my sweet momma always said that you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. although she stood her ground, she rarely pushed back. well, maybe at my dad…i certainly heard her push back in that relationship. she was a woman before her time, struggling to be seen and heard…in relationship, in work, in the world. nevertheless, she led with kindness and generosity.
recently i surprisingly found myself in a situation where i felt the kind of civility that is needed to accomplish anything was lacking. instead it was aggressive, pointed, antagonistic. “when push comes to shove” implies escalation and this, indeed, was the case. instead of actual conversation, it was a push-shove back-and-forth. instead of communication, it was a shining example of what-not-to-do.
we drove past a passiton billboard on the way up north that read these words: when push comes to shove, don’t. civility is in you. what does a boorish push or a retorted shove accomplish other than an establishment of immaturity, a driving desire and play for power and an uncooperative non-collaboration?
civility is not that hard. it should be what we lead with. respecting others and their place in their world. we each get the same air to breathe and we each breathe in and out the same way. instead of escalating to shove or pushing yet harder, how might we fill our lungs with responses of peacefulness, thoughtfulness, fairness, appreciation, intelligent consideration, magnanimity, grace, even reconciliation. why must push come to shove? it needn’t.