Saturday, April 11, 2015
We tell little children all the time, "Play nice now," when they seem to be acting up, stealing each other's toys, or otherwise causing mischief. So why do we keep our mouths shut so much when we see adults doing this?
The answer we tell ourselves is always the same: because they're adults, and we need to let them learn for themselves. But don't you ever stop and think to yourself, How did that guy never learn that lesson, that you just don't say those kinds of things, or act that way in public? Who let her get this way? Who raised him?
I could give you a few dozen examples of times I soured the mood by asking an obvious question like this directly to people with others present, but gratefully, most of those times weren't too overt or loud on my part...most of them. But I do think we could all be teachers and mentors, and even psychotherapists, more than we are. Yeah, I know, it's inappropriate to tell someone else how to live their lives, but if there's an opportunity for a teachable moment, I believe you should rise to the occasion in as kind and graceful a manner as you can, and be that teacher in that moment. It could just be a funny "play nice now" to a stranger or friend, but you never know when a few words of advice spoken gently can change a person's life forever.