Ruth Bader Ginsberg died last week and our timelines lit up with people mourning her death and some people exulting in it.
Politics are often polarizing, but grief is often communal with people experiencing different amounts and aspects of it, but shared grief can be such a powerful thing.
Kindness matters. Even to the dead. Action and beliefs matter. Especially to the still living.
No matter what you think of her court decisions, which were meant to heal the ‘fractures in federal law,’ Ginsberg has some very good advice about marriage and words, which is why we’re talking about her now.
Back in 2016, Justice Ginsberg wrote about her mother-in-law’s life advice.
“’In every good marriage,’ she counseled, ‘it helps sometimes to be a little deaf.’ I have followed that advice assiduously, and not only at home through 56 years of a marital partnership nonpareil. I have employed it as well in every workplace, including the Supreme Court. When a thoughtless or unkind word is spoken, best tune out. Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one’s ability to persuade.”Ginsberg
Ginsberg talked about how both her mother’s push for her to be independent and her professor’s focus on language influenced her, propelling her to rise in the ranks to become a Supreme Court justice.
“At Cornell University, my professor of European literature, Vladimir Nabokov, changed the way I read and the way I write. Words could paint pictures, I learned from him. Choosing the right word, and the right word order, he illustrated, could make an enormous difference in conveying an image or an idea.”Ginsberg
Words influence thought influence action. Putting them in the right order? It makes all the difference.
She also spoke about the dynamics on the court where nine justices sit, saying,
“Despite our strong disagreements on cardinal issues — think, for example, of controls on political campaign spending, affirmative action, access to abortion — we genuinely respect one another, even enjoy one another’s company.
“Collegiality is crucial to the success of our mission. We could not do the job the Constitution assigns to us if we didn’t — to use one of Justice Antonin Scalia’s favorite expressions — ‘get over it!’”
That might be the best marriage advice of all.Ginsberg excerpted in the NYT
WRITING TIP FOR LIFE
Your word choice and word order matter. Be selective.
DOG TIP FOR LIFE
Getting over it allows you to feel better and make your relationships stronger. Dwelling is never a good move. And selective hearing? Giving yourself time to react so that you don’t act rashly? Always a wise choice.
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