Nowdays everybody wanna talk
"Like they got something to say, but nothing comes out when they move they lips - Eminem - Forgot About Dre, 1999"
Anyone who knows me, knows that I hate being preachy or sounding like I'm bragging.
Lord knows we have enough people in this world trying to prey on the vulnerabilities and insecurities of others for a profit, by flexing their status or accomplishments over someone they view as wanting to move closer to them in the social pecking order.
But, on the flip side, there also needs to be a boundary to how much rope we offer each other as a society before we turn into either a modern day version of Ancient Rome, or even worse the movie "The Purge". The benefit of the doubt and the desire to find common ground seem to be as rare as a Unicorn trotting down Dundas Place pooping out gold coins.
That you, AM980 Facebook Page Comment Section?
In order to maintain a structured, just, and positive society; we need good leaders. Leaders on both a large level, taking the reigns of our country, our province, and our city; and also leaders on the grassroots level that model desired behaviours and command the best from fellow citizens. Our world has been in a leadership crisis for some time now. The leader of the most powerful country in the world has gained far more attention for acting like a drunken frat boy than he has for charting the best course for the rest of the world to follow.
Our country's leader has been in some hot water as well, for both poor choices in how he has treated female colleagues in his current role, as well as poor choices as to how he has respected ethnic diversity in his past life.
On a local level, messes to see here too. Our local leadership getting more attention for lies and anonymous actions than for their attempts to create the best life possible for our city.
Positive change and proper commendable behaviour needs to be demanded from and modelled by our leadership. Both on a governmental level, and on a community level as well.
As of recent, I've really noticed social media's dark side in certain corners of the internet. Controversial topics have led to controversial opinions. Society fracturing on partisan political lines. People assuming the worst of anyone who doesn't share their beliefs, and accusing the worst of them in the public forum of both neighbourhood and city-wide platforms borne witness by those we interact with off-line every single day.
There is no better time than now to ask of each other that we all do differently. The best place to start in my opinion? Some of the simplest but best advice I have heard from a public speaker came from a Mr. Dave Howlett, founder of the Real Human Being movement.
His very first rule on becoming a Real Human Being - "assume everyone is intelligent."
We will all start getting along better, if we assume the other person we are interacting with is intelligent. Social media, face to face, service providers, the people we encounter in day to day life should be treated for and respected for their humanity and with the assumption that they too are a logical and rational human that wants the same things we do.
Now, we all KNOW that isn't the case. But more often than not, there will be a decent amount of truth to that concept. I'm not being preachy whatsoever in sharing my thoughts. I'm a recovering hot head. I've been recovering for many years. People who haven't talked to me or seen me much in 6-10 years might think I'm being hypocritical here. I promise, I have come a long way. I used to think that respect came from being alpha and asserting my dominance over others. I have since learned that respect comes from being authentic, genuine, and consistent. Day in and day out, living the morals and ethics that define you as who you are; while also maintaining the boundaries and barriers that make you safe secure and comfortable.
Not really me anymore....most of the time.
Being a dad with kids that are getting more interested in technology, social media definitely makes me nervous. I want my kids to learn how to be kind and respectful to others, and good face to face conversationalists. I fear them getting access to social media in a few years and experiencing the cyber bullying we read about in the media frequently; or being the kids you see in movies and tv shows that can't look up from a device to make eye contact and speak a full sentence. My home will be a real life Amish Paradise before my kids will be living life that way.
I've churned butter once or twice, living in an Amish paradise...
I think the good behaviour has to start with being modelled by adults, and by being intentionally taught to the next generation.
Objectivity and self-awareness do come with a maturing brain. But assuming the person you are talking to is an intelligent person who has the same goals of safety, security, happiness, and prosperity that you do is a very important common ground that we can all strive to find as quickly and most often as possible. When the person you are conversing with doesn't feel marginalized or attacked by your words to them, you will find yourselves coming together more often than not.
For some people that just won't happen. For them, use the block button like you're Dikembe Mutombo patrolling the paint in the late 90s.
I used to never back down from a confrontation. To an extent, these days I still don't, but in a healthier way of avoiding every map leading to the same destination.
It took me a long time to realize that my willingness to defend myself and others from those who I perceived as bullying, by fighting fire with napalm was burning down forests more often than it was mending fences. The modern day cyber pirates who just want to go online and push your buttons to get the validation they crave are better off being sucked into a big box of cyber silence like a Ghostbusters trap via no response at all.
In 2020, I hope that we all can do our best to be kind and friendly to our neighbours, to treat others the way we wish to be treated, to assume everyone is intelligent until proven otherwise, and to cautiously be willing to be open to new experiences, opportunities, and friendships.
If we all spent less time being defensive online by assuming that anyone who doesn't agree with us is evil and attacking us, and more time realizing and uniting on common goals, we are all going to end up where we want to be. Safe, supported, and happy.