I want to be a better human being and do what I can make a better world. I imagine many if not most of us do. I have learned, but there is a lot more to learn, so I continue to learn. I learn in all kinds of ways. But by being scolded? Not so much.

For an old-ish, mostly able-bodied white woman, a descendent of settlers, I think I do pretty well at things like acknowledging my privilege and being aware of the effect of words. Being surrounded by social justice advocates and proponents definitely rubs off, and I appreciate it. As a thoughtful person who came through radical movements more than 30 years ago, I have done a lot of learning and relearning. Back then our mostly white, mostly male radicalism was impoverished and inadequate.

So I don't necessarily feel myself to be the target of much of what I read. But I read it anyway, because there's always something more to learn, a way of looking at things that is new and different, some insight. And of the things I read, I usually (not always, but that's a different post) agree with the presented ideas on principle. But too often I am put off by the method with which information is delivered. "Eight things you had better do unless you're a total dirtball." Really, who likes to be scolded? A child is scolded by its parents, by a teacher, by someone in authority. But I know I am not a child. Once I grew up, I hoped never to be scolded again.

You know who scolds? Not so much someone authoritative as someone who wants to impose their morality, ethics, or sensibilities on you. You're scolded because you transgress. You don't measure up to expectations. You're stupid or lazy or both. You mess up again and again, and the scolder is fed up with your inability or unwillingness to come into line with their moral code.

I don't need that. I checked. Teach me. I'm an eager learner, and I know how to shut up and listen. But don't be a scold, because very likely you will get the result opposite the one you want.

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