Being an avid sports fan and sports talk radio listener, I've heard several hours of conversation concerning Richard Sherman and the words he spoke following the Seahawks victory over the 49ers. Much I agreed with, but some I did not.
My daughters don't know who Richard Sherman is, but my son has inherited my love for sports and follows NFL football with a passion. If my son asks, here is what I would tell him...
- Find out who Richard Sherman is. Read his Wikipedia page. This will enable you to put his comments in the perspective of his life. Too often, we judge those around us based on rumor, gossip, or a single bad interaction. How would you like to be judged based on the worst thing you ever did? Do the homework, then draw a conclusion, if necessary.
- Avoid name-calling. "Thug" paints a picture in the hearer's mind and may ascribe qualities to the person that are inaccurate or unfair. Have you ever been called a name that labeled you as something you're not? Instead, discuss what occurred and put it into the proper context.
- Measure your words carefully. Only about one in a thousand people are skilled at delivering wise speech under pressure. Instead, when put on the spot, pause, collect your thoughts, and say something that conveys how you feel or what you believe without being inflammatory.
- Err on the side of kindness. We've all heard that unless we have something nice to say, don't say anything at all. Sometimes we have to deliver tough messages, but even at these times, we can be kind to the one receiving the message.
- Deliver words of praise publicly, deliver words of correction privately.
- Every word of criticism spoken about someone else should be accompanied by words about the person's strengths. Be fair.
- Realize that those in their youth say and do things that those of us with a few more years on our resume find deplorable. Too often we forget our own youth and all the stupid things that we said and did.
- If you claim Christ as your Savior, then strive to speak and act as He did. Save your strongest and harshest words for self-promoting, self-righteous blowhards.
I'm sure you have a few more to add. Let me hear from you. Have a great weekend! Bill