A Say Something Nice Reminder

I was reminded today of how important our Say Something Movement has become in ways that I could not have imagined or anticipated. A member of a different faith group often wears her Say Something Nice button pined to her sleeve when she is feeling down or is facing a difficult situation. She says that the button often opens a conversation with others and that the other person inquires as to how she or he can participate.

She explains that all that is required is to say something nice, upbeat or encouraging to whomever she/he is speaking with or simply to not say anything negative about another person or religious group. Her affirmation is certainly a boost to me. Our national demeanor has become so much more hostile and abrasive than when we started the movement seventeen years ago.

Far too much of bad behavior is blamed on the pandemic. The pandemic has given people the cover they need to be rude and to say things that tend to ignite the rage in others. The art of politeness is given very little attention. We have forgotten that it is possible for us to disagree with each other without becoming angry. If your idea is better than my idea I want to hear it, but that entails my listening to you. Listening is by far the most important communication skill. Unfortunately it is also the least taught of those skills.

There is a wonderful story recorded in the Gospel of John. (18:38 NIV) When Jesus is on trial before Pontius Pilot, Pilot asks Jesus ,”What is truth?” Before Jesus can answer, Pilot walks out of the room onto the terrace. He does not want to hear the answer. Many of us are afflicted by the Pontius Pilot Listening Syndrome. We don’t want to hear the truth.

I usually start wearing my Say Something Nice button near the actual date of celebration on June first every year, but thanks to my friend I am going to begin wearing it year round.

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