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OPINION: SHELLY BLANK — 10 thoughts on the actions of a disgruntled customer

| August 21, 2020 1:00 AM

1. All people are not ALL people. When you use the word “ALL” with regard to a group of people, it implies that you are including ALL the people in that category. For instance, this week my son was berated by an older customer at work (when he asked the customer to please wear his face mask, which is a part of my son’s job). The older man classified “ALL millennials” as “worthless.” The ironic part is, my son isn’t even a millennial.

Not only are they not worthless, millennials are not all the same.

2. Your words can be destructive. Think back on the words that have most impacted you in your lifetime, both positive and negative. Have those words ever become part of your “internal self talk?” I know the words I have repeated to myself over the years have not always been positive and they often come from things that were said to me that were often lies. They can lead a person to destruction.

Your words matter. You have to decide to use them for good, or for destruction. What do you want to be remembered for?

3. Your age does not mean you are entitled to share your advice. A wise friend of mine once said, “Now that my kids have moved out and are on their own, I told them that I would no longer give unwarranted advice. They would have to ask for advice if they want it. They are adults now.” Otherwise, advice that is unwarranted comes across as criticism.

Some “younger” individuals have had challenging life experiences and developed smarts that you, the older person, know nothing about. I have learned so much from the teenagers I work with — valuable, lasting lessons. Think on what you might be missing.

4. Social Media is not the gospel. Really. Check your sources. Check all sides of the “story.” Know your facts. Know your sources. Authors usually want to sway your thinking, so be a thinking person and check your sources.

Not all headlines are the truth.

5. Your “rights” do not give you permission to be a bully (or a jerk). Thank goodness we have our rights. However, having these freedoms, does not entitle any of us to be the definition of a bully, which is “a person who habitually seeks to harm or intimidate those whom they perceive as vulnerable.”

Ask yourself: Do I habitually demean younger people or a category of people? Am I intentionally or unintentionally causing harm with my words or actions? What is my motive behind what I am saying?

6. How do you expect the next generation to “behave?” As a public school teacher, I constantly hear from constituents in editorials, board meetings or school events about the expectations held for our future citizens. Common threads I have heard: people want our next generation to be a generation of empathetic, reasonable, critical thinking, fair, kind and problem solving individuals (I could go on).

How do you expect our youth to grow up to be what you want, if you do not model the expected behavior?

7. Would you want YOU in your classroom? Put yourself in the shoes of a classroom teacher and think about your words and actions. Would you want yourself as a student? Are you a rational, fact-checking, kind human being?

I have seen way too many adults behaving in a way that would warrant being sent to the principal lately. Think on that for a moment.

8. CNN, FOX News… Again, check all the news entities. Be informed. What do all sides have to say? Are you actually trying to hear from all sides? What sources do you prescribe to?

There are sources that are less biased. At least try to listen to multiple sides, and be informed about news.

9. Mental Health is not bull. It is time to stop calling mental health issues, names. People have mental health issues just like physical health issues. Let me put it to you plainly: Anxiety. PTSD and depression are conditions just like diabetes and asthma. They are not chosen or imagined. They are real. There are things we can do to help people with these emotional attributes — and it starts with you getting informed. Transversely, there are things you do that negatively impact the conditions…

Be informed.

10. Be Nice or Leave. If you are having a bad day … don’t take it out on the person who is trying to do their job. If you are frustrated, find a trusted friend or a therapist to share your frustrations. Talk about your concerns. Or … journal. Go for a walk. Listen to music. Pray. Meditate. Whatever it takes that will allow you to get your frustrations off your chest — but not spewed on an innocent bystander.

Just don’t take your issues out on the person who is out there trying to earn a living in a culture of unprecedented stress. Think before you speak or act.

Your words matter. They have lasting, positive or negative impacts.

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Shelly Blank is a Kootenai County resident.