07.23.12 Truth & Wisdom
BY Jessy Forsmo-Shadid
In school, we learn about the people who weren’t afraid to speak up. We learn about fearless leaders that gave this country our name. But after we’re done talking about Martin Luther King Jr. and George Washington, we are taught a contradiction. “Don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all”. I’ve tried my hardest to live by this rule. I’ve kept my mouth shut and my hands tied behind my back just so I didn’t say what I wanted to say. But nowadays, I think that I’ve been taught wrong. I think that this rule does apply to some extent, but I don’t think it applies to everything. Sometimes, people need to hear the truth, whether it’s nice or not. Sometimes, people need to say what’s on their minds whether it’s good or bad.
I think about the times where this rule could really bite people in the butt if they didn’t speak up or say the things that needed to be said. Peer pressure is everything today. More people are trying to convince their friends to get high to the point where they’re dancing in the street naked to Bob Marley or get drunk until you’re puking on some stranger’s floor in a different country. People are easily getting stepped on and most don’t take the time to do anything about it. Bullying is also a big issue. There are too many people who are living by this rule and are getting hurt, physically and emotionally, every day. When is it time to change this rule? When is it time to speak up?
I’m not saying that this rule doesn’t apply to anything. I understand when it’s a parent talking to their fighting children. I understand this rule when people are fighting just to fight. I actually think the rule of “Don’t say anything if you don’t have something nice to say”, applies more to celebrities than anything, but other than that, this rule should be taken down or altered. If not taken down, though, someone should explain that this rule doesn’t relate to every situation. There are times where you can’t always say the nicest words. I’m not saying that you should be completely disrespectful, but there are situations where you just have to stand up and speak up regardless.
The other day, my friend Damon and I had a conversation about the things we wished we had said in the past few years in high school.
This year, we’re going to become seniors and feel as if we should become the people that we have strived so long to be. We started thinking about all the things that we wished we would’ve said to the people around. We thought about all the situations we have been through and the difference it would’ve made if we had just spoken up. It’s a big thing, speaking up. It can determine whether you’re going to be in a sticky situation or not. It defines who you are and maybe even how much you respect yourself. This year, for our very last year in our hometown, we are deciding to expose who we really are. Even if it means breaking the rule of “Don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all”. I know that I’m not the only one that has kept my mouth shut for too long. But I know it’s time for me to stand up and speak up.
Featured image via HowardLake on Flickr