I wrote this blog post in 2015, but the topic is more relevant today than it was even back then. In my novels, my protagonists are striving to be a better person every day and to become the best version of themselves. Following the guidelines, "Is it true, is it kind, is it necessary?" would help all of us to be better people, and, in this day and age, to think before we post or respond to posts on social media, which is where the majority of our interactions with other human beings generally happen now.
Social media can be a blessing or a curse. It can create powerful change. It can bring light to topics which need to be exposed. It can educate and entertain the masses. On the other hand it can be a source of pain, degradation, and destruction. People have various opinions on everything under the sun and in general it can be fine to state your opinion in a respectful way. But when people on social media criticize a person who has a different opinion or stance than they do on a particular issue and they make it a personal attack on that person (their character, their appearance, their voice, their religious affiliation), then that’s just downright mean and uncalled for.
As members of the human race, we strive for common goals— health, safety, security, love, and happiness for ourselves and our families. If every one of us just followed the Ten Commandments, life would be pretty tranquil on this planet. But, if that’s too much to ask, can we just be as nice as possible to each other? I propose that we start a movement, not sure of the name yet, maybe something along the lines of The Kindness Movement? Or the Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind? Movement.
How about we hold ourselves and our fellow human beings to a higher standard. If people are talking about others, whether in person or on social media, and they are being less than kind, let’s point it out. If you see a mean post about a celebrity, how about we comment with Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind? or #isittrueisitnecessaryisitkind. It may be a bit uncomfortable at first, but can you imagine how this world would change if people started standing up for common human decency and kindness?
Below is a copy of my post on Facebook from this morning:
These are the thoughts that wake me up from a deep sleep in the middle of the night! I can’t rest until I know I’ve captured that divine inspiration!
What do you think? Are you in? Let’s start a movement and see how many lives can be changed!
This poem, written in 1872, is timeless. In this day and age of social media its message is even more important. Just because a person is a public figure — whether it’s politics, the film industry, or professional athletics, it doesn’t mean that it’s acceptable to ridicule them (their looks, their intelligence, their faith, whatever). This just seems like another form of bullying. The things you write on Facebook, would you really say that to someone in person? We’re all God’s children made in His image. “Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?” should be something for all of us to consider before we talk about other people. Or in the words of Thumper, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.”
“Is It True? Is It Necessary? Is It Kind?
Oh! Stay, dear child, one moment stay, Before a word you speak, That can do harm in any way To the poor, or to the weak; And never say of any one What you’d not have said of you, Ere you ask yourself the question, “Is the accusation true?” And if ’tis true, for I suppose You would not tell a lie; Before the failings you expose Of friend or enemy: Yet even then be careful, very; Pause and your words well weigh, And ask it it be necessary, What you’re about to say. And should it necessary be, At least you deem it so, Yet speak not unadvisedly Of friend or even foe, Till in your secret soul you seek For some excuse to find; And ere the thoughtless word you speak, Ask yourself, “Is it kind?” When you have ask’d these questions three— True,—Necessary,—Kind,— Ask’d them in all sincerity, I think that you will find, It is not hardship to obey The command of our Blessed Lord,— No ill of any man to say; No, not a single word.
Mary Ann Pietzker – 1872