Sunset in Jamaica,Queens



All of us have heard what happens when one whispers something in some ones ear. The story that is told is precise and to the point. The story teller knows exactly how to use his voice to make the story fun and exciting. At the end the listener is asked to pass the story along. So with everyone they talk to, they continue to tell that precise and to the point story.

It’s not long before the whole town knows the story. After a week the original story teller goes to the last person to hear this fantastic tale. But to the story teller’s surprise when he asks that last person to repeat what he heard, he finds that the story has changed. With each person a different part of the story is highlighted. With each person something is added or taken away. By the time the originator hears the story he invented, it is completely different from the one that was whispered in that first person’s ear.

This is what happens when we practice gossiping. By the time a story gets to our ears it most likely completely different from the original version.  After all there is no way to know how many ears and mouths this story has travelled through. So there is no way to know the real facts.

There is also no way to verify the information and if we are not careful we could begin repeating this story. We could be part of a long line of people repeating a story that is not true.

Sometimes these stories are very harmless. At other times these stories could destroy lives.

I like watching the news. I watch it on the local television channels and I also watch on cable. In most cases the reporters site the source where their stories came from. At other times, when the sources don’t want to be identified, the term “reliable source” is used.

In every case it is important for the news reporter to be trusted. If we don’t trust that him/her then we will go to someone or somewhere else to find out about those stories that affect our lives.

For me it’s important that I trust those reporters because I need accurate information.

For example, let’s examine the weather. It can be very uncomfortable if the weather person didn’t tell the viewer, that it will be rainy and cold today. I could go outside without my umbrella, wearing a tee shirt and shorts.

If a major storm is approaching and I’m not prepared with the right information, I could put myself and others in danger.

To make sure I have the complete information, I verify what is being told to me. This means that I will go to other television stations to see what they say about the subject. If the others say the same things or similar things, then I can feel confident that the information I have is accurate. Now when I leave home I will be properly dressed and have the proper equipment that I need to get me through the day. If the report is that a major storm is coming, I have the option to not go out at all.

It is my opinion that gossipers are news reporters and it is important they share credible information. It is also my opinion that it is impossible for them to share credible information because there is no way for them to know how many transformations the story has gone through before it got to them.

I don’t make many New Year’s resolutions but this year I decided I would not get involved in any gossip.

This came about because I was a victim. Someone began a gossip campaign against me. The story had its basis in fact but a very important part was left out. That part would have changed the complexion of the whole story. Perhaps some would have understood what was going on. Perhaps their friendly smile would not have turned into a disapproving frown.

This was a very embarrassing part of my life and I really didn’t want or need people to come to conclusions about me regarding this story.

There was nothing I could do. The story was out there. There were those who were on my side. There were others who let the story change their relationship with me. That frown meant that they were now looking at me through the film of that story.

In the middle of this embarrassment I began to remember all those times when I was the one who started the story.  I also remember being the one who continued giving a story life.

How many times over the years did I victimize someone? How many relationships were changed because of my loose lips?

I have to take responsibility for my actions. When someone comes to me and it appears that they are going into gossip mode, I work hard to get out of the way. If I just can’t get out of the way, I make sure that the story dies with me. I will not repeat it to anyone.

I also have to take responsibility with stories that begin with me. There is no need to tell the world about every event of my life. I have to work through my uncomfortabilities with others, silently.

Being responsible means that I have to be careful of what I say and who I say it to.

I am not going to participate in gossip.


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