Is it True? Is it Kind? Is it Helpful?

Two women browsing social media on a phone

As you enter the high school classroom, three questions are stenciled in large, moving script on the wall above the windows. The questions invite students into a supportive, sustainable social environment. Is it True?  Is it Kind? Is it Helpful?

By asking these direct questions, this teacher promotes an effective social code of conduct by inviting students to act in a positive manner with each other. Learning is thereby enhanced when students are compliant with this quick, three-part interpersonal communication test: Is it True? Is it Kind? Is it Helpful? 

This principled approach fostered in a classroom is a sustainable standard and a model for appropriate family life, work life and social media interactions. Our language can either uplift and encourage, or it can hurt and offend.

Communication that fails this simple test may occur across all languages and in popular social technology platforms. In every situation, a failed pattern of communication becomes corrupt and offensive. Offensive images, language, gestures, memes, jokes, stories and gossip sent in texts, email, websites, and phone applications are examples of corrupt, disrespectful interpersonal relationships.

“Bullying constitutes a public health issue and for this reason it must be tackled immediately through prevention, intervention, and therapy. As parents, teachers, and society as a whole, we share the common responsibility to listen to our children and protect them by providing information, raising awareness and empowering all the relevant actors with proper tools and knowledge”, reported the President of the European Antibullying Network, Mr. Costas Yannopoulos.  

The keynote speaker of the 5th International Conference of the European Antibullying Network, Peter Smith, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of London and Honorary Member of EAN, presented the consistency of gender differences in bully and victim rates. The main conclusion of Professor Smith is that the bullying phenomenon is affecting on an equal way both boys and girls. 

Matt Watson, a therapist with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Family Services, says a behavior can be called bullying “when there’s fear and intimidation or when someone says ‘Stop,’ but the behavior continues. There’s no acknowledgment of the victim’s feelings.” 

We need to stop corrupt communication to avoid the ugly consequences. Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints narrates a powerful 10-minute video about fictional characters that capture relevant undesirable consequences as well as one young man’s change of heart.   Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf counsels us that when it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm—stop it!

“Do you harbor a grudge against someone else? Do you gossip even when what you say may be true? Do you exclude, push away, or punish others because of something they have done? Do you secretly envy another? Do you wish to cause harm to someone? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may want to apply the two-word sermon from earlier. Stop it. There's enough heartache and sorrow in this life without our adding to it through our own stubbornness, bitterness, and resentment”.

“Let us be kind. Let us forgive. Let us talk peacefully with each other. Let us do good unto all men. Allowing us to see others the way our Heavenly Father sees us, as flawed and imperfect mortals who have potential and worth far beyond our capacity to imagine. Because God loves us so much, we too must love and forgive. Remember, in the end it is the merciful who obtain mercy.”

Elder Uchtdorf

In the classroom of life, our relationships with other people are what really matters most. Remember to test your interpersonal messages with three principled questions.

Is it True?
Is it Kind?
Is it Helpful? 
A man browsing social media on a tablet
A man browsing social media on a tablet