I've been reading a wonderful little book entitled "Choosing Civility...the 25 rules of considerate conduct," by P.M. Forni. This book should be required reading for everybody. Seriously. Here are a few rules...
- Pay Attention
- Be Inclusive
- Speak Kindly
- Respect Even a Subtle No
- Respect Other People's Time
- Don't Shift Responsibility and Blame
- and one of my favorites...Refrain from Idle Complaint
Mr. Forni tells us that while there are indeed legitimate complaints; idle complaining is the 'unwarranted spreading of misery.' It is concentrating on problems instead of solutions and living in a state of pessimism. He says."... pessimism is like trudging in the mud. When you complain you stick your unfortunate listeners in your mud and you drag them along with you for no good reason." Sound familiar? Sure did to me!
What I like about this little book is that he gives great ideas for redirecting your negative energies into something more positive; but it does take a little introspection and some willingness to change. He suggests that we first make a list of all of the things we are prone to gripe about.
If you lack the self-awareness to know what you are constantly griping about, ask your spouse, best friend, or co-workers. Believe me; they know. Oh my yes, they know. (And don't get your feelings hurt when they honestly tell you!)
Here's my partial list...uncooperative students, horrible parents of uncooperative students, hubby's long work day and commute, lack of time, being tired, a generation of people who feel 'entitled' to everything, TV programming...and much more.
Now, when you've finished the list...make a decision to stop complaining about one of your gripes for the whole month. When your month is completed, tackle the next item on your list and extinguish your complaining about that item. After 12 months, your griping should be under control. Does this mean that we just become Miss Suzie Sunshine and deny the existence of problems? Nope.
The other part of this process is that, while you are working on complaint-reduction; you will also be seeking to find some positive solutions for that problem. For example; if I'm working on my issues around uncooperative students; I will begin looking for ways to encourage cooperation. Perhaps I can talk to other educators about how to deal with the problem. I can go to the library and find some books on the subject. Or I can try to find out if the student is having personal problems that are contributing to the problem.
In any case, once I motivate myself to solve a problem rather than whine about it, I move from being a victim to a victor.
Learn to accept in silence the minor aggravations, cultivate the gift of taciturnity, and consume your own smoke with an extra draft of hard work, so that those about you may not be annoyed with the dust and soot of your complaints. William Oser