Is it Time to “Soften” Up Some?

Dear Reader:

I can still remember as a child wondering how someone’s heart grows hard. Can someone’s heart really turn to stone and if so, what happens then?

These were the kinds of questions that plagued me as a child with an imaginative personality. The first time I heard  the term was probably in Sunday School when I learned the “Exodus” story and how the pharaoh’s heart stayed hardened plague after plague… disaster after disaster. I always wondered why he just didn’t soften it and let the people go?

Now as an adult it is easy to see how we can all fall into the pharaoh’s same plight…trying to go through life acting tough and hard in our attempt to bring control into our lives and our family’s lives…but at what cost?

On August 18, 1988, George H. W. Bush received his party’s nomination for president of the United States. In his acceptance speech, he calls for a “kinder, gentler nation.” It is hard to believe that this speech took place thirty years ago and now President Bush has passed. I would love to hear our leaders today talk  about a “kinder, gentler nation” because we could all use some softening tactics on life within the time-line of the world we all share.

When we as a people are caught up in turmoil every day of our lives it s easy to see how our hearts can harden. In today’s society turmoil has become the status quo and the overall effect is trickling down to our families. Fear of the unknown and uncertainty of the times we are living in is taking its its toll on so many people’s outlooks on life.

I have definitely had my share of “melt-downs” throughout my life …but thank goodness I have had my children, my students, and friends inquire as to the problem and why I am not acting like myself…to the point that I am forced to stop and look for “softer” ways to handle daily problems.

I think one of the biggest problems today is listening to voices that are too loud and aggressive. I find myself wishing someone would alert the speakers to lower their voice tones and slow up their rhetoric. Learning to talk softly and clearly while discussing problems with our children, students, peers, friends, and strangers alike is so important.

These days to help counteract argumentative voices and shouting matches through the media…I find myself (turning down or off the television ) and  buying “soft” light bulbs…By simply bringing down the harsh lighting to softer rays…the room transforms into a cozier secure home to unwind in.

“We can’t always make challenging situations go away…but we can soften our voices, our touch, our opinions, and our thoughts.” It is interesting but more times than not when we find ourselves raising our voices… it is not at someone else as much as our inability to be softer to the “imperfect human being inside each of us.

Human beings are the worst critics of themselves in the animal kingdom…that’s why out pets sleep so much better than we do! 🙂

So until tomorrow…Most people are doing the best they can under the conditions that they live in. By being softer and kinder we can hear more, learn more, feel more and love more…love our fellow man.

  • Source “Vow to Soften” (Rachel Macy Stafford) Devotional Daily

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh


A good life is when you assume nothing, do more, need less, smile often, dream big, laugh a lot and realize how blessed you are for what you have. (Tiny Buddha)




A big shout-out and Happy Birthday to my nephew Lee who shares his birthday with Robert E. Lee! It has been fun watching you grow Lee and become such a talented musician and a wonderful husband and daddy…very proud of you. Happy Birthday!

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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