Don’t be a dick.
Mom’s Rule #379. Also, a pretty good life lesson. An easy one to remember, and can apply to anyone, anything, at almost anytime.
Okay, not all parents would agree this is an appropriate rule, but if you ask my kids, this one has been one of my top five, especially in the teenage years. Seems so easy it almost comes across too simple. But in today’s world, where we think nothing of blasting off nasty comments to strangers, or even ‘friends’, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and god know’s what other social media platform, and when we can watch the yellow-haired, yellow-bellied man-child spew whatever he wants to whomever he chooses, and unleash all kinds of hateful rhetoric under the guise of President, it seems not being a dick is painfully difficult to adhere to.
For every kind and positive thing I see on the Internet or television, I am blasted by at least triple that in negative, nasty things; that is just the stuff I notice. And I’m an adult, who isn’t (or possibly shouldn’t be) on social media or surfing the net as much as my children. Imagine what they see and hear all day long? Bullying has always been around, but it is more apparent in today’s world where a child cannot go home and simply retreat from the horrible events at school. No, they are tormented 24 hours a day, via text and Snapchat and social media. It’s easy to say, “don’t let your child near technology then.” but we all know that doesn’t work. Like a moth to a flame, even a hateful one, the kids will continue to endure it, unable to cope, because we seemed to have forgotten how to teach our kids to. Instead, we carry on with our own dick behaviour, mostly unaware of our children’s issues; of course when we do learn about them, we go full speed ahead, taking over and basically rendering the child useless, fighting their battles for them. We just end up being a bigger, more adulty dick in a school full of dicks.
I realize this post sounds harsh at best, and ironically I probably come across as a dick. I am also not perfect and struggle with my own Mom Rule on a daily basis; my son will gladly tell me: ‘don’t be a dick’ when I let my own attitude get the best of me. This is a reminder that we are all capable of less than exemplary behaviour, and always have been. I just think it was easier to hide it. Years ago, ‘dick behaviour’ was actually used against others because it was accepted, and certain dick moves that weren’t were then done behind closed doors and white picket fences across the country. We didn’t have Internet and cable news channels to bombard us with people being dicks all day long. We didn’t have Netflix and HBO that could give us glorified people who were colossal dicks on a grand scale. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am currently obsessed with Showtime’s ‘Ray Donovan’, and I’m pretty sure he is the King of All Dicks from here to eternity!
We had come so far as a collective society; yes, we still had a lot of work to do, but we had abolished slavery, women have been able to vote, we were accepting gay marriage, and minorities of all types were gaining their voice. And then shit happened. We can’t just blame one big ‘oops’ in American politics on an entire shift in direction, but voting in a big, loud, self-entitled Dick to the Oval Office of the Free World sure as hell spear-headed a U-turn we didn’t see coming until it was too late. And now someone who has clearly never heard, let alone been told: “Don’t be a dick”, is not only running the country but is also the leader of the club that has never learned how not to be dicks. The haters, the whiners, the nostalgic racists and sexists yearning for the ‘good ole days’ where women and black people couldn’t do anything without some sort of permission; the bitter members of the Dick Club who believe immigrants and lesbians and pot heads are ruining their great country and some even taking the jobs that their own children wouldn’t be caught dead doing. These prime examples of the Dick Philosophy are no longer griping to bartenders or at the TV in their homes. No, they are now out in the open, in the public, on the internet, because we have taken so many painful steps backwards and have allowed hate, anger, intolerance and ignorance become visible, vocal and in some places, acceptable.
Regardless of your religious beliefs, your political position, your ethnic and moral background, free speech should never be muffled, but we could stand to be reminded that just because we are allowed to say what we want, doesn’t mean it’s necessary.
Our kids are supposed to be decent and rule-abiding, learning about manners, acceptance, tolerance and of course, kindness. All of these are essential life lessons we all know. For some, this rule might come by a different title, but in my house, it was simply put: Don’t be a dick.
Never has there been a time where we could use a few simple childhood rules to remind us of how to behave. Like “don’t pull girls’ hair” or “take turns”, these schoolyard gems harken back to a time when we seemed to learn and abide by rules like we actually cared.
Don’t be a dick. Can’t get any simpler than that.
P.S. To all the men named Dick, I apologize beforehand. In my defense, I didn’t name you. 🙂