Monday, June 22, 2015

Never Miss a Good Chance

In my humble opinion, which is worth less than nothing, it is always wise to find out the facts prior to submitting opinions. That is, if your opinion is even necessary at all. 

Between politics, water-cooler conversations, and basic family drama, I think it is safe to say that no opinion, verbally or written, is safe.  Treading lightly is generally a good idea because there is always gonna be someone who does not share your particular viewpoint. In fact, I submit to you, that as many people are in a conversation, there will be no less than that many points of view.  Seriously, I have witnessed some of my "distant" relatives change their opinion 3-4 times in one conversation. That really ups the drama!

Sometimes, and I am pointing to myself as I write this, it is just better to minimize the sharing. Swapping stories and sharing soda are good times. An all-out argument over the color of a dress on the internet, well, not so much. I enjoy a good Dr. Phil smart-ism and this, one of my favorites, I offer up for just these types of situations:  Never miss a good chance to shut up!

I admit it sounds brash, and even smart-alecky, but it always makes me laugh too. It tells a necessary truth in a creative, shocking, shotgun manner.

We were never allowed to let "shut up" pass our lips in first grade.  My first grade teacher, Mrs. Lifsey, a grandmotherly-type, never allowed it. She taught reading from her green rocking chair and taught us to recite the entire Psalm 100. Along with the Pledge of Allegiance, back in the day when a teacher could do such a thing, we alternated each day reciting one or the other.  She was a genteel, southern, lady and very sure of her convictions, so it just seemed appropriate to follow her lead. Her preferred phrase was "please be quiet," which I still use to this day. I know it doesn't have quite the same punch when being called out in a kickball game on the playground, usually in front of God and everybody. However, it certainly makes the same point. I was never was one for manners during a kickball game, but we made Mrs. Lifsey proud. 

We all struggle with the need to be heard and to feel important.  There is nothing better to make someone feel valued than to listen without distraction and show that you really heard the words.  I admit being quiet is not one of my strong suits....not even close. The few times I can remember trying the practice of being quiet, I actually experienced a feeling of more control. I didn't put my foot in my mouth and I didn't cause hurt feelings. I kept an important relationship that I valued.  It worked out better all around!

I also know that when I am personally having a difficult time in life, how much I need a listener rather than a judge and jury.  When folks are hurting, generally speaking, they need a cheerleader....a hero.

Suggestion for improved relationships?  

Put away judgment and wrath and hold others up who may be struggling. You can know the ones who are struggling because they are breathing. Be safe, not sorry, and assume that everyone is struggling, because most people are carrying some sort of burden.

And if it's not necessary, kind, thoughtful, helpful, or true.....then don't miss your chance.  In the words of Mrs. Lifsey:  Please be quiet.