Sunday, September 30, 2012

{Kindess Never Hurt Anyone}

There's something that's been on my mind lately that I'd like to share with you. In the midst of this political season, like every other, the divisive and razor sharp judgements abound on the internet. People grow bold with the anonymity of the internet, and comfortable with words exchanged via social media that I think would be much more hesitantly shared in person. I'm not, however wanting to talk about politics today, as it's not something I like to engage in as openly as others. Today I'd like to talk about grammar.

First, I'd like to throw out a LARGE disclaimer that I am NOT perfect, and I'm positive that you'll find at least one spelling or grammatical error in each of my posts.

With that out of the way, I have to say I've come a long way in terms of grammar. I never considered myself a great writer, but with time and education I feel that I can at least communicate effectively using the written word. Being a teacher, I've learned all the rules and mechanics and stay familiar with them as I've taught English this past year. I've been friends with people who have been sticklers for correct grammar, and have pushed myself to improve. I've even been accused of being one myself every now and again.

When I met Jeff, we were at very different places in our education and outlooks on what we deemed important in life. He's a self-described street savvy person, who has never found it easy learning from books in a traditional setting. In my two years of knowing him I have seen him push himself to read more, learn more, and especially since we've been in China, write more.

Admittedly early on I may have been overly critical and insensitive with reading and editing his initial essays and papers for class. It took humbling on my part to realize that he was doing his best to better himself in a skill that was never properly encouraged or nourished by educators and those around him. After a re-evaluation of how I approached reading Jeff's writing, He started to write more. He's written several passages of experiences he's had since living here in China. Some of them have been put on this blog. They started out simply, and sometimes confusing. As he's written more, he's improved on his mechanics and spelling, and flow. I'm always impressed by how much each piece he writes seems to reflect the kind of communication that Jeff is so great at in person. While he still  has growing yet to do, I am so very proud of his willingness to push himself to step out of his comfort zones to perpetually learn, hone his ability to effectively communicate through written word, and share with others his hidden potential.

I know that to some of you simple grammar and spelling mistakes can be annoyances as you browse your news feeds and blogs. I've been there. Today I hope to ask you to think a little more carefully before you criticize a person that you might consider ignorant, or careless in their language. Everyone is in their own stage of learning and you never know how hard someone may be working to shine through. It's easy to type a snide quip at another s expense, but once said, clicked, and sent - like spoken word, it cannot be retrieved.

A great rule of thumb: Kindness never hurt anyone [on the internet].


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