Share your toys – Play nice!

We are becoming more divided and intolerant and we have to do something about it! I read an article today that got me to thinking about the whole issue of decorum and respect for each other. An NDP member of parliament is calling for more decorum in the house of commons, especially during Question Period. You can read the article by clicking this link.

Just as sports stars serve as examples and inspirations to viewers, so too, do our elected representatives in the House of Commons. Not such a bad place to start to change behaviour. Obviously, Members are elected from different parts of the country and different parties with very different views on how to govern. What we need to see is a return to vigorous debate on the differing approaches with respect for Members with an opposing point of view, who after all, were also elected by the people! That is what this Member is advocating. In fact, it is what all the parties and leaders have committed to while running for office. It has not translated to reality.

Those who know me will not be surprised to hear this: “Don’t tell me, show me!” We don’t need to start another round of recriminations about who is worse in behaviour in the House of Commons. Rather, each Member must take the lead. OK, start with the Official Opposition since they are the ones raising it. Just change behaviour! Lift the rest up by example. We have a tendency to lower our behaviour to the lowest common denominator. When we have an influence that lifts us up, we are just as likely to rise up ourselves. Be a lifter. Be what you want others to be. Yes, “do onto others as you would have them do into you!”

We can still have vigorous debate and in the end agree to disagree. The majority of votes will carry the day. Just keep in mind that if you win by diminishing the other side or causing the other side to feel that they were not even heard or respected in any way – you are creating a world where just the biggest and strongest bully wins. And, there is always someone bigger and stronger than you out there. Play nice.

On a personal level, we need to look at our own behaviour. Be an example. When we differ on a subject, let’s be respectful of the other point of view. Let’s always keep in mind that what we once all “knew” has often proven inaccurate over time (the world actually does revolve around the sun; the world is actually round; all matter is made up of molecules and atoms; and so on). Keep minds open. Argue your point of view. If neither of us is going to change views, let’s accept that fact and move on. Play nice.

While we are at it, let’s remember to live well, love always and laugh out loud every day.

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