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The Thinking Man sculpture at Musée Rodin in Paris

The Thinking Man sculpture at Musée Rodin in Paris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many of speak often before we realise what we have said. It happens naturally and Shakespeare’s quote above heightens our intellect but suggesting that we only pass comment when we think. In actual fact, whilst we do think about what we are going to say we do not extend our thoughts and think what kind of reaction will my comment have on others. We think, but our thinking is limited. The result is misunderstanding, confusion and often upsetting or hurting another person.

So how does one teach their child the ability to ignore the thoughtless comments?

We have all done it and we will continue to do it. We will pass a throw away comment that will have a negative impact or hurt the person that the comment has been made to-do we really thin about what we are going to say? Most of the time people don’t mean it but sometimes they get a theme a seize every opportunity to pass a comment related to the theme. In this instance, the theme my family have taken hold of relates to me being ‘single.’ 

The family who are visiting Paris have unwittingly passed comments and sometimes have passed comments in a measured thought through manner. Being exposed to remarks such as, ‘You need a man’ or ‘Is he married’ and then finally, ‘No man should ever go for a woman with kids, he will have to take care of them.’ or something to that effect, along with when discussing your wizard, painter decorator who is organising your apartment, the next comment to fly out is again, ‘Is he married?’ 

And whilst my family have contradicted themselves in all the above comments and I can clearly see their irrationality to their statements. I still manage to get irritated and land up arguing the opposing point of view. My kids both roll their eyes and give me dark looks, their dark looks have the clear message of, ‘Mom, just ignore it!’ But I can’t as I find it impossible to follow the advice I will give to my own kids and the students I teach.

I guess there are two issues here, the first being: What is wrong with being single? and the second issue might be, ‘ why are they continual commenting on the fact that I am single?’ And yes, they are stricking a chord with the comments, after all, how many people want to grow old alone?

So why do people do it? Why do we make such outrageous comments that cause harm or irritation? Why are we unable to control what comes out of our mouths?We certainly don’t think about what we are going to say! I know a small number of people who are measured and pass comments that are carefully crafted and judged, they are generally my friends in the diplomatic world but for those of us who are untrained in thinking about what we say, we tend to craft careless statements that can have a negative impact on others.

And if I have not learnt the control to ignore the comments passed, how will I teach my kids? I think Shakespeare made a mistake in this quote, we don’t think about what we are going to say and if we do, the verbal harpoon that is pointed at you is certainly poisoned!

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