My morning walk from subway to office is five blocks. It’s just long enough for me to be lost in my own thoughts before entering into my institutional setting. Today I took a side street and passed a large truck parked opposite a sporting goods store. There were two people unloading brown boxes while another was going over inventory.
I passed them without notice when the wording on one of the boxes caught my eye. The words in black lettering were bold and commanding.
Stop – Think – Lift
It was a reminder to those moving the boxes to think about body mechanics, properly using their bodies to not put a strain on their backs.
But I took a picture because with one change of the word you could use this in many areas.
Stop – Think – Decide; Stop – Think – Talk; Stop – Think – Discipline – In all of these we need a reminder to think before we act.
But the one I settled on was Stop – Think – Comment. So many of us are guilty of losing control of our brains when commenting, particularly on controversial subjects. We use anonymity to our benefit and, knowing the likelihood that we will be identified is slim, let all manner of speech spew forth.
How do we help each other in this area? Help each other make thoughtful comments that add to the conversation? I’m asking you because I am particularly impressed at those who comment on Communicating Across Boundaries. Whether agreeing or disagreeing, you all add to the conversation.
Is it because I’m not controversial enough or because in a smaller setting we feel like we know each other – we’ll see each other again tomorrow as we weigh in on culture, immigration, communication and faith?
As someone who has had too many times where my brain has disconnected from my words the paraphrased command on the box hits me where it needs to. I don’t want to be so self obsessed that I care nothing for others who are in conversation; whether I ever meet them or not is immaterial.
The Bible has some strong words for the tongue – and I’ve no doubt that these words from the book of James apply directly to comments on the internet.
tongue keyboard we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth keyboard comes praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”
James goes on to speak of wisdom – an apt ending to this chapter and a good ending for this post. There is false wisdom, assumed through letting all know who I am and what I stand for, a ‘selfish ambition’ is described by the author. And true wisdom – wisdom from Heaven; wisdom represented through peace and consideration, mercy and sincerity.
Stop – Think – Comment strikes me as the beginning of wisdom when it comes to online opinion and communication. What do you think?
“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.”