Get facts before forming opinions

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“It’s a sign of the times ...” we often hear and say in observance of just about anything we don’t particularly agree with. The irony of course is that the criticism comes equally from opposing views on the same issue. Both young and old, conservative and liberal, religious and atheist alike claim this judgmental position as their own; neither admitting fault in their perspective; both claiming moral superiority, albeit from differing authorities.

Gun-control, national debt, fashion styles, music, language, and love — all draw ample commentary, replete with emotion and often lacking in facts.

Have you ever found yourself speaking out on a topic or issue without really knowing all of the facts? Just running on the emotional charge you’ve attached to the subject?

I know I’ve been guilty. My kids have accused me of it, and rightly so at times, when I react to a convenient and limited amount of information.

I’ve also been the target of ill-informed critics, who are quick to levy judgment without consideration of the whole.

I’ve learned to ask a lot of questions before jumping to conclusions, a discipline that has served me well in the home, the church, at work and in my civic duties. It’s not an excuse for apathy, nor a substitute for decisive leadership. It’s a sign of maturity and wisdom, attributes I try to develop in myself and to instill in my kids.

With the coming of a new year I am expecting more from myself. I should engage vigorously, but armed with sufficient information on important issues affecting my family and my community.

So the next time, I catch myself “tsk-tsk’ing” and shaking my head at the news, and uttering that familiar refrain, I’m going to ask myself: “Do I have enough information to make a fair and just decision on this topic?” And: “Is the information I have accurate?”

There are a number of important issues facing our community and nation in 2013. It’s worth taking the time to investigate.

I’m making it a goal this year to have ears to hear the whole truth, eyes to see things from an eternal perspective and a tongue to speak words that are beneficial to others.

K.C. Kuykendall

Waitsburg

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