Saturday, June 21, 2008

Motive First

Far, far from here war looms like a rumbling storm in the west with dark thunderheads flashing from within as harbored electricity releases itself on the feeble land. This is far, far away, or is it? Do we have pre-war rumblings around us in our common encounters with society nearly everyday? Are we so accustomed to them that they seem normal--we nearly expect them? Has political correctness heated and kindled society so what was at one time an innocent word coming from a heart with no ill intentions, now proof for insult, slander, or law suit? Is the ability to turn the societal cheek now gone?

Several years ago in a creative writing class, an African American student read her piece that included the language, rhythm, and flare of the African American culture. It was interesting, creative, and beautifully written.

At the closing of my written feedback, I stated that the piece was also a nice portrayal of the African American culture. The following week the student announced to the class that someone commented on the African American culture and she firmly stated the piece had nothing to do with her culture. She was insulted.

I meant no disrespect or insult. In my ignorance and openness, I had insulted the writer and perhaps made her feel that my comment was racist. Let me say inside these walls what I teach my children: before we get upset about something someone said or did to us, take time to consider the person's MOTIVE. What was on their heart when they spoke the words or performed the deed? If we could do this one act and think less about own rights or feelings, perhaps we could diffuse a lot of heated situations in our homes, our neighborhoods, and in our world.

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