Have I made resolutions? Several years ago, noting a long history of failed efforts, I decided to give greater thought to my promises. The objectives: to make me a better husband and father, a healthier specimen, less angry and saner.
I have had no success with “reducing anger” from a previous resolution and, frankly, I am sure that “irate” is now the norm among citizens who follow the daily events plaguing the nation. It is doubtful that many are happy.
Ergo, my first resolution: Thou shalt listen to the other side!
Watching the demonstrations and the counterdemonstrations that are tearing at the fiber of this nation, the old adage, “I’d rather fight than switch,” cannot encourage a healing process to foster civility. No one is listening and everyone is shouting.
And my second: Thou shalt not shout invectives at someone with an opposing point of view!
I have found it very difficult to win someone over when screaming obscenities and raising fists. Such behavior gets the deserved response. A friend of mine solved his propensity for cursing. He decided to penalize himself $5 for each profanity. He would give his mounting fines to a free clinic. Not a charitable person by nature, he found success with this punishment. The avoidance of fist-raising requires great discipline.
For the third: Thou shalt study the issue well before forming an opinion!
It is very difficult to listen to anyone who has no clue what they are talking about. Listening to TV pundits does not give one expertise. Study the concern from all angles, then talk.
And the fourth: Thou shalt not riot and destroy property!
Sadly the damage is typically borne by the innocent and often a sympathizer. Wanton destruction and looting serve no useful purpose. The police have every right to drag the offenders off to the slammer.
For the fifth: Thou shalt respect an opposing point of view!
Remember, no matter how right you think you are, you could be wrong! Remember the bet on the sure winner that came in last. Recall that stock market pick that went south and cost a bundle. No one is right all the time.
And the sixth: Thou shalt consider that everyone is right!
Agreeing with someone is a good start to defuse a hostile encounter. It’s possible that the opposing party will show similar respect and agree with you. Finding agreement is a win-win and may lead to a beautiful friendship.
For the seventh: Thou shalt love thy spouse!
Kids will grow up. They never call or write. You’ll rarely see the neighbors, and relatives can bring more trouble than your worst enemies. Co-workers are fleeting and eventually you will retire. In the end, the two of you are all you have – cherish each other.
And the eighth: Thou shalt expect nothing!
With such an attitude, whatever you receive for you efforts or charity is better appreciated.
For the Ninth: Thou shalt lighten-up!
Have a sense of humor, chortle and enjoy a good joke. America has lost its sense of humor and is dying for want of a good laugh.
That’s enough for this year. It is doubtful I will keep any of them…maybe one or two. However, I remain optimistic, which brings me to…oh never mind!
Accept my best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season.
Dr. Marc Yacht is a retired physician. Column courtesy of Context Florida.