Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

Cape Cod

Posts Tagged ‘drama’

Drama at the Speed of Light

Teen drama. Very little of it at Casa Blanco right now (knock on wood), likely because everyone is now in their twenties, but I had an interesting conversation about this in the office with some grandparents talking about watching their teen grandkids being raised. We all had it, the drama. It seems to be a universal observation that it’s of a greater magnitude now. Why is that?

If you are of a certain age (like me) you communicated with your friends by telephone. You know, the one on the wall in the kitchen, typically the only one in the house, the one that you shared with everyone else in your family. I know, I know…those of you NOT of a certain age have only seen this on “Leave it to Beaver” re-runs on Family TV, but it was really like that.

Your teen drama took place primarily face-to-face in school, or transpired one-on-one on the phone at night. You had a limit to how long you could talk (your stinky brother wanted the phone), and the “phone game” of a story growing and evolving with each transmittal was the real deal because, well, there was only one call at a time.

Fast forward to 2017. Verrry fast forward. Teen drama, whether it’s a bunch of teenagers or a bunch of folks involved on Twitter, is indeed a much more intense phenomenon. It hits harder and faster, and it spreads at the speed of light because it TRAVELS at the speed of light. Cell phones, Twitter, Facebook, Text…drama transmittal is now exponentially faster so drama growth is no longer linear but exponential as well.

Actionable point? Eh, I dunno. I guess if you are a parent or grandparent it helps to understand why it is that your teen and young adult kids seem to be hit so much harder and so much faster when the same stuff you experienced hits them. As an adult exposed to your OWN drama, though, I do think this knowledge should give you pause, encourage you to actually pause when in the midst of this kind of thing.

Because you can’t un-ring a bell, and when you ring that bell in 2017 the sound travels at the speed of light, and whatever tune your tone rings forever in the vast electronic symphony hall. Teach your teens, but don’t forget yourself.

You’re a big kid now; slow it down.

Character Assassination

The White family lives by a very small number of credos, the most frequently stated one being: “less said, sooner mended.” We approach conflict, gossip, grudges and all types of ‘drama’ with this in mind. It’s amazing how often silly stuff, however hurtful or harmful, simply dissipates into the mist if you don’t talk about it or don’t respond to it. “Less said, sooner mended” works almost all of the time.

When it doesn’t work, or at least when we have opted not to invoke it, is when there is a clear effort at character assassination afoot. This is very different from gossip, however mean spirited. Character assassination is the purposeful placement of a negative untruth followed by the carefully planned encouragement of the propagation of that untruth until it becomes the default descriptor for the target of the character assassination. In effect it is premeditated murder of someone’s reputation.

You cannot ignore this.

How, then, to know the difference between simple gossip and true character assassination? Easy, I think. Gossip responds to “less said, sooner mended” before it reaches anyone whose opinion you truly value; character assassination sows seeds of doubt in an ever tightening ring of your relationships. Once this is identified and confirmed “less said, sooner mended” must be abandoned in favor of any and all manner of responses that might be necessary to defeat the attack.

Our lives are filled with gossip and drama. It is part of the human condition it seems. Upon leaving high school the vast majority of us will never be the victims of an attempted character assassination; we should approach almost all situations with this in mind, and accordingly consider “less said, sooner mended” our default setting. Life is easier and dramatically less stressful and more pleasant in this mode.

If, on the other hand, you sense those doubts coming closer within your circles, if you sense that every “less said, sooner mended” only frees that carefully planned untruth to grow unchecked…well…then you must commit. You must run TOWARD the story armed and ready to destroy that untruth with no reservations about any possible collateral damage as you move to its source. It should be clear from your response that you will brook no retreat along your way. Your adversaries in this battle you did not choose should know without doubt that the only regret at the end will be theirs.

So the White family continues to live by its long-time credo of “less said, sooner mended”. We encourage others to do the same. Life is easier because of it! Let no one mistake your kindness and gentle nature for weakness, though. Be clear that you know the difference between mere gossip and true character assassination. Let it be known that you will ignore the former, but fully commit to fighting the latter.

With no reserve, no retreat, and no regrets.