Friday, June 17, 2011

Just what does that mean, "mean what you say?"

Isn't it just like "say what you mean?"

Sort of. Well, not really. One is about clarity, and the other is about intent. Say what you mean to be clear. Mean what you say to be sincere. Words have great power, and more dangerous than the wordsmith is the person who speaks carelessly. Mean what you say when you say it. Otherwise, what's the point?

Unless of course, you are being sarcastic. Or you are twelve.

I recently spent time with two absolutely cool twelve-year olds. They are extremely polite, intelligent, thoughtful and fun for twelve year olds. But if you beat one of them at a game (any game), the most likely first response is, "I hate you." Said with a smile of course, and I knew they didn't mean it (and it didn't prevent me from trying to beat them, even though they mostly beat me -- Dance Dance Revolution Hottest Party 3 is not for the faint of heart). I resisted the urge to correct them, to lecture them. (They are sweet kids, and they will outgrow this phase.) "I hate you" is  a pretty powerful statement, and not one to be used lightly in my opinion. But when you are twelve, if things aren't going your way, you hate it. It's that simple. I (sort of) remember being twelve. I believe I hated things that didn't go my way, a trend that lasted well into adulthood. In fact it is only in the past decade that I realize that flippant "I hate you's," "You suck's," and "I'm through with you's" have more power than I mean them to. Even in jest, these sentiments can hurt, and I realized that if I ever have to use the phrase, "I didn't mean to hurt you, I was only joking," I probably shouldn't have said it in the first place.

So mean what you say.

Now that the basic tenents of my four good ideas have been outlined, future blogs will explore the many ways that people alll over the world succeed or fail at these four good ideas and the repercussions that ensue.

Anthony Weiner, former NY congressman, is a good place to start. He could have been where he was, in a world where he was respected and influential. Instead he was on Twitter showing and sharing Way Too Much. He could have wanted what he had, a loving wife, a successful career, self-respect. Instead he wanted attention to be paid to his tighty-whitey-clad balls. He could have initially said what he meant when asked about the pictures of his tighty-whities. Instead he lied. He did mean what he said when he said, "I am announcing my resignation from Congress...".