When it comes to what I’ve seen in social media in the past several weeks, besides the typical “what I’m doing today” posts, it seems particularly full of “what I’m against” posts. The same is true with many conversations I’ve heard. The claims seem so loud with no room for conversation. Listening seems to be rare. Respect seems to be unusual. Keeping something in context and acknowledging the points of an opposing side seem to be nearly non-existent. There is so much finger pointing and pulling things apart to rationalize anger and position.
Where does that get us?
Many of the comments I saw within a particular week were copy/pasted. “This is what so-and-so is doing. If you agree, copy/paste and post/mail.” What if instead of copy/pasting, we posted an original source and asked people to process and conclude on their own? What if instead of “if you agree,” we asked people who disagree to help us understand another perspective?
We don’t have to fully agree with each other in order to be respectful.
What if we replace angry posts with conversations? What if we pause accusations with listening and respectful conversation? What if we built relationships, including with people we disagree with, instead of pushing people away? What if we we dug into background and implications in an effort to be informed and grow instead of assuming and spewing? What if we consider multiple approaches and sides to issues and solutions and walked alongside people instead of gathering “our team” while driving away the “others.”
I know some people’s response will be, “But I’ve tried that. It doesn’t work. Why should I be respectful when they aren’t?
Maybe what you do won’t have the impact on them as you would like if your goal is to change them. But when you respond well, the impact it has on you will help you grow.
Let’s be better. Let’s be kind. We can be firm with kindness. We can be truthful with humility.
2 thoughts on “Against It”
I actually have taken a break this week from social media. I get on Facebook long enough to wish friends happy birthday and to respond to replies on some of my comments. Yesterday I reposted a memory in honor of my mom’s birthday. I am just over the constant barrage of arguments on both sides over reopening the economy and wearing face masks. Has been a huge lash back here in the community against wearing masks, so that I am not comfortable going anywhere and will continue to pretty much self isolate. My husband’s mother is not doing well right now, and I spent the day with her yesterday since his sister is spending the weekend at the lake. I haven’t been around Mom since the start of this because we didn’t want to carry anything to her. But with her kidneys shutting down and tests indicating she has cancer somewhere, I felt the need to spend some time with her. She is 93 years young, and also a retired nurse. We have been close ever since Duane and I married, she is a special lady. The fact that the residence facility (not a nursing home, more do an apartment complex for seniors) has not had a single case of COVID, which speaks volumes to the importance of social distancing.
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I have not been on social media much either. I try my best to be wise as I read and determine how to respond (or not), including in my own attitudes. I don’t want to reject or ignore for the wrong reasons. I don’t want to interact for the wrong reasons either. We, too, have had a lot of complaints and rebellion against guidelines, including masks. It seems odd to me, because there are very few situations in which people are “made” to wear masks. I think people have more freedom than they think, regardless of whether they prefer to wear masks or not. It saddens me to see the complaints, which are often disrespectful and rarely productive. Angry words rarely make a difference in someone’s behavior, but it certainly solidifies bitterness and pride.
I am so grateful you have had time to spend with your mother-in-law. May your time together be a sweet blessing.
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