Ms. Merry Sunshine? I can't change who I am...nor how I rate with praise and love.
|Sharing Sunshine...It’s What I Do!
by Marilyn Mackenzie
Many articles have been written and shared about how individuals rate and review, in response to the Story Master’s suggestion that perhaps most ratings are too high. I’ve pondered that, seriously, and concluded that while some might think that the ratings I’ve given have been too high or that I’ve offered too much praise, I probably won’t change my methods.
I earned my nickname, Ms. Merry Sunshine, because I’ve always looked at life as an optimist, have always worn a smile and been ready to laugh heartily. I’ve also always been an encourager, and I don’t anticipate changing now that I’ve reached 50 years of age.
As a child, the lesson, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," was pounded into my brain. As one who has always thrived on encouragement, gentleness, kindness, I’ve given to others what I required in my own life. As one who has always been sensitive, one who has been crushed by criticisms that others would simply ignore, I’ve remembered that as well.
Motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, claims that if we treat individuals as if they were already successful, they have a better opportunity for becoming so. Even before ever hearing Ziglar’s ideas, I have embraced similar ones myself.
Having spent many years in the business world and in sales and management, I’ve read many books about managing people. Another idea I’ve embraced is that one should always use the sandwich method of offering criticism – praise, followed by constructive criticism, ending with more praise. This method has worked well for me in business and in family matters.
For me, reading and reviewing here is something I’ve done regularly. The way I have found things to read has varied. Sometimes I looked for new writers. Sometimes I have visited the portfolios of members of forums of which I was also a member. Often, I’ve sought out neglected stories and poems, "works of heart" that were posted, then sat forlornly waiting for the first rating and review.
There are some topics about which I have chosen not to read, nor to discuss with the authors. That's my choice and my right.
I have also found writings I just had to read and I had to correspond with the author. Some time ago, I had to read and comment on something that was really bashing all Christians and all Christian churches. I had to respond, for although there are many unkind Christians, there are also many who are kind.
What I found amazing, recently, was a response I received back from a young writer. This writer had written something rather controversial. I pointed out a few minor corrections - suggestions I usually call them.
I rated the piece fairly on its construction, then wrote a rather lengthy email to him about why I disagreed with him. In it, I included my reasons for believing as I do.
I acknowledged to him that he had every right to believe as he did, but that rather than just believing all the good or bad things he'd heard about Christians, that he might want to learn more about the Jesus we love and serve.
This was someone whose article said he wanted to learn more about all religions, so I didn't think I was overstepping any boundaries by also offering specific places in the Bible to read, and books that might have been helpful in his quest.
The writer's response nearly broke my heart. He said that he was surprised to find someone of the Christian faith who was so kind and so helpful in his quest to learn more about world religions. He said that most Christians just responded with words in capital letters, "THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY. ACCEPT THE LORD NOW OR BE DESTINED FOR HELL."
How sad. By offering kind statements, laced with love, I was able to point this young man to some reading that might help him. Of course, I also told him that I'd be praying for him, and I have been.
Right now, there are many who lump fanatics of any religion together as one group who will do harm for their religion. I'm certainly not ashamed of who I am or what I believe. Jesus is my Lord and Savior, and I will tell people about what God has done in my life at every opportunity. But it bothers me greatly when my fellow Christians are unkind and make the rest of us seem totally intolerant.
After receiving that young writer’s comments, I’ve wondered how many more people Christians might reach for Christ by extending a hand in friendship and love.
I’ve also wondered how many more new writers each experienced writer here might help by offering that same hand in friendship and love.
Some might be confused about how the topics of reading and rating and of being a Christian are related at all. They are for me, for Jesus is with me everywhere I go; he’s with me in every activity in which I participate, including reading and rating at Writing.Com.
Some have commented that there should be no 5 ratings here, for none are perfect. On that I would have to agree. No human beings are perfect. But there are many fine writers here, and many fine stories, poems, essays, deserving 5’s in my opinion. They are as perfect as any human can be expected to create. They have touched my heart, warmed my spirit, made me laugh.
We’re all different, here and in the world around us. Please don’t ask me to check my sunny disposition nor my Jesus at the door. They both come with me where ever I wander or roam, even here as I read and rate.
If you think I’ve rated something of yours too highly, then you may disregard it just as you might a low rating you think is undeserved. Or you may remember that I take sharing sunshine rather seriously, and know that in my mind you’ve deserved the praise I’ve given.
Sharing sunshine? It’s just something I do, quite naturally. And I just think I'll keep doing so, if you don't mind.
A thought just crossed my mind. I've noticed something about those who have decided that none are perfect and no longer give out 5 ratings. They don't mind receiving 5's for themselves. I've never had someone to whom I've given a 5 write and say, "None are perfect, including me. Please change my rating to a 4.5, for I think no one deserves better."
Something to think about...