Over the last few days, Kevin and I spent some time with a few of our young grandchildren. There is nothing like conversing with a child to bring about a serious reality check. In one moment they can have you laughing and in the next moment test the reservoirs of your greatest patience. If you take time to talk to them about their thoughts and feelings you can see a fresh perspective, in fact... a whole new world.
After an excursion to an area children's museum, I asked our seven-year-old Hadley Kristine what she wanted to be when she grew up. The first of many careers she listed was President of the United States. (In fact she asked her Dad what she needed to do to start preparing now to be President.)
"Why do you want to be President, Hadley?" I asked.
"So I can make the rules."
"What rules would you make?"
"Number One..." she said emphatically. "Everyone will be nice to everyone else. No hurting!"
"Rule Number Two... No kidnapping! No baby-napping, no mom or dad napping, no grandpa or grandma napping!
(I couldn't resist mentioning we might all be a little sleepy without naps.)
"Rule Number Three... Everyone will talk nice to everyone else! No bullies!"
She listed a few other rules before she ran off to play. I didn't have the heart to tell her that just because there are rules doesn't mean people actually keep them. Somehow in her mind and in her inborn sense of justice she seemed convinced that if a President made good rules then everyone, including the President, would keep them...
I have thought a lot about Rule #3... Everyone will talk nice to everyone else.
Modern technology has given us new ways to communicate. Technology has even began to replace effective communication. Sadly, we have forgotten the rules we learned sometime way back in kindergarten. Often our manners and our sense of what is appropriate have been left by the wayside.
It has been a long time since I heard much about being polite, tactful, sensitive and kind. Our entertainment, news and social media is loaded with daily examples of rudeness, crudeness, blatant honesty, criticism and lack of self control. Why should we expect everyday life to be any different without a powerful personal sense of need to rise above it.
Whatever happened to the old saying? "If you haven't got something nice to say, don't say anything at all." Or, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
My Father often used a quote from Dale Carnagie, "If you want to gather the honey, don't kick over the beehive."
Here are a few of my rules. School of hard knocks has helped me try hard to keep them.
1. Don't email, text, or write anything to anyone that you wouldn't say to them face to face.
2. Don't email, text or write sensitive personal information you wouldn't want everyone to read.
3. Don't monopolize conversations. Listen and ask questions more than you talk. Don't leave people out of group conversations.
4. Don't gossip.
5. As you talk on the phone remember that others, especially children and teens are not wall-hangings.
Wouldn't it be great if we could expect a few of these things from those we choose to be our government leaders. I hope someday, when Hadley is grown-up she still has the desire to help the world make some changes... even as President :)