This post might seem to be a bit of a rant, I suppose. I’ll just tell you that up front and you can stop reading before you go any further.
The other day I saw a ‘poster’ that said something about how much poor grammar bothered the person who posted it. That made me think … and then think some more.
While I am highly conscious of using proper grammar and spelling in my own writing, the last thing I want to do is intimidate others in how they write or speak. The only purpose that serves is to stop them from communicating. It doesn’t fix what they haven’t learned, it bullies them. It also makes a clear distinction between those who do and those who do not use proper grammar. And that distinction only serves to separate us.
Friends and readers have told me they were afraid to communicate publicly with me because they didn’t have polished communication skills. Oh no, no, no, no, no. That isn’t what I’m about at all.
So I’ve made a choice to not be bothered by grammar and word usage in written forums. The relationship is much more important. Learning by intimidation and bullying will never work, but teaching by example might.
When I was young, we discovered that I have perfect pitch. What a blessing that was. It made my early music education so much easier and I enjoyed accompanying musicians because I could quickly discern and change keys for them as they performed.
One day, someone put me in front of an old, battered piano and asked me to play. I did so and had great fun. Another person took me aside and asked why I wasn’t cringing the entire time. The piano was horribly out of tune and with my perfect pitch, it should have made me a wreck. I shrugged it off. I’d been asked to do something for someone and the shape of the piano had nothing to do with the gift that person needed.
I made a choice not to be bothered by the out of tune piano. Why would I refuse to play because of that?
Not long after my mother died, I was out with friends. We were laughing and having fun. One of them quietly asked how I was able to be so happy when I’d just lost my best friend. It didn’t occur to me that I shouldn’t be happy. Of course I missed her, but my life was continuing. I hadn’t died. Mom did.
I made a choice to be happy in the midst of death. I grieved her loss, but that didn’t change the fact that my life was full and moving forward.
Because I am active on the Facebook Bellingwood page, I spend a lot of time there. A rather large number of ugly political posts show up on a regular basis. People tend to react and respond with just as much ugliness no matter the side of the argument, creating a furor and causing more ugliness. I began removing those posts and their original sources from my feed.
I’ve made a choice to not fill my life with ugliness and conflict. Posting and responding on Facebook (or Twitter, or anything) with anger and hostility will not cause transformation. The biggest changes we see in the world that have come about due to social media? Kindness, grace, love, caring, and giving are their foundation.
In an attempt to set ourselves apart in a world filled with noise … we take the easy path. We taunt, we belittle, we bully, we tear others down to build ourselves up, we yell and scream to be heard above the cacophony. That’s the easy road. Everybody is on it and they’ve paved it with tears, blood, hearts, souls, and sometimes even bodies.
Take the more difficult route. Make a choice every time you speak, post or write something. Be an encourager, a comforter, be merciful, be a peacemaker, be humble.
Make the choice.