I want to start by acknowledging the irony of this post. As you read, you'll see what I mean. Social media and its role in current events has been on my mind a lot lately, and it makes me wonder whether I'm alone or of there are others who agree.
It is common to read facebook statuses about political views or sports/Hollywood scandals and I read [too] many blogs where people insult the decisions others make regarding parenting decisions. A few months ago- with the creation of this blog, actually- I had to sit down and decide what my purpose was for blogging and for facebook because of being hurt by comments made to me and after offending others with things I had said. I needed to decide what the content of my social media was going to be.
I have decided that my goal is to be uplifting, to be full of things I'm learning about motherhood/life/God/friends/marriage, funny situations that I want to share and invite others to laugh along, and very, VERY occasionally things that I really believe are worth saying because God laid it on my heart to write about. I want to be successful at finding a seemingly-impossible blend of grace and class and intelligence and wise decision-making.
Lately, I've been finding it hard to keep that decision. It's hard because I watch the news and stay informed about current events,which means I have opinions about Joe Pa's actions and the whole Penn State debacle, the Duggar's 20th child, and even the allegations raised against Justin Beiber about being a father...and I definitely have very strong opinions about political candidates, the Occupy Wallstreet movement, and parenting issues. But I don't think it's my place to say anything about most of it, and for the things it's good to have opinions on, I don't think facebook is the place where I want to express my views. Often, the expression of opinions looks an awful lot like judging others. And I don't want to do that.
I think that's one of the unfortunate side-effects of all the social media available to us: twitter, blogs, facebook, myspace. We have developed this false sense of self-importance that makes us feel like everyone is dying to know what we ate for dinner, where we are at the moment, and what we think about every event that happens. And I think it's good to have taken the time to develop intelligent beliefs about things that matter, like what your political views are, what religious beliefs you have, etc. And the fun part of sharing what you ate for dinner (because I do this all the time!) is the swapping of recipes with friends all over the country. So it's not all bad! But why do we feel like we have the right to comment on everything and everyone?
It makes me sad. We are all so busy judging everyone. I'm guilty of this- just last night Jerry stopped me mid-sentence to challenge me and say, "I don't think you get to say that about such-and-such. You're judging this decision but it's not yours to make and I don't think God is okay with that." And I shut my mouth. I took 10 seconds to be incredibly angry at being cut off and for being corrected. I took another 10 seconds to gain a large amount of respect for my husband because that took guts to say. And I took final 10 seconds to recognize the truth to his statement and feel regret. Because I've been working really, really hard to stop judging others and I thought I was getting so good at it. Guess I'll keep working at it...
And I suppose that's why I sit here, writing a post that could possibly (though hopefully not, because that's not my heart!) be misconstrued as criticizing others for criticizing others! Irony- see? I'm not trying to criticize those who decide to do it, I'm trying to say that I personally don't want to on MY blog or facebook or any other social media I have. I think that people deserve the right to make decisions for themselves without us feeling welcome to criticize. I'm all for good conversation, but why bust another mother's chops for deciding to do whatever she does? Aren't we all trying to do what is best for our children? Why get into an argument on facebook about everything going down at Penn State? Why comment about whether the Duggers can add to their family? Sure, you have an opinion but why try to convince someone else that they're wrong for thinking what they do? We all have lived an individual life whose past experiences and current beliefs determine our feelings about things. And I think we can easily hurt others by too-freely voicing our opinions about their choices.
And I know for me, a large reason I don't post my opinion about a lot of things is also because it doesn't matter whether someone agrees with me or not.
I remember posting about Roman's first vaccination shots when he was a few months old and I was shocked/hurt/angered when I received criticism from a "friend" for our decision to vaccinate our children. I was treated as if I hadn't done the research and wasn't able to make a decision for our family. And I realized that by posting information about my family in a box that allowed people to click "like" or "comment," I had invited others to comment openly on it. So that changed the way I write facebook statuses. I decided that ultimately, I want the things I say to encourage people, or to share something that we did that worked really well, "this is how I do things because of this information and it's worked well for us!" or to bring a little laughter to a day.
I think there is something to be said for the days when etiquette was practiced and people felt it was rude to voice their opinion when uninvited. I still want to live by "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."
But boy, oh boy, could I say some stuff about Kim Kardashian's 72-hour wedding... ;)
(ps-that was a joke)