Bumper Sticker Wars.

I don't do bumper stickers. Why give aggressive California drivers another reason ( besides my slow driving ) to flip me off? Especially when I'm hauling five children around.

Truth is, my belief system is too complex to distill into one catchy little phrase. Like most people, I don't enjoy being stereotyped. Bumper stickers beg strangers to stereotype you. Of course, there will always be people who like to pigeon-hole other people---but I prefer they do that after I get a chance to meet them, say hello, or just chat about the weather first. I think it's sort of dangerous for people to stereotype me when they're driving 60 mph and I've got five children in the car.

And while I don't do bumper stickers, I do have two yard signs. Yard signs are different because lots of people walk past myhouse. As a result, lots of people have stopped to talk. What I've discovered is that while face-to-face discussion is becoming more rare these days, folks are still desperate for it!

As I've talked with different neighbors, I've found that despite differences of opinion, we also have much in common. We each have dreams, hopes, plans for the future. We care about our neighborhood, our schools and our dogs. We can exchange pleasantries on the weather, a TV show or gardening ideas.

In some ways, I think it's healthier to disagree in person than on the Internet. In real life,  you can tell if someone is becoming uncomfortable by reading their body language. You can be courteous by changing the subject and asking about their rose garden. You can't really do that online.

But whether I'm online or off, I want to be mindful of the common courtesies that make for respectful interpersonal relationships. When I'm wrong, I'll say sorry--without excuse. If I've offended, I'll ask for your forgiveness.  Because even if we are very different, we can still be friends.

As my mom always said, it's better to be friendly than to win the argument.

So, how 'bout them Phillies?