Nope, not talking about the kind those of us “up in age” did in school. I’m talking about how you and I are feeling right this minute about anyone that disagrees with us on politics, morals, religious beliefs, gender identity, and everything other manner of justice and injustice, including whether it’s ok to wear white after labour day. It feels like a toddler-tantrum that has been going on way too long.
I got up early this morning and made coffee for my loving wife. She does so much each day to look after our family and I knew how much it would mean to her. When I placed her favorite mug, warmed and smelling delicious, in her open hands, the smile on her face melted my heart. Shortly afterward, Emma came to our room. She stood at the door, a little tentative at first until Ana wished her good morning in the sweetest voice. Then our youngest daughter ran full speed and jumped into bed and snuggled about as close as a body could possibly get, to her mommy. Cole was next, and he scurried over to fold himself into me and I laid there smelling his skin and hair and thanking God for these incredible little miracles. Cadence woke last and came to our room a little groggy but with a warm smile on her beautiful face and every bit as sweet and cuddly. And so along with Bella and Ellie we snuggled there together, as the sun rose to start the day.
As far as I was concerned, it could have lasted forever. But empty tummies prevailed so the party moved to the kitchen. Everyone wanted to help so we made sure they all played a role in getting food prepared and eaten amidst prayers, exuberant stories about dreams and bugs, and all of it mixed with warmth and laughter.
In time I wandered to my office, somewhat reluctantly, but excited about the workday and what would get accomplished. And then I opened up Facebook…
Within seconds, I was annoyed. Then more than annoyed. I wanted to unfriend someone, but didn’t because this person is someone I really like. They are kind and loving; they care about me and my family and they are doing things with their life that I admire. That person just sees a side to a particular topic that I don’t agree with, and I am fine with even that, but it’s the venom they laced their opinion with that got my hackles up. And then I thought of some memes I had liked and realized I was no different, and certainly not any better.
So how did we get here?
When I became friends with this person in the real world, I knew how they felt and I knew we saw things differently. But we respected each other’s views, avoided talking about our differences and focussed on the things we had in common. We did that because, as individuals with unique life experiences, we will never agree on EVERYTHING with ANYONE. We can learn something from differing perspectives and opinions presented respectfully and even though our position may not change, we can gain an understanding. With understanding comes wisdom so we become better by learning more.
I see nothing wrong with sharing thoughts and one’s position on a topic with others, and I am more than willing to reciprocate. That is normal human interaction, and it’s valuable and productive. I am a Christian and I want for all my friends and loved ones and everyone else, to enjoy the blessings I do by having a relationship with Christ. But I won’t stoop to name-calling and other disrespectful attacks if someone isn’t interested. That is their right and I respect the choices of others. There was a time not so long ago, or maybe it was longer than I think, when we did that as a society.
So when and why did we stop doing that?
I have theories, and so do you I imagine. If you want to discuss them, I would love to hear your thoughts. I will post this in my Unscripted Facebook group and you can join us there and share our thoughts and ideas, respectfully please.
I think we can all do better. And life has taught me that change never happens by waiting on the other guy. Things change when I take responsibility for that change. I want my Facebook feed to be something that lifts me and my friends up, and doesn’t fill my day with anger and frustration. If you are still reading this article, I am betting you feel the same way. So let’s take control of this tornado of hatred and anger and turn it into something that illuminates the very best of ourselves and each other.
Are you in?