Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Guest column by Dale Flowers

Recently, at a Town Hall meeting, I was shocked at the harshness of some of the people present. I was shocked at use of the word “liar” shouted at the speaker. I was shocked at the rudeness from some of the people trying to shout down the speaker, or after asking a question they talked over the speaker as the question was being answered. I couldn’t help but wonder if these adults (?) trained their children in such a way. Perhaps it is to be expected. These adults (?) were still young enough, for the most part, to have heard the shouts of angry parents at the officials at their little league games.
We hear angry customers, with their children in tow, giving a cashier a “piece of their mind.” Children see and hear the vulgarity of fans in the stands. Perhaps they too often witness the stressed out adult get in a horn blowing contest, along with gestures, in heavy traffic.

How can children learn respect for authority when they don’t see it in adults. How can they learn respect for government officials when they hear their parents screaming “liar” at them ? How can children learn respect for the flag and the Star Spangled Banner if their dads’ can’t take off the “sacred” cap or stand up when the flag passes by in a parade, or when the National Anthem is being played ?

What has happened to civility in our society ? Have those claiming to be Christians forgotten the basic rule for a civil society ? Do we still try to treat other people the way we want to be treated ? What has happed to Mr. Roger’s magic words, “Please and Thank You ?” What has happened to being able to have a civil discussion with those with whom we disagree ? Don’t we realize that when we start raising our voice it means we have lost the argument and will now sink to bullying ?

Isn’t shouting at a speaker who is trying to make a report a form of bullying ? Isn’t shouting “Liar” a speaker who is no position to defend himself or herself a form of bullying ? When we adults bully public officials, sports officials, clerks in stores and servers in restaurants by being verbally rude to them, can we expect less of our children ? Perhaps the bullying problem in schools is directly related to the rudeness of adults toward other adults who can not defend themselves.

In a society that is already stressed out over the economy, the war, and problems in leadership, wouldn’t it be a grand idea not to use language that just fuels the fires of unrest ? No gentleman would ever call a lady a liar, or raise his voice to her. Neither would a lady do that to a gentleman. Why not listen to what a person is saying before interrupting, talking over, or shouting at them ? Why not practice the basic rule of good manners, treating other people the way we want to be treated ? Perhaps then, this uncivil society would once more become civil.

Dale C. Flowers (pictured above)
P.O. Box 904
Hendersonville, TN  37075

No comments: