Thought for the Month – September 2017

Everyday experiences, social media and someone learns a lesson the hard way

THOUGHTS FOR SEPTEMBER FROM ELLIS COLLIER

I daresay you all know the words from the bible teachings  “Love they neighbour as thyself, or in everyday language, treat people as you would wish to be treated yourself.  These in my view are the key for following a life of tolerance and respect for others way of life and beliefs; whether it be at work, their religion cultural or political views.

Historically, intolerance or no respect for others always existed; articles in newspapers or magazines were used or “poison pen letters” by people who felt they had an “axe to grind” against ethnic minorities, other  religions or those involved in politics.  Sadly today by means of facebook, twitter or other social media, abuse is widespread by so called “internet trolls”.  The “whole world” can now rapidly receive messages electronically and people can often be traumatised by the abuse.

Another disturbing intolerance appearing on social media was the targeting of abuse of political party candidates at the last election; almost as if some of those sending the messages felt they had a monopoly of thought; there was actual hate.  Historically there was an agreement to disagree, the opposition’s job was to oppose and harry the Government. In pre social media times there didn’t seem to be the hate comments some MP’s received recently.

Sometimes being a Christian now receives derision. The media feel they can denigrate the church and Christian’s feelings don’t matter. An MP who has deeply held views about Christian values and the bible teachings can be ridiculed.

More recently is the tragic case of the small child with severe brain deterioration.  The doctors had given their medical assessment and the parents naturally tried to do whatever they could to obtain other treatment.  They were only doing what any parent might do; clinging to the hope that a recovery was possible even perhaps by experimental medical treatment.  The doctors at the hospital received death threats; it seemed to be trial by public opinion.  The whole episode was “hijacked” by some using social media and one judge said that people were criticising, but they did not have all the medical facts.  People were demonstrating and shouting “Justice” for the baby concerned.  I must confess I could not understand what those comments meant.  What did Justice mean in this case?

To those making death threats to the staff at the hospital, would they like to be treated as the doctors were?

Did they have any expert medical knowledge?

Did they think about the feelings of other medical professionals involved?

Did they have medical training and all the facts ……..No!

It was so easy to use the media without considering the feelings of those who were targeted ie those doing it had no respect for others.

Finally, a lesson for treating others with respect was sadly learned at work by one very difficult manager.  He was  aggressive and had a bad reputation before he arrived on site by transfer from another.  He didn’t consider others’ views, those working for him felt unwanted.  The regime at the time did not seem to have difficulty with this ethos…..   Ah! but many things in life can change and the regime did!

Things then came difficult for him; the site management had a more consultative style.  Senior staff had “seen the light” and were perhaps unbeknowingly applying “treat people as you would wish to be treated yourself”.  His star had fallen from the sky and eventually he resigned.  I’ll call the person Joe Smith.  One “wag” said where is Joe holding his leaving do – In a phone Box ?  Although initially it seemed funny it was a very sad comment.  A lesson was learned the hard way.

So my thought this month is that each person is an individual, they have feelings, worries, want to enjoy life, be part of the community and just need respect.  I wish more people on social media would please heed this