What’s needed in an uncivil world? Thumper’s Rule

A new app was reintroduced last month called ReThink. Using ReThink gives the user “a second chance to pause, review and ReThink their messages on text messages, emails, social media and any apps that use a keyboard.”

Designed by 16-year-old Trisha Prabhu from Naperville, Illinois, it was created to stop negativity and cyberbullying before it starts. Prabhu’s impetus to create ReThink came after being shocked, heartbroken and outraged after reading about an 11-year old Florida girl who committed suicide after repeatedly being cyberbullied by her classmates.

Prabhu designed this innovative free downloadable app for adolescents, but no matter our age, we can all use a second-chance to pause, review and rethink the way we communicate.

Many of us learned this lesson in a 1942 animated Walt Disney film based on the book, “Bambi, A Life in the Woods,” by Austrian author Felix Salten.

The young rabbit character Thumper, when first introduced to the new fawn remarks that Bambi is “kinda wobbly.” Thumper is scolded by his mother, who makes him repeat what his father had impressed upon him that morning, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.” This moral adage is known as “Thumper’s Rule.”

Unfortunately Thumper’s Rule is routinely and blatantly ignored by politicos, social media-users and people like me who find it hard to hold their tongue. You’d think I would learn.

Even 1,880 years before the Bambi movie, there was a guy named Paul who sent his friends in an urban city called Philippi, a text message, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.”

And more than 2,600 years ago King Solomon shared these words of wisdom:

  • The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18
  • Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up. Proverbs 12:25
  • A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
  • The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction. Proverbs 16:21
  • Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24
  • The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered. Proverbs 17:27

I’m going to think about Thumper’s Rule and “about such things.”