Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions. (Proverbs 18:2 NIV)
Ouch! I consider myself corrected. For whatever people make blogs and social media to be, they are above all else…opinions. Status updates, tweets, and pictures on how we are feeling about our day, about others, and about our lives in general. Opinions flying fast and loose like you-know-what in a chicken coop.
I think about this social media generation. We no longer seek to understand WHY…we just want to be heard. We wanna say something and we want everyone to hear it. As mothers, how do we think that’s going to affect our children’s generation?
A generation of fools does not raise up sages, but even greater fools.
And once we realize our mistakes on what we’ve broadcast, what we’ve said, and how we’ve cut someone with words far sharper than any sword, we try to backtrack. Do you know how hard it is to call something back out of the ether? Try it once…you’ll be sadly disappointed.
For all the good that can come from social media, there is a ton of bad things, a few of which I’ve already mentioned.
So, I’m setting up some guidelines for myself…and you can hold me accountable. You may need to remind me tomorrow.
Why? I’ve got two little girls that are watching Sesame Street right now. They deserve a good example. Not just what I say or do to them, not just what I say or do in their presence.
One of these days, they are gonna ask, “Mommy, can I have my own [insert name of new-fangled social media site] account?” And one of these days, I’m gonna allow it.
That’s when they’ll be able to see what Mommy has said about everything, what pictures she found important, what she focused on in her daily life.
1. BE GRATEFUL
You know what the opposite of gratefulness is? UNgratefulness. And ungratefulness manifests itself by COMPLAINING, GRUMBLING and MURMURING (whining).
Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world.” (Philippians 2:14-15 NKJV)
It’s so easy to let a complaint slip here and there. By complaining, I mean when there is needless cause. It’s one thing to register a complaint with a company or person who needs to correct a wrong, but quite another to complain about it being too hot in Houston. Hello? It’s Houston. As Andy Traub says in his book, The Early to Rise Experience,
“Man, I hate this snow.” You live in South Dakota. You hating snow is like a guy from Hawaii hating sand. Get over it.
If ever I was ungrateful, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp changed my entire perspective from the reading of the very first chapter. It’s a must-read.
I want to be grateful. I want to be content in every circumstance. First things first, speak life…type life…broadcast life. Change a generation. Be a light in the cesspool of darkness.
My children are depending on me to show them how to shine.
2. ANYTHING BAD I HAVE TO SAY ABOUT SOMEONE WILL BE SAID TO THEIR FACE (or in the voting booth on election day)
God forgive me. I had a conversation about someone the other day. About someone I didn’t like and have no reason not to like. “Just a personality clash,” I explain. Reality is…if I can’t say it to their face, I shouldn’t say it at all. Even to my best friend…or the loads of friends and acquaintances on Facebook. And, YES, it does matter even if I don’t name their name. I’m putting out an example of how my children should think and talk about others.
The fleeting thrill that I get from telling someone off in an obscure status update will live on eternally in the ether. One day, it will come back to haunt and embarrass me because I showed lack of self-control and compassion for others. Let’s get real here.
And then, there is the airing of political opinions. One of the greatest things about the USA is our right to Freedom of Speech. But just because I can, doesn’t mean I should (I Corinthians 10:23-24). To assault a public official on Facebook doesn’t get them out of office. It just shows my inability to respect an office unless someone I voted for is holding the title. A status update or tweet like that is evidence that I am a closed-minded jerk.
I will SHOW UP on election day, then SHUT UP if my candidate doesn’t win.
(If you disagree with what I’ve said in the political section here, see my post, The Only 4 Principles You Need to Teach Your Kids About Politics.
3. TAKE EVERY CHANCE TO INSPIRE AND UPLIFT
Read a devotion, or in some other way, ingest (listen, watch, etc.) something positive every day at the beginning of my day. (Follow me @DblEEBlessed on Twitter or someone else you know that puts out a daily tweet.) Joyce Meyer is also a great choice. I love her. Her daily devotionals, Trusting God Day by Day and The Confident Woman Devotional, always hit me right between the eyes with positivity.
I have a friend who writes for WHOA Magazine for Women, Angela Wells, who is the epitome of positivity. She lives it. She breathes it. She goes through trials with a smile on her face. She smiles not because everything is perfect, but because she relies on God to take care of it. I’m pretty sure I want to be her when I grow up.
Take the opportunity to be a light. By having something positive at the ready, I REPLACE what I might have said negatively about the current weather. :0)
4. DON’T BE A FIRESTARTER
Some people walk around with a pail of water, others with a pail of gasoline. I can either put out a fire or I can help it grow.
Gossiping is not cool. I will not assume that a particular person is talking about me. I will not assume that I know all of the ins and outs of a situation because So&So told me Such&Such.
Social media can be a hot bed for gossip. I choose whether I speak life or death. I choose life no matter how thrilling it may be to participate in a heated discussion about What-Not.
Can’t we just all get along? Yes. Peace begins with me.
5. HOLD SOME THINGS SACRED
My life is my life. Sometimes there are moments too special to share. I want my friends to know that I am with them to BE with them, not just to be able to POST that I was with them.
I am, in no way saying, that that’s wrong, I’m just saying that every now and again…I don’t have to show that I’m cool by being with cool people. Even though I really do think that my friends are the coolest people on the planet.
And, in order to live in a moment that is sacred and special, I don’t want to have to whip out my smart phone and take pictures and then spend the next five minutes posting…and then the rest of the night seeing how many hits that picture got. No, my time with my friends and family is way too sacred for that.
I want to enjoy my husband, my children, my friends…and technology isn’t living and breathing. It can wait.
All this is quite a lot to live up to, but it’s about learning not to jump off the bridge like everyone else. I’m teaching my children to be different. Be a light in darkness.