Brooks Gibbs is a public speaker who teaches parents and educators how to build emotionally resilient kids. He is a bullying expert but what he says about free speech, at first glance, may surprise.
In the clip, Brooks highlights how words in the end are just merely words and that it is we who are the ones that finally decide whether or not they have power over us.
As you listen to him get passionate about the topic in the video, Brooks says, “It’s a cornerstone foundational philosophy is that every single citizen has the right to stand up on their platform and speak their mind even if it offends another group. And that’s critically important because if the government started to crack down on free speech they would take over and wouldn’t allow us to freely speak our mind.”
Some may say things we disagree with, but without this freedom, we could lose the protection to speak the truth if the government deemed it offensive. What is special about a free nation, is not that so many rights are given by the state but instead, that the state merely protects the natural rights of the people, and does so out of a moral responsibility of ensuring the freedom of its people.
“May speech be empowered by the virtue of love so it can drown out the vice of hate.” Brooks riffs on and asks the audience to make a decision to not give words power over you. “and that’s what the Golden Rule means. Treat everyone like friends especially your enemy. because when you treat your enemy like a friend they have a hard time staying your enemy.”
He also emphasizes that even when someone is attacking you with their words, to try to practice the Golden Rule, be friendly to them in spite of the difficulty, instead of adding fuel to the fire.
It might sound overly simple and cliche but, there is truth and wisdom behind this simple act of forbearance. Maintaining a kind attitude even under pressure, can more often than not lead to a transformative effect in the outcome of a conflict.
The sooner a person can learn this the bigger its impact can be seen and felt in their life. Hopefully, with lessons like this harsh words won’t be taken so deeply to heart and with more emphasis on friendship perhaps in the future tragedies can be avoided.