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Keep Calm & Kerri On...October 23, 2020
Norwich, NY
10/23/2020 08:08 AM

Be Kind BitmojiDear Friends,

Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.” - Yehuda Berg

Do you understand how your words affect others and yourself? There is power in what you vocalize, what you internalize and what you don’t say. Words have meaning and they are a reflection of who you are, what you stand for and how others see you. 

I have thought about this often over the past few weeks and I keep asking myself “why are people so rude to each other?” I am a downright positive person! If there is a glass … it is half-full. Every challenge is an opportunity. Every dark cloud has a silver lining - somewhere. Even when things seem to pile up and life throws you every stressor possible at once, I see these as opportunities to grow, and I truly believe that life does not hand you more than you can take on. Having said this, I am starting to really question humanity, our ability to communicate with each other and to just be kind to one another.

To some of you this may sound simple, and you think that “being nice” doesn’t work. I am sorry, but I have to disagree with you. You can’t argue with nice. How do you fight with nice? What is there to be mad at when someone is nice to you? I don’t understand why our society can’t respect each other enough to just disagree in a civil way, walk away if you really disagree, and why people feel powerful to be so mean from behind a computer?

The current political climate has just thrown fuel on an already kindling fire and the discontent and conflicting views have given people the ability to feel like they can say whatever they want. When did we become people who didn’t care about hurting each other’s feeling anymore? When did we as a society say that was ok? The anonymity behind social media plays into this, but even if you feel like you want to flex your computer muscles, don’t you think about the next time you see that person in real life? Aren’t you embarrassed about what you said, how you reacted and what they will think of you? If the answer is no, then I will ask why are you connected to this person on social media? Clearly, you don’t respect them or other points of view, so why stay connected with someone you so vehemently disagree with? 

I’ll end with where I started. Words have power. They give someone a glimpse into your life; what you choose to share, and what you show the world matters. It also matters when you choose to not respond. If you see injustice and do nothing about it, aren’t you saying that it’s ok? When did we stop responding to bullies and negativity? When did we as a society begin accepting bad behavior as “that’s just them” and let it roll off our backs? I was taught to stand up for myself and others, and my children were taught the same. It’s not ok and this kind of behavior shouldn’t be the accepted norm. 

Please, as we head into the next few weeks, if you take nothing else from this try to remember who you are. There is nothing wrong with a debate. My husband will tell you that I never walk away from a good fight. But there is no reason to not be nice. Share your viewpoint, have an intelligent (even lively) discussion but then it’s over. And if you can’t be an adult about it, then just walk way, scroll through or my new favorite … “snooze ‘em” for 30 days. 

We need to be better about taking care of one another and at the end of the day, when all of this is over, we need to come together to continue on our journey. Remember, your path may just cross with that person you called “uneducated”, “a jerk”, “a liberal”, “a racist”, or “a sheep”. Next time you make personal attacks, think about those words being the last thing this person heard from you and how they will remember you. 

While I would love to tell you Dolly Parton had it right when she said “If you don’t have anything nice to say, come sit by me” … I think my mom had it right when she said “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”.

Be kind, Chenango.

~ Kerri

Kerri Green
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