Words of Resistance


“Words of Resistance: Tact, Kindness, and What We Say”

Rev. Caitlin Cotter

When I was a teenager I kept a hand-lettered sign on my wall that read, “Tact is not saying the right thing at the right moment, but refraining from saying the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” This was a quote from a middle school friend that I placed prominently in my dorm room to remind myself to think before I spoke.

It has led me to think a great deal about what it means to be tactful, and about the power of words. What is tact, after all?

I imagine that you know what lack of tact looks like, that you have winced at tactless comments that had the potential to hurt or anger someone, that you have felt the sting of a thoughtless joke that hit a little too close to home. I imagine, too, that many of us have had our own tempting moments, times when you knew just the thing to say to impress or amuse others, and only later realized how hurtful you had been.

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