"If you can't say something nice…."

I don’t know how many of you have seen the Disney cartoon Bambi to the point where you can recall Thumper being prompted by his mom to recite the above title. I can. I can vividly see the little bunny looking quite contrite repeating something that he had (obviously) been told over and over again.

What has happened to our society? Were most of us not taught this same mantra? Don’t we teach something along those same lines to our kids? Then what makes it “OK” for us as adults to say some of the most off the cuff hurtful things these days?

“Your too fat.” “Your too thin.” “Your hair is too thin.” “You have bony shoulders.” “Your feet are too big.” “Don’t you think you should….”

I have to wonder where we’ve lost our sense of shame. What makes it okay to vivisect those around us? Maybe it would be better to change that little mantra from “If you can’t say something nice…”, to “If you can’t say something kind…”

What’s the difference? Maybe nothing. Maybe it is just semantics. However, to me, I often think that perhaps people are trying to be nice by pointing out another’s shortcomings (as if their target wasn’t aware and probably even self ¬†conscious of these same issues). On the other hand, I don’t think anyone would say these constant reminders are kind.

A twitter friend, @montine (and a wonderful blogger: http:www.montinesilva.com) made an effort twice this week to only say/post positive things. What a great idea. What would happen if we took it beyond the net and made the effort, maybe just once a week to be kind to those around us. (I know, it will be hard for me too.)

One of my favorite classic movies contains my favorite quote, perhaps of all time. Jimmy Stewart as Elwood P. Dowd in the wonderfully touching Harvey stated: “My mother always use to tell me, ‘In this world Elwood, she always called me Elwood, you must be oh so smart, or oh so pleasant.’ Well, for years I was smart. I prefer pleasant.”

Well you know what? I’ve been trying to be smart for many years now, would you like to join me as I try to become more pleasant?

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