If You Can’t Say Anything Nice About A Person, Ignore Them Till They Cry
by Bobby Breslin
My parents’ job is to teach me right from wrong and boy are they strict. Of course they’re right about most things and I appreciate all they are teaching me in life especially that if you can’t say something nice about a person, ignore them till they cry.
Such sage advice like this was impressed upon me at a very young age. Like most kids I rebelled at first and hurled my fair share of insults at my classmates, peers, teachers, grandparents and other mall patrons but my parents put the kibosh on that as soon as I came home ten times with related injuries like smashed lips, missing hair patches, various welts and bitten ear lobes. That’s when they taught me that ignoring people and not caring about them is the right thing to do when you can’t say anything nice about them.
My parents also walked the walk and talked the talk. Unlike other parents who too often resort to the old “do as I say, not as I do,” my parents modeled the behavior they wanted to instill. Let me tell you that hours and hours alone taught me the right morality. I soon began to treat others the same way and found out that, true to my parents teaching, ignoring people and complete apathy toward them is so much better than insults.
Take for instance Ms. Straiko at school. I used to just insult Ms. Straiko to her face and behind her back on the playground and after the detentions started piling up my parents had a nice sit-down with me and explained to me that while Ms. Straiko is indeed a complete buffoon who has no business teaching kids and will most likely be fired within months due to some sort of alcohol-at-lunch/sex-with-a-student/making-meth-at-home incident, it’s just not right not say something nice about her. Instead they taught me to ignore her as if she is invisible and be completely unavailable of any attempts she makes to interact with me and never, ever say anything to her or make eye contact of any sort. Let me tell you, that indeed was the ethical thing to do. With my parents’ teaching leading the way, and themselves not talking or looking at me for a week, I ignored Ms. Straiko like she had cooties – never a word, never a look, nothing for weeks. And when I was called to the principal’s office to talk about my complete lack of learning, I was able to simply blame Ms. Straiko and it all worked out because she got fired. I didn’t see it but I know she cried.
It’s like a win-win because the lesson was learned by all parties involved. It’s nice to know that I have my whole life ahead of me but have this social tidbit of wisdom tucked away. Thanks Mom and Dad! Mom? Dad?