Have you ever found yourself talking to the television during a reality TV show? Perhaps you are watching Survivor, and you cannot understand why the team doesn’t see this one certain person as the manipulative and dishonest person that s/he embodies. Or, perhaps you are watching Big Brother, while someone is talking about their personal plan in the diary room. You wonder how this person can get away with what seems to be such an obvious plan. How do the others in the house not see it?
Yes, when you are removed from a situation, it is easy to see the whole picture. So we think. When it comes to unkindness, I believe we are like the casts of reality TV shows. We are so involved with getting around in life, we fail to see the most obvious things.
I have ‘bully’ on the brain. Though the word ‘bully’ is starting to irritate me. And, I fear the word ‘bully’ may become overused, which may desensitize folks about this real issue. Plus, I don’t think the word ‘bully’ encompasses enough. When I think of bully – I think of one person. Whereas, a word like ‘browbeating’ covers greater territory, in my opinion. And, during this campaign season in the good ol’ US of A, browbeating is commonplace. Regardless of your party, regardless of your interest, browbeating runs rampant throughout politics and throughout your home life.
Where does the browbeating start? Bad things happen all over the place. Situations as big as suspicious packages on board cargo planes intent to do harm or situations as small as a preschool child calling another preschooler ‘stupid’. Now, you may say my examples are on two opposite sides of the spectrum. And, I don’t disagree. However, mean is mean – and bad is bad. The only difference is the number of casualties. And, if children are speaking ugly to other children, each child has the potential to become a casualty through the browbeating. A kid, once optimistic and happy, could become bitter and pessimistic because s/he was the receiver of browbeating. Going back to political campaigns, negative ads are not composed from a happy and kind place. Again I ask, where does this – for lack of a better word – crap start?
As I have mentioned, it is election time. (At least, it is election time here in the United States.) Hate speech and negative ad campaigns have been spewing freely for weeks … for months. Negative ad campaigns fill the radio and air waves. And though we may express frustration with the use of negative ad campaigns, we are quick to promote the discretion of our candidate’s opponent, somehow thinking it is okay to promote the negative, as long as it isn’t about your candidate.
How can we, as humans, expect our kids to grow up nice, when we continue the cycle of negativity and hate? We want our politicians to play nice – yet we buy into and help spread their negative. Negativity and browbeating are seeds that grow into ugly trees. And, these trees spread, creating one ugly forest.
Yes, we live in a world of differences, and we live in a world of right and wrong. But honestly – can we not agree to disagree? Can we not learn to compromise, just as we try to encourage our children to compromise?
You have strong political views. You have strong religious views. You have strong views about not being political or not being religious. Great! Sit down. Let’s talk. And, when it comes to making policies, let’s work to find middle ground. There is always middle ground. Always. And, we don’t have to be mean. The browbeating can stop. For some, being nice is harder than being mean. For some, smiling is harder than frowning. Fine. Work at it. Say something nice to someone different each and every day. You can do it. And you can disagree without being nasty. Really, you can. And, you should. Look behind you – your kids are watching you and taking notes. And yes, that is where it starts.