Lately, wherever I turn, the importance of communication is front and center. I spent Sunday evening being a teaching assistant for a presentation to middle schoolers on using communication to keep yourself safe. The focus of the new scouting handbooks is communication. And further a field two prominent women in our community are stepping down or stepping aside over communication issues. And I find all this quite interesting in a Chinese sort of way.
A world where we communicate via so many different venues is having serious communication issues. Email, blog, chat, facebook, myspace, texting, the old fashion and the cell phone, pen and paper, books, nonverbal and verbal communication means and we still can't communicate clearly. And when we do communicate the curtain of respect has been wrench from its rod. Since when did it become okay to insult or degrade someone?
Since when is it acceptable for children and adults to become bullies? I fear the growth of distant and or anonymous electronic communication has caused the widespread divorce between ours heads and fingertips. How easy it is to type off a few choice words and hit send. Then with that comfort in place, how easier still it is to shout out face to face. Cares and feelings put aside.
Personally I am tired of it. Tired of hearing children wise off to their parents, teachers, or other adults in authority. Tired of telling my own children to stand down, that an adult -- whether it be me or someone else -- is in charge. Is responsible for setting the tone and direction. Will have the authoritative last word. I am tired of the bullying: children and adults. Worried by the fact that excellent role models for young women are being bullied enough to say, they have had enough. What gives their oppressors the right to oppress? And why do we as a society uphold these people? Great coach! Great mentor! Great superintendent! Great for whom?
How often are the popular youth or adults bullies? How often do we witness them and their court putting down the weaker of their age? This concept is clearly upheld in films. The well dressed, the well suited, the smart, the sports minded -- climbing to the peak by stepping on the faces of others. My belief is that their self esteem is so shaky that they put down the easy marks to insure their own rise to the top. And the repercussions are resounding. Young children hanging themselves. Teens killing themselves or taking the lives of their oppressors. Adults shooting their families or fellow employees.
So what is the solution? Truly, I don't know, but I suspect it is rooted in self respect, and the mantra to treat others as you would want to be treated. For when we dish out venom then we must fully expect that venom will come out way. Wouldn't it be novel to try being nice and see what happens.