Grumpify or Gentlize?

Posted: May 21, 2010 in people
Tags: , ,

In college I majored in literature. I love Shakespeare! The verbal density; it is rocket fuel for me. I taught literature at the high school and college levels before switching to people farming,  my current passion. My daughter is now a lit student at the university. I love it.

I’ve traveled to England, spent time in London. This year my daughter will  spend a semester in London studying literature. Cool!

Like produces like.

It’s beautiful; it’s normal; it’s good. It can be a problem.


It’s the problem that occurs if or when we get after people to be like us. It’s fine for people to make a choice to choose to be like another person. It’s not fine when people make a choice to force someone else to be like them.

The problem comes in the form of the criticism, the evaluation, the judgment that expects, that demands, that requires sameness, conformity.

Is this common? You betcha! I hear old people whining about how things aren’t right, how they aren’t the way they used to be. I hear young people who are very ramped up about what they like, and don’t like. They are strong, on the attack, very confident that some things “rock” and some not.

Fine to have preferences, not fine to impose them. “Oh, we don’t do that,” everybody pretty much claims. “It’s not good to force things, right?” 

And yet we do.

Politics, religion, education, business, parenting — so many areas of life take up the sword and hack, hack, hack at people to change, to conform, to measure up.

You hear it, “You can’t trust politians.” Really? All of them? None of them are trying to help us?

If you are a good Christian, then you will … blah, blah, blah. Someone told me recently that all Christians should vote according to a slate a Christian organiztion has published.  Wow! Really? I think God expects each of us to take responsibitity to judge for ourselves what is right or wrong.

Teachers are now, according to some, doing too much teaching to the tests. All teachers? 

The people who lost their homes in the recession were too greedy and unwise and the took bad loans. Wack, wack wack!

Parents are too busy these days to raise their kids.  Smack, smack, smack.

Grumpiness, criticalness, opinions, “my understanding”  often becomes a club. We pound the crap out of people with our thinking, while claiming to merely be making a statement and clarifying our opinion.

Two options present themselves as a person matures: gentlize or grumpify, become gracious and understanding or overgeneralize and become as narrow and mean and dangerous as a switch blade knife.

Like produces like is at its best when it is inspired, at it’s worst when it is whalloped and hacked into another person’s softly developing personality.

Unwise ones get hard. Wise ones mellow and soften as they bump  along through life.

Wise ones? They inspire  the “like” not require it.

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