Do you want to hear the joke about the Spice Guy? Stop! Where did your mind go here? Do you listen or tell jokes about other people? If so, this tip is for you from my English grandmother’s list in “How to Get Along With People.” (Remember that this was from an old Ann Landers’s column.)
Tip 8. Be careful of other people’s feelings. A joke at the other fellow’s expense is rarely worth the effort, and may hurt where least expected.
We Learn as Kids How to Treat People
Once upon a time, many years ago some kids put together something called a “slam book.” It was a nasty thing that commented on the less resourceful aspects of a person in the neighborhood. Sometimes it was about an old man who yelled at kids running across his lawn. Or a new mom might come outside and ask kids to be quieter while her new baby was napping. When these kids were yelled at, they drew pictures of animals and wrote something mean about one neighbor. Then they sewed the pages together and asked other kids to add their comments. The one person who did not see this book was the one it was about.
The first time I saw one of these mean books was when I was 10 years old. After church, I came home in a pretty dress and felt full of inspirational song and blessings and goodness. My mom made breakfast and we ate a great meal! Changing into my play clothes, and probably full of a couple of donuts or sweet pancakes covered with syrup, I joined my friends. I saw it. This book was presented about my neighbor. It was quietly passed around with whispers and giggles from kid to kid.
At first, I giggled, too, because the picture of a pig looked funny. The more words I read, however, the sicker I felt in my stomach. I wasn’t sure if it was too many syrupy pancakes with sausage or the added donuts, but something deep inside felt disturbing.
One of the kids told me to add something to the blank pages. There was a lot of pressure to do this or else a book might be made about me. Lacking the self-esteem at this young age to stand up for someone, I worried what the kids would draw or make up about me and how awful that would be. Did I do it? Sadly, yes. I wrote something childish. It had something to do with the neighbor’s voice tone when they yelled at kids stealing apples from their yard. Then I handed it back to the kids and went inside my house. I felt really bad.
The kids explained that it was just a joke, but I knew it could hurt somebody’s feelings. If someone had said mean things about me it would have made me cry. I thought about it and decided I never wanted to be a part of it again. So, when the book came around again I gave it back.
Make a Meaningful Contribution
One of the most valuable ways we can make a meaningful contribution in the world is to encourage self-confidence in others. Be careful when making and listening to jokes about others. Inspire those you meet in ways that bring out imagination, happiness, and strength.
Do You Want to Grow a Meaningful Purpose in People?
Apositiva offers a great workshop in training coaches in how to create rapport. If you are looking for a Life Coaching course where you can learn and grow, sign up for this course. Growing Coach Training. Module I: It’s About You begins May 16-18. You will attend five (5) total modules for a full certification which will get you focused on ways to inspire.
Call Cat Wilson and sign up today at 503-525-0595.