My dear mother was always worried about what the neighbors think. She would ask my son what he was thinking when he hung his swimsuit in the open window of her two story Avalon home. “Drying my swimsuit,” is the obvious answer, and the hidden pitfall was what would people think?

I overheard a conversation the other day; two women were discussing which sunglasses they liked the best. One lady like a modern pair as the lenses were soft and it felt good—but thought she looked funny in them, so the best ones lost the contest.

Older people invariably dribble some particle of food on their fronts, leaving a spot or two. “You have a spot on your blouse! (like I didn’t know!) “ or my favorite one, “You have a bugger in your nose.” Just give your elderly friend a kleenex and spare the why.

An African American boy was sitting at a table alone, so my female friend went over and sat with him. Other people were verbally and non-verbally expressing their surprise. Later, I asked her if she noticed their judgments, “Yes, I don’t like to see prejudice in any form. And, what other people think of me is none of MY business.”

People judge—it’s become a sport! You are accountable to yourself; can you live with the choices you’ve made at the end of each day? Were they kind? Were they loving? Were they necessary? We must teach and demand kindness and respect from our children—and they won’t follow unless we lead.

Please copy and share with friends and family

Scott A. McDaniel photo