I must have been about 8 years old when the little girl in the desk next to me said I was going to go to hell.
I was scared. I imagined a pit of pitch dark and flaming orange fires. But for some reason I didn’t believe I would get stuck there and die.
Shame, she didn’t really know any better I suppose. I mean, I was a Jewish girl in a class of Catholics at a convent on Oxford Road. What was I doing there?
That was when my teacher- Mrs Moore was her name, I still remember her sweet, soft face and dark neat curls, her lavender scent- said something that has always stayed with me.
‘Girls, if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing’ she said.
I’ve always remembered it and try to remind my children from time to time. Not that they always listen mind you, though of course I don’t always remember myself. It’s much easier to say hurtful things sometimes. It kind of makes you feel more powerful doesn’t it?
‘Ag no, …you are so careless with your stuff! Can’t you be more responsible, for heaven’s sake!’
For heaven’s sake indeed.
I survived the Catholics. I loved the rosary rituals and taste of thin wafer on my tongue on a Friday when I followed the girls to the alter to taste the body of Christ. I felt quite special actually. I was part of a tribe. Their tribe. Though maybe not mine.
Years later, I’m still learning that not everyone will be your tribe – or want to be part of your tribe.
That’s good , that’s okay, you will be part of another tribe. You will find your own tribe.But I’m also learning that it’s just so much better to be kind to people. You can be honest, you can have your say, but if you have an opportunity to say something, something which may have a direct correlation to the person’s success or self-esteem or future career or something and you have this power, well, you know… you can just be kind.
OR YOU COULD JUST SAY NOTHING.
I’ll give you an example, here’s a scenario: Let’s say, someone writes a book and you decide to buy it. It’s a valid purchase – no undue influence.
You then also have the choice (but let’s call it a power) to review that item – online or on a public platform of sorts. And your review is going to affect how others see that product from then on and may have an impact on the success or otherwise of that product for the author.
And then let’s say you don’t really like the book and don’t care much for the author’s views.
What would you do?
Would you just think, ah well, not my kind of book and forget about it and tell your friends you read a really terrible book and they should definitely not buy it!?
Or do you willingly post a review and :
1. Comment on the fact that you really didn’t like the book, acknowledging that you didn’t really understand what the author was on about and found it all quite puzzling;
2. Express undue sorrow based upon an unfounded view that the author’s offspring may have suffered some trauma due to the author’s writing of the book ;
3. Question the integrity of the writer’s research based on an unsubstantiated assumption about the possible fatigue of the writer (hint: you don’t know the author at all or how tired they may or may not be) ;
4. Proclaim on a balance of probabilities that no-one else would like it either?
Or would you just say nothing?
Do you really want my view?
#findtherighttribe #kindness #womensupportingwomen