I Dare You to Say it to My Face

Momservation: Hate is heavy. The people with the power of positive thinking and forgiveness are a hell of a lot more fun with a lighter load to carry.

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I can tell you what will make America great again.

Common decency.

And it doesn’t start at the White House (although that would be a logical place to start), or Congress, or red or blue states.

It starts with you.

If you are parents, of children of any age, your next responsibility after modeling the right thing to do is hold those children of yours accountable for their actions and words.

We used to do this not too long ago: Instill common decency. I am 47 years old and I still remember when I wouldn’t dare say a foul word or something hateful in front of an adult. ANY adult.

Yes, there used to be a time when, as a kid, if you were going to break one of the big No-No’s of life—If you  can’t say anything nice, don’t say it at all—you would look all around you before you dared say something hurtful. If there wasn’t a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, neighbor, teacher, crotchety old guy up the street, or a stranger giving you the eye in case you were thinking of saying it…then you might blurt out something that people would consider an everyday Tweet in our “great” new society.

Something like: “Well, you’re just an idiot if that’s what you think.”

Now, if you hadn’t looked good enough, or said it quiet enough, suddenly you would hear from an adult looming nearby, “What did you just say?”

Then your blood would run cold, your throat would squeeze shut, and a rock would have just dropped into your stomach…because you knew you were in trouble.

That’s what the sprouting roots of common decency feels like.

But if an adult wasn’t nearby, and you thought you were almighty enough to pull off bad behavior, there was another check in our society you still had to worry about. You had to be prepared that someone might call you out and say:

“I dare you to say that to my face.”

And your blood would run cold, your throat would squeeze shut, and a rock would have just dropped in your stomach…because you knew you were either too chicken to actually say something so nasty to someone’s face or you were about to get in a fight over what you just dared to say.

That’s called being held accountable. That’s also seems long gone in today’s society.

We can blame the people at the top, the leaders, social media, video games, toxic pundits, 24-hour news cycle; we can spin all around looking for scapegoats and pointing blame for our societal bad behavior these days—remember that no accountability thing I mentioned?—but all everyone needs to do is just look in the mirror.

It starts with you.

Be a good role model. And then dare to hold yourself and those you are supposed to modeling common decency for, accountable.

I once wrote a popular column, Mom’s Top 10 Rules for Kids. I wrote it over ten years ago and people still stop me and tell me they have it taped to their fridge.

The number one rule?

  1. First respect yourself. If you do, no other rules apply.

But I think it’s time to make a new list, because there’s an awful lot of people not following Mom’s Number One Rule anymore.

So let’s go back to the basics of common decency.

The Top 5 Rules of Common Decency

  1. Treat others the way you want to be treated. This used to be called the Golden Rule. It’s time that we all stay golden, Pony Boy.
  2. If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, with God as your witness…as Momma used to say, “Then keep your damn mouth shut.” (And quit hiding behind your toxic keyboard.)
  3. Do no harm. Not with your words. Not with your hands. Not with your avatar, your phone, your computer, your Finsta. And Lord help us all, not with a gun.
  4. Let it go. Don’t jump into someone’s negative energy cesspool with them. Let them stew in their own hateful, disgusting, unimpressive, pathetic swamp of their own making. The people with the power of positive thinking and forgiveness are a hell of a lot more fun with a lighter load to carry. Hate is heavy.
  5. Pretend someone is watching whom you would be devastated if you lost their respect. Because someone is always watching. Be it your children, your mother or father, a favorite grandmother, your best friend, or God. Pretend they are always standing next to you. Do you want to turn and see admiration and love in their eyes or disgust and disappointment?

I know what I’d pick…

#BeTheChangeYouWantToSeeInTheWorld  #CommonDecency  #Accountability

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