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Often the Best Thing to Do; Always the Best Thing to Say. Wednesday September 9, 2015

We have had a young German lad staying with us for the past week. His English is excellent and his knowledge of the European political situation and history puts ours to shame. His plan is to study international law at university and all I can say is, "World, watch out – Jan is on his way!"

Normally I would not discuss politics with a guest, not if I want to maintain a cordial relationship, but seeing as this is his area of study I thought I would ask what his opinion was of Angela Merkel.

"She is doing an excellent job!" he said, and laughed. "Considering that her job is to do nothing."

Which reminded me of President Coolidge who is reputed to have said that nothing was often a good thing to do and always a good thing to say. (I believe, during his presidency, he pursued a course of masterly inactivity.)

Not always, however. We have to consider also that evil flourishes when good men do nothing.

But, on the whole, I rather think "nothing" has a lot to offer.

My mother always says, "If you can't find anything nice to say then say nothing." And, when I hear my daughters employing their venomous tongues on each other and occasionally on me (they wouldn't dare say those kind of things to their father) I think my mother is very wise.

In recent months, especially coming up to the election, I have found myself disagreeing violently with the political posts some of my friends have been uploading to social media. I have had to restrain myself from either a) commenting in a negative fashion or
b) uploading posts representing my own political views. I acknowledge that their views are set in stone, as are mine. In the interests of maintaining those friendships, silence is my best ally.

And what of my good friend who when, going through a bad time recently, found himself surrounded by Job's comforters? You know the ones – they do more harm than good with unwanted advice, sensible suggestions and snide complacency. Wouldn't we all rather that friend who comes and says helplessly, "I don't know what to say – I'm so sorry I can't do anything to help..." but yet who stays with us, wordlessly offering comfort and tissues?

So words can be silver, but sometimes silence is golden.

And is always best accompanied by a hug.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Melissa Wed, Sep 9th 2015 @ 7:18am

Miss Mary,
I simply love your blogs and your thoughts. They always inspire me, and I save them in a special folder. So thank you! Lots of love.

Bearofliddlebrain Wed, Sep 9th 2015 @ 10:00am

Ah, Mary, Mary, these are wise words, oh wise woman! Jan is very lucky to have you and your family to stay with and to discuss scary wary politics sound like you have been ve ve sensible in your approach to an emotive subject. I've found over the years that it's best not to discuss politics or religion with friends - everyone gets so upset and uptight by it's not worth upsetting the apple cart!

Anonymous Wed, Sep 9th 2015 @ 12:22pm

Perfect advice on a day when a friend has just told me her mother is critically ill. My blotting paper shoulders are at the ready...Thank you, Mary. Go well!

the room above the garage Wed, Sep 9th 2015 @ 1:45pm

I agree! The best help is often just hearing... This reminds me of the little cartoon drawing of helping someone with depression. If you haven't seen it before I think you'll like it. I hope this link works...its so huge! Love ratg x

The Gardener Wed, Sep 9th 2015 @ 1:58pm

Xenophobia! Mary,we who lived through the war have had to work hard to clear our minds of indoctrination. The only good German was a dead German. Even after the war, in comics they replaced Indians as the 'baddies'. We are near Brittany, hot bed of resistance, and of extreme acts of sabotage. The Germans responded with horrendous acts of vengeance. People here of our age, to this day, (devout Catholics they may be) will not, can not? forgive and forget. I have met loads of lovely Germans - but also the bullet headed one driving a huge Merc on continental motorways and deliberately 'harrassing' a woman driver. We all know our debt of gratitude to the Americans, but after the war, when we bombed Brits queued for the slightest commodity, the Yanks came and threw their weight and dollars about. Resentment was rife. We are about an hour's drive from the landing beaches. I have met Americans, in their 50's, who think there were ONLY Americans on D-Day. They've read no history books, and believe Hollywood actors won the war. I'm not being cynical. A delightful, clever American friend said that if you meet enough stereotypes of a nation then you automatically believe they're all like that. Luckily, in our garden, we've welcomed so many lovely people of every nation perhaps the bogie has been laid? Cries of joy and hugs abound, they bring me flowers just for welcoming them into my garden. The gardener

Mary Wed, Sep 9th 2015 @ 8:11pm

Thank you for your comments (and I don't seem to be able to reply individually; my browser maybe...) Love that nest cartoon RATG! I could have done with it today after driving 6 hours back from Somerset.

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