Whether in creating fiction or in real-life activities we need to be sensitive to others who may be adversely affected by what we create or do.
This need intruded into my thoughts twice in the last two days:
The first time came when I watched Pixar’s film INSIDE OUT. At one point the 11-year-old female protagonist slides down a banister. I was horrified at this depiction because many years ago my first cousin slid down a banister at a college football game, fell off the banister, and never walked again.
Fictional depictions can encourage certain actions, and clearly sliding down banisters should not be encouraged by a Pixar film.
The second time came when I watched a video about a veteran with PTSD participating in a fantasy-themed parade. As he explained in the video, while in actuality he can tell the difference between an IED and a firecracker, his brain reacts to the firecracker the same way as it would to an IED explosion.
The video shows the veteran asking some parade participants to stop setting off firecrackers.
And as there are so many people suffering from both combat-induced and non-combat-induced PTSD, we should all be cognizant about not unnecessarily triggering loud noises.
(This engaging video is on Verizon’s go90 app — available for iOS and Android. It is the episode GALACTIC BROTHERS IN ARMS in the go90 Originals webseries IN A GALAXY.)
When my husband and I many years ago entered the swamp of infertility issues, I learned the hard way not to ask married couples when they planned to have children. Anyone who asked me that question brought on my tears.
There are many other questions that can unknowingly bring pain to others. For example, here in LA many high school graduates live at home and go to a junior college in LA rather than going away to a four-year college. In some cases this is not due to economic considerations but due to a family culture even if the student wants to go away.
Perhaps it is better not to ask high school graduates “Where are you going away to college?” A more sensitive question might be “What do you plan to do now that you’ve graduated high school?”
In this holiday season as we look forward to 2016 — let’s consider how we can be more sensitive to others!
© 2015 Miller Mosaic LLC
Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller) has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks, including HOW TO SUCCEED IN HIGH SCHOOL AND PREP FOR COLLEGE and the romantic suspense spy thriller CIA FALL GUY. All of her Kindle ebooks can be read for free via Amazon’s monthly subscription program Kindle Unlimited. Phyllis can be reached at email@example.com