Today I witnessed name calling, put downs, blaming, snide remarks, interrupting and petty bickering. As a parent, I’d be horrified if one of my children was subjected to such behaviour. I’d be even more mortified if I discovered they had been the perpetrator.
Only I wasn’t in the schoolyard.
I was watching Parliamentary Question Time.
The difference between Question Time and the playground is that our children still need guidance, training and correction. Our politicians – the men and women who are supposedly leading our country – should know better.
Is it any wonder that our children bully and are bullied when they watch adults participating in it constantly – not only in parliament, but at home, at work, on television and on line?
As someone who was regularly bullied at school, I know the long term damage such ongoing negativity can have. Fortunately in the years since, I’ve also experienced the positive impact of encouragement, understanding and simple kindness. What a different society ours would be if instead of disparaging others, we sought ways to support, encourage and thank them.
As someone quoted on twitter this week:
Become friends with people who aren’t your age. Hang out with people whose first language isn’t the same as yours. Get to know someone who doesn’t come from your social class. This is how you see the world. This is how you grow.
And Steven R. Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, writes:
Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.
So, I wish to start an alternative Question Time. One in which we pose questions that enable us to ‘listen with the intent to understand’, rather than making a comment designed to silence or demean. In particular, I’d love hear the stories of those whose actions have gone unnoticed but deserve our acknowledgement and recognition.
Over to You
Who would you like to thank or encourage and why?
What question might you ask them that seeks to better understand their journey or perspective on life?