I am clearly channeling Stephanie Tanner from Full House while writing this blog. But seriously, when did everyone start feeling like it is perfectly acceptable to be so freaking rude?
Admittedly, the nature of my job exposes me to potential rudeness from a wide array of people. Actually, my jobs have ALWAYS done that. I have a pretty thick skin left over from working in local television news for 15 years. Talk about rude! Viewers had zero qualms about telling our anchors and reporters they hated their hair, thought they’d gained weight or didn’t know how to dress. Viewers called me every name in the book, generally over the phone, and some of them were pretty darn creative. There were words strung together in ways I’d never dreamt! If anything, I’d give them points for creative language use. When I made the switch to a different (but similar-ish) career a few years back, I was naively surprised to find that people are not only rude in a local television news setting, they also have choice words for local government employees. Weird, right? (Yes, I am being sarcastic.)
It is a strange juxtaposition for me, because I have always been very conscious of words and their impact. I love to write, love to talk and love to read. Words have changed my life. I am a Communications Manager, so they obviously make up a giant part of my career. They allow me to process my joys, frustrations, anger and confusion through blogging. They have weight in my world and make me feel connected. Therefore, I am perhaps a little overkill when it comes to my two young daughters and what words they use. I know it will not last forever, but words like “hate,” “butt” and “shut up” will land my kids in time out 100% of the time. Not only do I immediately correct them if they say these things, but they immediately correct me as well. They do the same thing to my husband and any other relative within earshot.
“I know what many of you are thinking. We are living in a society where mean-spirited jabs and barbs are coming down from folks all the way at the top. And you are right. Language like that is certainly more “the norm”. But didn’t those people have parents or teachers who made sure they knew the impact those words can have? Do they just simply not care? Have we lost the notion that treating each other with respect should be a given? It is virtually impossible to get a group of people to agree on anything. And I wouldn’t change that for anything. Differing ideas and opinions are some of the things that make this world amazing. But, for the love, can we just all agree to express our opinions and accept that others will have differing opinions? Can we accept that there is not always a “right way” and a “wrong way”? Can we just agree to disagree and not be so freaking rude in the space in between that?
Now is probably where I should mention that friends have referred to me as “Susie Sunshine” a time or two in the past. I am definitely an optimist. That said, I know this blog is not going to have a long-term impact on how people speak to each other. But I am hoping that it might make at least one person pause before firing off a mean message or scoffing at someone’s idea just because it is different from his or her own. Have a little respect, folks. Not only for others but also for yourself.