nice Sunday (the first Sunday in June) movements share the same motives to break down barriers and create a friendlier environment.
I like to speak to everyone I encounter. My children, when they became teenagers, were embarrassed by my behavior. They chastised me, “Daddy, do you know that person? Then, why did you speak to them?”
My answer, “Why not? Why not acknowledge another human being?”
Every person we meet is struggling with something. We do not know the anguish of the people we pass.
Some are suffering from deep wounds or are enduring hurts from long ago. Some have just lost a job or a spouse.
The simple action of a smile or greeting can change their day. As my mother often said, “Son, be nice.”
It is within our power to change things one interaction at a time. We can behave in such a way that others want to be around us.
No sermon is required. Our behavior is sermon enough.
We may not always know the right words to say or be in the mood to speak to others. If this is the case, just smile.
There may be a few who will ignore or ridicule you but smile anyway.

Tags: , , ,

It’s Not a Good Trade

When I was a young boy, we traveled more than a 100 miles in an un-air-conditioned car in the South Carolina summer heat to visit my widowed grandmother. Instead of the expected words of welcome she said, “Be quiet. ‘The Guiding Light,’ is on.” She traded time with her daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren for an imaginary family.

My daughter from out-of-state is here this week to celebrate her birthday. We will celebrate at dinner with her brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew. We postponed the celebration a day so that her nephew could be present. I am grateful for this opportunity to be together. Who is missing? Her mother, who is with her ancestors, but very much in our hearts.

The moral of this story. Don’t squander the time you have with family and friends by being on your cell phone or scrolling through Facebook. The incident with my grandmother occurred decades ago. I remember it as though it happened this morning. We may think that we have all the time in the world. We don’t. We have this moment. It will not come again.

I am not being morbid. I am offering a simple statement of fact. Do not swap what you have for an episode of, ‘The Guiding Light.’

Tags: , , ,

365 Days of Grief and Love by Vickie Guerry

Tom Guerry and Mitch Carnell at French Huguenot ChurchTom Guerry was a close friend. He was one of the three ministers who took part in marrying Carol and me. He was a vital part of the Monday Lunch Bunch until he could not be. Vickie, Tom’s wife, is a very good friend. We worked together for more than 20 years. I have known, Ben, their son since before he was born.

All this to tell you that I am not impartial. These are my friends, but that did not keep me from telling everyone that Vickie has written an honest, helpful book. This is my review on www.amazon.com. The picture is of Tom and me at the French Huguenot Church.

A Friend for the Journey

My wonderful wife has been gone almost three years now and yet I find Vickie Guerry’s book to be honest, painful and helpful. So many writers are timid about laying out the truth of a senseless journey that no one should have to travel. Guerry chronicles each of the first 365 days of the grief she experienced at losing her husband. You can feel her anguish rise from the pages, but you also feel the deep love that these two shared.  Although writing the book is her way of coping with her loss, she does it in such a way that is helpful. There are no solutions here, but with this book you have a friend who walks the journey with you.