Monday, September 26, 2011

Dear sons: Don't give in to the gossip

Letter #3

Dear sons:

As you get older, you'll find that not everyone grows up even though they grow older. I'm not sure how it works in the boy world, but in the other part of the universe, you can't escape gossip. From what I can recall, it seemed to really take hold in junior high. Even in adulthood, I know many people who seem to thrive on gossip and talking negatively about others. I can't say I've never done it. I have. And more times than I'd like to admit. It's easy to get caught up in. After sitting and listening for a while, sometimes you throw your two cents in without realizing you're feeding it. I immediately feel terrible afterwards.

The online dictionaries define gossip as "casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true." Now, I sometimes remember quotes like I do jokes, where I manage to slip up the punchline, but I recall reading a line somewhere many years ago along the lines of "Simple minded people talk about other people. Average people talk about events. Brilliant people talk about ideas." I don't know who to attribute it to or if I've gotten it correct, but you get the idea. It's true. Successful people discuss ideas. They identify problems and solve them. They don't waste their time on office gossip or neighborhood soap operas. When I come across someone who feels the need to gossip and constantly tear others down, it's pretty obvious that 1) Their life is probably pretty empty and they fill their need for drama by gossiping. 2) They're probably lonely. 3) They're probably jealous. 4) They're seeking attention. Bottom line - you're not going to remedy any of that by insulting others behing their backs.

I hope that this gossipping issue isn't quite as big a deal in the male world. But, I'm sure you'll be faced with such people at times, whether male or female. I hope you'll be mature enough to ignore it. I hope you'll be stong enough not to be tempted to partake in it. And I hope you'll be courageous enough to let the gossiper know that she or he will get much farther in life by finding better things to talk about.

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