Monday, September 14, 2009

What Mama Said

I wrote a blog post on my other, author, blog that seemed to resonate with friends and readers. And it got me thinking. Perhaps we need to start a NICENESS MOVEMENT.

I know, it seems silly, to those of us who take it for granted. But in light of recent, well-publicized rudeness/idiocy/bad behavior (take your pick among Joe Wilson, Kanye West and Serena Williams to name just a few), I feel like we need to stand up and be heard. Nicely, of course. Maybe even get some bracelets that say "just be nice" or somesuch.

So, are you with me? Want to help spread the word? Want to guest blog here with tales of good behavior? Tips for how to keep your cool? Suggestions for teaching responsibility? Accountability?

Call it The Golden Rule or karma or whatever you will, but I for one want to take our country back. To civility and courtesy. To rising above not sinking to the low. It's not red state or blue state, Democrat or Republican. It's simply doing what mama said.

Anybody care to join?

Thanks in advance.

p.s. Here's the post that got it all started:

My Mama Taught Me Better

What's going on in society these days? I mean really. Look at Kanye West and Joe Wilson (two names that have probably never been uttered in the same sentence before!).

When did rudeness become acceptable? Defensible? The status quo?

When did apologizing become a sign of weakness or backing down?

My mother taught me to be kind. Be responsible. And yes, to stand up for what I believe in but in a civilized manner. She taught me that the world doesn't revolve around me. I passed those lessons on to my sons. I said I was sorry . . . and I MEANT it when I said it . . . when I'd been unfair to them. Or even just short-tempered. I believe that being willing to apologize shows strength and compassion.

Rudeness is never acceptable. Even when I've been treated poorly, it's not okay. I don't want to stoop to the lowest common denominator. I want to rise above it.

Breaking rules is not okay. I learned this one many times, but the best reminder came when I was 16 and had gotten caught going off campus for lunch (something only seniors could do and I was a junior). Since I was the driver, I got three days detention. Since I wouldn't rat on who else was in the car with me they tacked on another two days (I felt sort of noble about that!). When I tried to defend myself to my mom (who wasn't buying any of my teenaged outrage, by the way) by exclaiming, loudly, that it was a stupid rule, she calmly replied that it might well be but I had two choices: obey it or work to change it. Breaking it was not okay. In honesty, I'd like to say I worked to change it, but no. I did get better at not getting caught (it was all in which parking lot I parked in, I discovered).

But, I digress.

Joe Wilson was out of line to yell "You lie!" during President Obama's speech. He could have groaned or booed. That's what the parties in opposition do. And now he's acting like not apologizing makes him more of a man. Uh, no. It makes him look weak and stubborn and ill-bred. His mama must be shaking her head.

And Kanye? Most of the folks nominated for any award DON'T win. That's the law of numbers. And just because you think the voters got it wrong, you don't get to hop up and announce your opinion to the world. You win some and you lose some. That's life. Deal with it without looking like a doofus. Or worse. What must your mama think?

What's happening? Do we need a MOM SQUAD or something to go from town to town and teach civility? Kindness? The Golden Rule?

Shouldn't it come naturally?


  1. Judy, I LOVE this. I'm tired not only of rude people, but people who don't give respect to those who are nice.

    Not surprised at all that you'd come up with a brilliant idea to sort it all out.....

  2. I'm in, too!

    Treat others the way you want them to treat you.

    It's what I try very hard to live by. Even when I get smacked in the face.

  3. I love it! The girls' choir director used to say, "Kill 'em with kindness." Respond with kindness - it's even more contagious than H1N1Q

  4. This has been so great . . . I'm trying to sort everything out. I just started a group on FB. "JUST BE NICE". People seem to be crying out for this. If any of you have ideas, shoot them my way.

  5. Good on you, Judy! I'm in. And I'm tired of people acting out first, apologizing 2nd, but using those apologies not to sincerely express regret, but to justify their rude actions in the first place.

    I don't know what else to do right now but to link to this on my blog, and keep checking in - but I will do that!

  6. I always told my kids that it was good luck to be nice. It is good to commit random acts of kindness and senseless beauty, I think.

  7. Fantastic plan, and so badly needed!

  8. We lost civility in conversations at all levels a long time ago. We desperately need some of it back or what will kids learn? That it's ok to behave in destructive ways? That you don't have to listen to anyone who doesn't think as you do? I really see a narrowing of minds- this blog is a good first step toward keeping what's left of our minds open to others. Open debate is what our society is about- but it's open polite debate. I was tired of being afraid to say what I wanted/needed to say because I thought differently over the last 8 years, and now I'm still afraid to speak out because I can't handle the rudeness. We all have points of views- we all need to hear each other. It's time to stop behaving badly.

  9. I just posted a link on Twitter.

    Kindness & civility don't come naturally. That's why the Golden Rule had to be invented.

    My mama taught me to be polite and kind, but she also taught me to swear like a stevedore.

  10. Sadly, by tolerating this rude and ugly behavior, we are (in a sense) acting/being nice. Yet there must be a better way -- one that can possibly turn the tide.

    My life has been based on practicing The Golden Rule, a simple principle that promotes mutual respect.

    R-E-S-P-E-C-T is what we need to share!

  11. What a great idea!! When, as an adult, I'd whine to my mama about being lonely, or about others, she'd always tell me, "be nice to someone today and you're life will improve."
    She was right and I am with you on this 100%.

  12. I guess you know I've been frustrated and SCARED by the incivility that frequently crosses the line into hate. What a wonderful way to counter it. One smile, one sincere apology, one generous gesture at a time.

  13. You all are making me smile . . . and the word seems to be spreading. Over 300 hits in just over 24 hours . . .