Be Thankful, And Just Scroll On
Be Thankful, And Just Scroll On
November 23, 2017
Today, people will gather around a meal, to express thanks for a multitude of things – family, friends, and many other blessings in life. Today is also the perfect day to lay aside social media. But if you do happen to pick up a device today, and you happen to see something that you would ordinarily take exception to, do yourself a favor. Just scroll on.
There have been a lot of articles lately about how to talk to family members over the Thanksgiving table about politics. There’s also the reminder of the importance of civility, online and in real life.
But here’s another idea.
Might I suggest that everyone give each other the gift of just scrolling on?
Let’s all acknowledge that we have people in our lives that we will never agree politically with. Sometimes, these can be people who are really close to us, or part of our everyday lives. What happens when that person posts something on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram that we just know is wrong, we disagree with it, and in fact we know of several legitimate sources that could adequately refute whatever is being argued?
Take a deep breath, and scroll on.
Really, how much is it worth it to you to start an argument on social media? Is it worth your time, your mental effort, and your stress level? Is it worth the friendship or connection you have to the person to have an online argument? My philosophy, now set in stone after this last week, is to simply scroll on by. Because odds are, unless it’s a matter of life and death, or an innocent person is being harmed, it isn’t worth trying to change someone’s mind on social media.
What happened last week that altered my philosophy about arguments on social media? Someone who I valued greatly suddenly died.
For the last year, my oldest son, who is on the autism spectrum, has been attending an art class for kids. He very quickly developed a strong bond with his art teacher, who asked to friend me on Facebook. She wanted to see how people were reacting to my son’s art projects.
When I friended his teacher, I discovered that she and I were political opposites. So I made a conscious decision. I was not going to engage her about politics online. What mattered was her relationship with my son, not her political beliefs. So, I closed my mouth, averted my eyes, and scrolled on by the political posts. I focused on the kind of person she was – kind, loving, encouraging, and a born teacher. And my son adored her. Kids know when adults care about them, and the kind of affection she had for my son could not be faked. She believed in his potential, and he wanted to please her.
Last week, she died after suffering a massive stroke. She was 51 years old. She left behind a heartbroken family, and classes full of students who loved her, including my son. This has been a difficult week in my house. Not only is my son grieving, but I am as well. All special needs parents value the teachers in our children’s lives, especially the ones who form genuine bonds with our kids. They don’t have to love them… but they do anyway. And now we are coping with the loss of someone irreplaceable. My son will have another art teacher eventually, but he will never have one who loved him like his beloved Teacher did.
Let me tell you how incredibly thankful I am that I scrolled by her posts – and that she scrolled by mine as well. I am thankful that we both gave each other that gift of simply focusing on our mutual connection – my son and his growth and development. Our online friendship was cordial. In person, she was lovely and kind. We never exchanged a harsh or unkind word, or had a single argument – for which I am incredibly thankful.
Take the opportunity to give the same gift that my friend and I gave each other – the gift of mutual respect, and of scrolling on. I promise, if you do, you’ll be thankful for it later.
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