CARMICHAEL: It’s OK to be frank, but also be thoughtful

Published 3:53 pm Thursday, October 15, 2020

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I am always looking for topics that I believe might be of interest to the Geri-Antic readers. 

Today, it was the term “Frank Dementia” that captured my attention. 

Upon further research, I was surprised to discover that Frank Dementia is a form of cognitive impairment.

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I ask you now to consider an alternative definition.

My own interpretation of Frank Dementia is rather the inability to filter thoughts that randomly pop into one’s head before assigning them verbiage and allowing them to fly out of one’s mouth.

I struggle with unsolicited frankness from time to time. 

Even our leaders seem to be struggling with the ability to think before they speak or put words in writing. 

I fear that if we don’t each take steps to control such outbursts, cruel and destructive frankness could reach epidemic proportions in today’s society.

By my definition of the term, such lack of appropriate filters appears to span all age groups, genders, social status and party affiliations. 

This malady seems to be particularly prevalent on social media.

Haphazard frankness has no moral or ethical boundaries. It disregards all constraints imposed from an early age by parents, teachers, religious leaders and polite society. 

Those afflicted with this impairment to intelligent judgment are compelled to speak their mind about any topic without provocation.

Regardless of the care with which the owner of a social media page sets security measures, most have dealt with obtrusive and offensive posts and comments at some point.

At its inception, Facebook was a place where we went to relax and unwind. 

Adults and children alike looked forward to crushing blocks of neon candies and harvesting virtual crops. Friends shared stories and recipes, discussed new movies, TV shows and books and offered genuine care and concern for those who were struggling with an illness or loss.

In the last four years, social media has become an outlet for frustration, anger and hatred. 

Many people have found monitoring their social media accounts to be so stressful that they have chosen to deactivate their account, take a sabbatical from participation or cull their friends list.

Families have become divided by polar opposite opinions on politics, religion, race issues and other controversial topics. 

Malicious bantering has caused bitter disagreements between family members. Some have not only blocked interaction on social media, but subsequently discontinued all contact outside of these platforms as well.

Those whom Facebook has categorized as public figures, such as authors like myself, are typically very careful not to post topics that might be controversial and could potentially offend their followers.

While we’re accustomed to being critiqued by professionals with credentials to do so, there are times when someone who neither knows our work or us as individuals posts demeaning comments that can be detrimental to our careers. These derogatory remarks clearly have

nothing to do with our skills and everything to do with wanting to lash out and hurt someone.

Frankness can be a positive vehicle via which we can reveal our truths when shared after thoughtful evaluation of the topic and care for the impact on others.

Frankness without careful consideration and the intent to cause harm is detrimental both to those at whom the careless words are aimed and those who brazenly speak them without regard for their fellow man.

Please be kind. Be considerate. Think before you speak or write.