Be Truthsayers and Folkbuilders, not Naysayers and Blamelayers

All of us have ideals in mind and heart. The world we live in, though, is far from perfect. Organizations are not perfect. People are not perfect. I am not perfect. Neither are you. We continue to see some people expressing their desire to do good and be good, and perhaps posting a thing or two on that theme from time to time. This is laudable, and we ought to encourage such efforts when we encounter them. Not all seem to think in this manner, though. It seems that for every good post I see, there will be ten times the number of negative remarks about it. Ugly facts will be thrown up to smear the reputations of the people and organizations who put up good posts. Those facts are facts, of course. The people who indulge in finger-pointing are most certainly right. However, people do change over time, for better or for worse. It is incumbent upon all of us to always praise and highlight the good while at the same time pointing out the bad and appealing to the conscience to redirect people back to what is good. We all need to be Truthsayers and not Naysayers.

3M Ethical 2016What is a Truthsayer? Someone who always upholds the truth, of course. Who upholds truth in a manner liberally laced with Compassion. A few days ago, I was commenting on someone’s LinkedIn post about how 3M had been awarded “World’s Most Ethical Company” for 2016. I had done a cursory search and found that both current and former employees had tended to describe their employer, 3M, in good light. In the comments thread of the LinkedIn post, someone brought to light some of the wrongs that 3M had been part of in the past, and questioned how ethical 3M as a company could actually be. Well. Hands up those who have never lied, never cheated, never stolen anything, never gossiped about others, never had a vice? Not too many hands, I see. Am I defending 3M? No. They don’t pay me to write good things about them. Does 3M have faults? Of course. It’s made up of people, and all people have faults. In fact, it’s a wonder the company doesn’t have even more faults when you consider that it’s made up of people! Should we spend the time and energy to go after their faults? Of course not. Let’s encourage the good, point out the bad, and encourage change for the better. That is what Truthsayers ought to be doing. Naysayers just “Nay” to everything. Naysayers have their own agenda, whether it is to make themselves look better than whoever it is they “nayed” or simply to tear down so that another entity can rise up. If you try to encourage a naysayer towards good, the naysayer is very likely to dig deeper and find out more flaws with the victim being “nayed.” Do your best, but if the naysayer is not persuaded, rebuke and leave them to their own “nayings.” Your truthsaying will be needed elsewhere. Truthsayers do not waste time with people bent on tearing down. They go where building up occurs.

In the same vein, we ought to be “Folkbuilders” and not “Blamelayers.” Yes, people will be at fault, people will be in the wrong, and this will continue. In fact, it will become worse. Point out the bad to be avoided, but then also encourage and, if you can, enable, people to turn to what is good. That’s how we raise children. The same principle applies to others. The difference is in the intensity and time spent. More intense and more time spent with children, of course. And have some to spare for others. After all, Sun Tzu said “Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look on them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death.”

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