This is the question posed by the sign in front of Doylestown United Methodist Church. It sits on busy Swamp Road (aka Route 313) so many people pass it often. Personally, I am a member there and my children are very involved in different groups, so I’ve been known to pass that sign up to 10 times in a single day.
Ironically, my first thought when I read it was, “What? Not enough letters for the word ‘and’ before ‘necessary?” Then I mentally scolded myself, since those words were neither kind nor necessary. I’ve always been a firm believer that well-placed sarcasm is a viable form of communication, but guilt sometimes sets in when I’m in close proximity to God’s house and especially when I’m remarking on what is supposed to be something like a message from God.
In any case, I took the message home. When the love-based snarkiness being exchanged between my daughters drifted within my earshot, I called them to the dining room where I was working.
Me: “Grab a pen and a piece of paper. I need you to write something down.
Child: “Both of us?”
Child: “Can she do it? I’ll do it next time.”
Me: “Write. Now.”
Children: (heavy sighing, born of dreams of a less involved mother)
Me: “Are your words true, kind, necessary? Write that down.”
Child: “Are you going to write it down also?”
In fact, I did. I’ve taken it as a personal challenge. True, kind, and necessary are not easy benchmarks to maintain. Remember, I love sarcasm. (October is not only Domestic Violence Awareness Month, it is also Sarcastic Month.)
But imagine the greatness that could be achieved if we held all we spoke and wrote to those ideals. True. Kind. Necessary. We might actually have to think first before speaking, writing, emailing, or (dare I say) texting. These days, we fire off words and reap the repercussions later – sometimes in painful, hurtful ways.
In my opinion, true, kind, and necessary are ingredients of integrity and respect, two values that both I and A Woman’s Place hold dear. They are values that guide our work and our decision making. They are values that should guide our words. Imagine the possibilities.
ARE YOUR WORDS TRUE, KIND, NECESSARY?
Integrity: A Woman’s Place is of sound moral character and adheres to ethical principles.
Ifeoma U. Aduba