Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A 24 Hour Challenge

We all remember when Thumper was reminded by his mother what she always taught him, right?  "If you can't say something nice.  Don't say nothing at all."  Of course we have all been taught this simple rule haven't we?  Hopefully we also teach it to our own children as well.  It's not something that gets taught in every home.  If it were, there would be no bullying and kindness would abound the world over.  

It just so happens that the Sunday before last, we were issued a challenge in our Relief Society class.  The challenge seemed simple at first:  to be nice for twenty-four hours.  But wait!  There's more.  This means, no criticism at all.  Which means you can't even criticize bad drivers!!  Oh did I mention you can't even use sarcasm!!!  I live and breathe sarcasm!!!  This was not going to be easy.  In fact, it was going to be hard, difficult, taxing, exhausting.  

I will be honest, I did not do it the first day or the second day.  On the third day I declared, "I quit!  I am not doing this!"  The fourth day came along, who knows what happened on that day.  All I know is I woke up on the fifth day and decided I would try again.  I had my share of bad drivers, questionable fashion choices seen at the grocery store, and then Verizon threw me a curve ball I wasn't ready for.  We were cut off, but not entirely.  They were kind enough to give me internet access to their website to pay the bill.  The really absurd thing about it was the total amount was not due until the end of the month.  So why cut it off?  I was nice.  I didn't call them names like I wanted to, nor did I post a scathing amount of hate on my FaceBook Wall as much as I wanted to.  I did tell anyone who would listen, but I didn't criticize.  I also did not use sarcasm.  This was no easy feat.  By the end of the day, I was cranky and I had a pile of homework on top of it.  I had to bite my tongue more than once.  I had to clarify a couple of times, that what I was saying was not meant as sarcasm, and at least once I asked, "Did that sound mean?  I wasn't saying it to be mean."  I made it.  I woke up the next day having gone the full 24 hours (because yes sleep counted) and surprisingly enough I didn't have an explosion of criticisms(particular to the bad drivers) or sarcasm.  I just was being...nice.  Now, I would be lying if I said I kept being that way from that time forth.  However, it was quite an interesting experiment.  I learned I could actually be kind even to the worst driver or the person who dresses questionably.  Yet, old habits die hard and I found myself slipping back into my old ways by the end of the day.  At least I know I can go 24 hours being nice.  Maybe I can try for 48 hours next time.

Can you go 24 hours without saying anything critical or sarcastic?