Let’s start a No Name-Calling Allowed Day

October 28, 2018

My mother used to say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, say nothing at all.”  It seems to me that many people do not subscribe to this practice, and in fact we do the exact opposite. Freedom of speech is one of our founding principles, but name-calling is not.

When I taught Oral Communications to high school students, we would first define constructive criticism. One should depersonalize the message. There is a huge difference between these two sentences: “Mrs. Smith is a lousy secretary” and “Mrs. Smith’s letter contained five mistakes.” 

Today, we would hear “Mrs. Smith is an idiot,” or something meaner and nastier.

We can be senior citizens witnessing an end to polite society, or we can be the ones who speak and act with decorum. The week of Oct. 22-28 is national Free Speech Week for 2018. Have you noticed how many national days and weeks are celebrated? 

Perhaps we need a national No Name-Calling Allowed Day to bring awareness to our speech. To remind us that along with freedom comes a sense of responsibility. Say what you mean, but don’t be mean.

A web search reveals The National Day Calendar is a trademarked site stating it is “the authoritative source for fun, unusual and unique national days.” Oct. 24 is National Bologna Day. I just missed National Boston Crème Pie Day on Oct. 23. Darn it. 

Of course, who sanctions these days needs examination. You can’t register a national day yourself. Applications are only being accepted from companies and organizations, not individuals. The power of social media at its best. Hmm.

One national event bears recognition. On Wednesday, Oct. 24, The Society of American Florists held a Petal It Forward event. This nationwide event asks florists to give out flowers as random acts of kindness. Volunteers help to give passersby two bouquets, so they can receive the experience of both giving and receiving flowers.

Local florist Ken Norman of Floral Inspirations in Lewes decided to participate, and I got to join his volunteer team of “happiness ambassadors.”  

Ken was informed by SAF that he should post the event on social media channels and use the hashtag #petalitforward so the world can see the positive feelings evoked from the gift of flowers. Go to to see some of the happy faces. Maybe someone in town that you know?

It was pure joy to hand a bouquet to a stranger and say, “Have a great day!” 

I’m looking forward to National Candy Day on Nov. 4. Maybe someone will be giving out free candy!

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