Yelling sends mixed message

Column by Virginia Alley. E-mail [email protected].

Throughout the course of history, humanity has slowly realized that certain things work and certain things don’t work.

There are actions that are generally helpful and actions that are terribly unhelpful. Screaming is one of those things that just doesn’t seem to do much.

However, not everyone notices this.

UK found itself host to such a person this week, and I was graced with the opportunity to walk by him on my way to class.

As I went past, catching a few loud sentences and posed questions, I compiled a list in my head of things that he did and did not evoke in me.

There were definitely a few immediate reactions.

At first I was slightly startled. Usually, people yell at me because I’ve done something wrong.

For example, if I stepped on your pet frog, or ripped up your homework and stuck out my tongue at you, you would probably yell. This man, however, was yelling simply because he could — sort of disconcerting.

Secondly, I was a bit annoyed. I had done nothing to deserve his seeming anger (not even stepped on his pet frog or ripped up his homework!) and yet I received it. It just didn’t seem friendly.

What he didn’t evoke in me was a positive response or curiosity. He spoke of his religion, but his yelling didn’t invite me to ask him, “Oh really, that sounds interesting. What are you talking about?” Instead, I wanted to scamper away.

If you’re trying to interest people in what your religion or ideology has to offer, shouldn’t you do it in a more inviting way?

It just so happened that after this encounter, I had another similar, yet entirely different encounter. I met with a few people, also interested in sharing their spiritual ideas, and was shown an entirely different approach.

Rather than having information shouted at me as I scurried to English, I was encouraged to ask questions.  The result was people effectively sharing their ideas, and I was able to receive them with curiosity and interest versus the desire to run away quickly.

The key here is openness on the part of the giver and the receiver of opinion, especially in the realm of religion.

Each of the world’s philosophies has something to offer. The unique ways of thinking, the intriguing cultural concepts, the stories and lessons — all are valuable and interesting if you take the time to look.

However, it’s impossible for the beauty of each and every religion to spread if it’s being shouted rather than shared.

When you find yourself sharing your ideas, use logic.

If you want a kid to eat vegetables, waving asparagus wildly in his face while screaming about how incredibly awesome it is will probably not work (and may result in expensive therapy sessions later in life). If you want the kid to learn about asparagus you should probably nicely get him to try it. If he really loves it, that’s great. But maybe he won’t fancy it — he can move on to other vegetables. That’s okay. So, when sharing asparagus (or religion), remember basic ideas about how to share with others successfully. And please, don’t yell.