The recent popularity of TV personalities such as Dr. Phil and Judge Judy have one common denominator: plain talk. I don't know when we lost the ability for plain talk but it surely disappeared for a long time. Its reappearance is a welcome relief.
Some people involved in politics, counseling, and - dare I speak plainly? - advertising and public relations: all these and more, led us down the wrong path.
We coddled kids, excused criminals, created spin, specialized in denial - all to the detriment of simply speaking our minds.
We didn't even tell ourselves the truth! We lost something, something very important, in the process.
Our intentions were charitable; there was no malicious destination as we began the journey to our loss of plain language, of getting right to the point. We thought we were being kind, tactful, progressive. Along the way we stopped telling the truth. The truth, as noted in any court, means the whole truth and nothing but. What a concept. How refreshing!
While I'm pumping iron and eating lots of vegetables, I'm going to speak more plainly. I've never been a liar; I abhor liars. I've been one to put my head in the sand, however. I've been one to couch what I say with the aim of being kind, or diplomatic, or tactful. All three of these qualities are desirable, worthy attributes, but not at the expense of truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
It is okay to remain silent (although doing so leaves our position subject to any interpretation and sometimes is actually making a statement).
It is not okay to lie or mislead. It's not okay. Let's tell our children. Let's do better and show our children. Let's teach our children to take a stand.
Cheating, for instance, in school, in business, in marriage, is unacceptable. I'm appalled at those who say, "Everyone does it." Everyone does not do it. Nor should anyone tolerate it. How's that for plain talk?
Watch out if you don't want to hear plain talk from me. I hope I'll not be unkind, or lack all diplomacy, or be tactless. What I will be is straightforward. It feels right. Try it out.
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 39 years.
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