We have a friend who gets hate mail. I find this all kinds of cool, though of course it's not so pleasant for her. She's a token left-wing journalist writing an opinion column for a right-wing newspaper (you know, just to show the Murdoch press isn't biased). Unfortunately for her the readership of said newspaper has also fairly right-wing leanings, so just about anything that she writes spurns a tirade. Write a balanced article about our first female prime minister...KAPOW tirade, her personal struggles with breast feeding...BLAM tirade, the alarming sexualisation of small children by the media...KABLOOIE tirade.
She recently wrote a thoughtful article about forms of communication and their effects after getting a nasty note from a neighbour in her letter box. She merely suggested that had the neighbour first spoken with them personally about her grievances that the whole matter could have been dealt with rationally and civilly. Once pen was put to paper emotions were allowed to stew on both sides, notes were fired off in retaliation, the situation was blown out of all proportion and made all concerned feel really awful. This article unleashed the bile of many readers who saw fit to send venomous missives about how "stupid" she was. Of course you would write a mean note rather than have a friendly chat with your neighbour (yeah, I didn't say it was "quality" hate mail). Ironic really.
This got me thinking about "Warm Fuzzies" and "Cold Pricklies". We did these at a school camp to boost self esteem and encourage people to make new friends. A Warm Fuzzy is a nice little note about how you like someone's hair or some such, while a Cold Prickly is. . .you can work it out. Getting or sending a Warm Fuzzy makes you feel really, really good, while getting or sending a Cold Prickly makes you feel rather wretched.
We recently received a lovely Warm Fuzzy from our own neighbour who was moving out and wrote a little goodbye note thanking us for being good neighbours and praising our parenting! Yes, we were shocked too. Our children are the world's loudest children (a hypothesis that we have tested by going over seas and making scientific comparisons). We spend a lot of time shushing them. Obviously a glass-is-half-full-silver-lining type of woman, she said that she loved the sounds of our children "laughing and screaming" in the backyard and congratulated us for being exemplary parents and teaching our children to play.
This Warm Fuzzy made us feel wonderful, full of goodwill and pride in our children and ourselves. I crocheted a housewarming potholder for her new home and wrote an equally Fuzzy note back (so that she too could feel all warm and fluffy). Spreading the LOVE.
Then Astrid came home from her second day back at school with this Warm Fuzzy from her teacher.
"Resting nicely" (if you know Astrid you will find this as hilarious as we do). I'm so proud and Warm and Fuzzy. I'll be sending a potholder post-haste.
And I think I'll send our friend a Warm Fuzzy and tell her I like her hair.