Chapter 20 » 20.69


If someone we love does have a bad temper, we try to avoid the circumstances that provoke it. If it is so easily provoked that we cannot avoid it, the soft answer may have to include, then or later, a quiet but firm reproof, for their own sake as well as ours. But very often our ability to co-operate peacefully with our family, our neighbours, and our fellow-workers does depend upon our knowing how, with courtesy, to refuse to be drawn into particular types of discussion or to take sides on questions which arouse needless passions. We may do this in particular when we know that they have violent prejudices which we do not share, but which we are not likely to be able to remove by argument. Or when the dispute is about a matter of fact that could easily be determined by experiment or by consulting a work of reference.

All these are the small change of everyday life, but they count for happiness in living together as persons, and they are a pointer to happiness in living together as nations.

Kathleen Lonsdale, 1957

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