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The things my mother told me (before Facebook)

16 Feb 2020

My Mum died when I was 22, a long time ago now and well before Facebook.  She was, in my eyes, a pillar of wisdom, a fountain of knowledge, and most of what she told me, still sticks.  But there is one thing that still rings in my ears today “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

How wrong she was.

As a little girl growing up in the 60’s, perhaps it was what she thought was best. I went to an all girls boarding school and amongst all the reading, writing and arithmetic there was sewing, deportment and home economics!

What I do know now is tough conversations are hard, but they’re often needed. Silencing our thoughts, feedback and criticism can harbour resentment, but more than that, it doesn’t help us improve, learn or get better at what we do. I still hate the tough conversations, it still doesn’t come naturally to me and I think, deep down, we are all ‘people pleasers’ on some innate human level. That said these tough conversations need to happen but on a personal and private level, out of earshot of others and with a level of dignity, respect and empathy. But most of all - face to face.

What I am most astonished with is the thoughtless interaction and public commentary across social media that I witness daily.  By that, I mean, the opinionated bullying, belittling, and hatred. So many people are quick to pass comments, to judge or to take sides, with little regard for the recipient.

What my mother also said was “Everyone has a narrative.”

How wise she was.

For those of you that followed last week’s local Adelaide story - 

I’ll call it the four C’s (Costello, Cornes, Copyright, Creative), never has this been more evident. Creative ownership and copyright is a murky space and while I don’t want this to open up another debate on the subject (so please don’t), I have to say the comments about the Cornes from so many people across all channels went beyond the pale. It was nasty, just nasty. I felt ashamed that a community could be so blatantly unkind. Cosi, to his credit, did publicly called for an end to it and asked the public to stop on Friday (and on radio). Whatever the outcome, I think even he felt that enough was enough. So in the words of my mother perhaps this is what she meant when she said, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

As always, my opinion only, comment if you like, but do remember the things my mother told me!

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