There are a couple of neighbourhood dogs in our street who occasionally go on a loud evening barking spree.

I don’t know if they’re over-protective.

Perhaps they’re nervous and fearful.

It could just be that they like the sound of their own voice and just can’t help themselves.

I think we’ve all met people like that.

They think that those who look different are out to get them, so they bark to keep them away.

Perhaps they are anxious and fearful, so they bark to sound braver.

Or maybe they mistakenly think that they have a lot to say that we all need to hear and their only method of being heard is to drown everyone else out.

It happens in person.

It happens in remote meetings.

And we’ve all seen it on social media.

I just want to say, stop barking.

There’s plenty to go around and those who look and sound different can become wonderful friends if you let them come close enough.

Fear sells, but you don’t have to buy.  Don’t try to puff your chest out and act all tough, just be yourself.  We love you just the way you are.

And your voice matters, but so does the opinion of others.  People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Listen, listen, listen.

There are enough angry voices in the world.

Stop barking!