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Mendon Musings

We Can Disagree without Being Disagreeable

I recently overheard a few people complaining about someone who started volunteering at an organization.

The new person, it seems, didn't do "it" the same way as the previous volunteer.

Their criticism just rubbed me the wrong way for several reasons.

First, while both of the complainers also were volunteers, they were rather loud with their criticism. Many more people heard it than just me, and I thought any one of them might tell the new volunteer – causing him, perhaps, to stop volunteering.

Second, the pair made no effort to seek out the new volunteer and offer suggestions to him. It could have been so easy for them to take the person aside and offer tips couched within some encouragement and thanks for stepping forward.

It seems that at every level of society today, we just tear each other down.

And, I keep remembering former Mendon Town Moderator Rolland Morin's famous saying at the start of each Town Meeting: "We can disagree without being disagreeable."

Imagine if the folks in Washington, D.C. practiced

that idea. They could voice their political disagreement without calling each other idiots and attacking each others' character. The TV talk shows could go back to offering discussions on issues, instead of verbal gladiators spewing vitriol at each other.

Maybe humor would even return to politics. Abraham Lincoln is said to have quite a sense of humor when out campaigning. Once accused by a woman of being "two- faced," he replied something like, "Look at this face. Do you think I'd want another like it?"

I believe we can all change the current climate by trying – in our own lives – to be less critical. Or, at least to be critical with kindness. If we all try, maybe we can start a movement that will work its way around the country.

It's really very simple. And, if you want a reminder, just drive by the building owned by Bethany Community Church that's located at the corner of Main and Central streets in downtown Milford.

You'll see a message painted in giant letters across the top of the building as you head from Milford toward Mendon: "Love Thy Neighbor."

Haven't we all heard that somewhere before?

Oh, to that new volunteer: Thanks for stepping forward. You may do it differently than the person before you, but your efforts are truly appreciated. Without you, we couldn't get the job done.


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