One of the most important rules in our family is pretty basic: use nice words.
When my oldest son was a toddler, it seemed as if “Use nice words” came out of my mouth every other sentence.
Whenever he demanded, instead of asked, for something, I replied with, “Use nice words.”
When he yelled at me because I couldn’t find a toy that he hadn’t played with in months, I reminded him to “Use nice words.”
When he screamed at his brother for messing up his Lego creation, I calmly asked him to, “Use nice words.”
Use nice words is a good rule and good reminder. It applies to a multitude of sins, but also specifically and positively redirects the misbehavior.
And over the years, I’ve been able to cut down on the times I have to say, “Use nice words” throughout the day. (Right now, the phrase has been replaced with, “We don’t throw things” thanks to little Hurricane Isaac.)
But lately, I feel like screaming USE NICE WORDS to a different audience. Instead of reminding my two little boys, I feel like I need to remind the adults I interact with on facebook.
It doesn’t seem like I should have to teach adults of the same rule I’ve been working hard to drill into my kids, but I guess I do. My facebook feed has been full of drama the past few days, which is my fault for sharing my opinions, I guess. But I’m more than a little frustrated by the disrespectful comments that have appeared in response.
Tuesday, I posted an article from my friend, Sara, titled, “Guess What? GMOs are SAFE!” and as I expected, it stirred up some controversy. The controversy is FINE with me, but one commenter started insulting the intelligence of another commenter. And so, I reminded everyone to USE NICE WORDS.
Today, I shared an article (on my personal page) about vaccines. I must be a glutton for punishment. I generally try to avoid controversial topics on facebook. (But I’m also trying to avoid working on taxes, so maybe I subconsciously posted it to distract myself. Just goes to show how much I hate tax time.)
I didn’t share the article because I’m pro-vaccines (although I am.) I shared the article because the author made a point that sounded a lot like a grown-up version of USE NICE WORDS.
“Hating the Anti-vaxer isn’t going to solve the problem. Calling the Anti-vaxer an imbecile is also not going to solve the problem.” (Full article here.)
Like I said, a grown up, issue specific translation of use nice words.
Here’s the deal, you guys…this world is full of controversy. And I realize that sometimes people feel very strongly about these controversial issues.
But it doesn’t matter if you’re pro-GMO or anti-GMO – use nice words.
It doesn’t matter if you’re pro-vaccines or anti-vax – use nice words.
It doesn’t matter how you feel about gay marriage, gun rights, Obamacare, or Monsanto – use nice words.