Off the Pulpit

Be a Turtle

Almost every week public figures are attacked or embarrassed for what they have put on social media. We are reminded of the perils of ease – make your thoughts too quickly public and you are likely to regret it. We have forgotten the old advice of slowly counting to ten, of writing something and then revisiting it before you publish.

There are merits to meeting resistance. Easy lends itself to excess. Forage for food and you probably won’t overeat. Open the refrigerator full of food and you probably will. If you have to test your argument, think about it, practice it, it is likely to come out more moderate and defensible. Those things I have regretted writing or saying have almost always been too reactive and too fast. Slowness needs to be constantly reinforced: interestingly, both slow up and slow down mean the same thing.

Slow and steady — Aesop was right after all. But I suspect the reason the turtle won was that the hare, rushing along, kept bumping into people, making enemies and getting into arguments. Slow down; think before you speak, or post. Be a turtle.