Today, in my “Expressions of Gratitude Post” I am grateful for a lesson that I learned many years ago while I was a college student.
My first semester in grad school one of my professors gave a lecture on “prudence“. It was an awesome lecture and I don’t remember much of the details but I remember the theme and the context in which it was discussed. It has stayed with me over time.
Prudence. What is it? Do you have it? It’s certainly not a commonly used word. I guess it could be a woman’s name, but I’m not talking about her.
Prudence is defined by Webster’s dictionary as careful good judgment that allows someone to avoid danger or risks. It goes on to say prudence is the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason. It is also used in the bible, most notably in Proverbs 8 verse 12. It says that wisdom dwells with prudence.
I’m sure you are wondering where I am going with this. There is a point here, I promise. This past Saturday was the Memorial Service for Dr. Maya Angelou, and I missed it. It was our family fun day, so my whole day was committed to spending quality time with my family. I forgot to DVR it so I took to the internet to find some clips. I found the clip of our First Lady Michelle Obama giving a tribute on CNN’s website. It was eloquent and heart warming.
After the video ended, I somehow made the mistake of scrolling down to the comments section. I generally avoid the comments. People can exercise their first amendment rights all day long but I don’t have to read it. Somehow I allowed myself to get sucked in. After I read the first comment, I kept scrolling in disbelief.
The comments were judgmental, political, hateful, critical and just plain unnecessary. I suppose it’s just inevitable on the internet. I don’t know why I’m surprised. One of the comments declared Dr. Angelou’s work as second-rate and referred to her as a former prostitute. Why would anyone make those types of comments on a site where someone so respected is being memorialized? The internet makes it easy for people to be bold and careless especially when hiding behind a computer screen. I’ve learned to focus on circumstances that I can control, and this is not one of them. But I had to put my two cents in on MY blog. I refuse to waste my time going back and forth bickering with someone on-line.
Now back to prudence. It really doesn’t matter what you call it. Some of us call it home training, or manners. It’s the things you learned as a child from your parents and others who were influential in your upbringing. Even if you disagree with something, use reasonable judgment, be rational, use discretion and discipline to know when it’s appropriate to say certain things or to demonstrate a specific behavior. Isn’t that what we teach our kids?
Like many women, I am inspired by Dr, Angelou’s legacy and her words of encouragement. The legacy is in her journey that she courageously shared with us. She was committed to helping us rise to the occasion and for that I am grateful. Her wisdom dwells with prudence.
I’m sure Dr. Angelou would not think twice about the comments. I bet she would say……
“You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.”
Do you exercise prudence?
Peace and Blessings,