My mother was always lavish with advice, little of it original but much of it unimpeachable. As I think about the fever pitch and jagged edges of so much of the past year’s discourse, I find myself flashing back on one of her caveats in particular.
“Count to 10 before you speak,” she frequently said, and she meant not just that you can’t take back what’s already been uttered. She meant that pauses are the spaces in which passions cool, civility gets its oxygen and wisdom quite possibly finds its wings. She meant that slowing things down often classes them up.