Most children who are victims of rudeness can easily brush it aside. But to some, these acts of rudeness transform into an awful cancer than can fester and grow in the hearts of those who are more sensitive. This cancer of rudeness can become particularly malignant if such insensitive and hurtful communications become the rule rather than the exception.
But I am in good company in my regret. I am sure that Lehi and Sariah shared in the this same guilt associated with their inability to tamp down on such subtle and sometimes vicious behavior in their own family.
I bring this up not to burden you with my personal failings as a parent, but because Jacob, the most tragic figure in the Book of Mormon, provides us insight to one who was quite sensitive to the rudeness of his older brothers. As a result, Jacob seemed to be unable to overcome this cancer.
Now, Jacob did lead a righteous and exemplary life. This in spite of his bouts with the depression and self-doubt that are the side-effects of this cancer.
- He stayed true to the teachings of Christ
- He freely chose to follow Nephi instead of Laman and Lemuel
- He saw the Savior in his youth, just like Nephi
- He later became the prophet, succeeding Nephi
So he was not one to let his fragile self-esteem completely control his life. But, I still feel he was never freed from the awful effects of this cancer. I say this because I sense Jacob’s depression in his farewell to his readers when he says:
“… our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream, we being a lonesome and a solemn people, wanderers, cast out from Jerusalem, born in tribulation, in a wilderness, and hated of our brethren, which caused wars and contentions; wherefore, we did mourn out our days.” Jacob 7:26
I feel the lesson we can learn from Jacob is twofold.
First, those who suffer from this cancer can successfully break its awful bonds and find happiness. This truth was recently brought to light in Elder Holland’s talk called Like a Broken Vessel.
Second, I feel that we need to increase our vigilance to intervene when we see someone being victimized by rudeness. While this is especially true in the home, we can all contribute to solving this problem by making sure our classrooms and hallways at church are a safe haven. No one should ever be a victim of rudeness while seeking refuge from the storm.
Now, I realize we will never completely eliminate rudeness from our current culture. But I am confident that an increased awareness and sustained intervention can go a long way to helping to cure the awful cancer of rudeness.