With the world twisting and turning from one extreme to another environmentally, politically and culturally, I find myself reflecting upon the credos that helped form the character of modern generations. People of various faiths as well as many who do not consider themselves religious will refer to the widely known Golden Rule urging humans to resist doing to others what they would not wish done to them. It is likely the most commonly quoted rule and least embraced.

A second tenet, often aimed at children, says: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything.” While not a bad suggestion for many situations, saying something nice instead of carefully saying something honest can be misleading or encouraging of a behavior best left unsupported. A harmless example comes to mind from a pastor who told of a thoughtful parishioner serving him elderberry pie and he, not wanting to disappoint in spite of his distaste, complimented it only to be rewarded later with a whole pie. In these days of everyone speaking their minds on social media without some forethought and preparation, the results often do more harm than the pie error.