Saturday, December 7, 2013

If You Can't Say Anything Nice….

I don't blog often.  In fact, I've been completely MIA for months.  Forgive me this morning for jumping to this as my forum, but my message is one that I feel compelled to share. I am noticing a sickening trend on blogs, FB posts, Twitter feeds, and other social media forums: unkind words & judgement from strangers criticizing the original poster's words and actions. 

Social Media has blown up into so much more than most of us could have ever imagined.  The sad part is that it has become very easy to bully others because it is so faceless.  It's cowardly and spineless. I frequently read comments on social media that are just downright mean.  The commenters don't know the bloggers or the struggles the blogger has been through.  What gives me or anyone the right to tell that person they are a bad parent/fitness guru/crafter/coach/player just because I don't care for the post?  Read it and move on! 

I am the wife of a high school coach and mother of two boys who attend and participate in activities in the community we live and where my husband teaches and coaches.  I'm the Team Mom.  I am also the Team statistician and tweet/FB scores and encouraging words about the boys during games and through the week.  It may go without saying, but DON'T YOU DARE say anything negative about my boys, whether that be my own boys or my Team boys. I WILL go Mama Bear on you.  People are leaving the most horrid, nasty comments about my Team, about my husband, about my community.  These comments start with "No offense but"...  Well how exactly do you expect someone to take that comment other than to be offended?  You set the tone with that phrase. If you feel the need to clarify before staing your opinion then you need to think twice before posting. 

The comment that sent me over the edge was received last night on the basketball program's FB page from a former player, bashing my husband.  This same former player came up to him just weeks ago and told him how good a job he is doing building the program.  So you don't think Coach is going to read the comment you leave on the program's page? You don't think the players see you bashing their coach? Do you think your former coach, who is one of the current Coach's best friends and co-workers, condones that kind of behavior?  Is that how you want current and future players to view Zebra Basketball players conduct when they aren't wearing the uniform?  And my biggest question- Would you come up to Rex and the Team and say it to their faces?  I bet not.  

Our kids, coaches & parents read that message and took offense.  You bash Coach, you bash the team.  You bash Coach, you bash me, my children and my community. You are saying you don't believe in the dedication, hard work & determination our coaches and players are giving to the program and the school. You are disgracing and defacing the program you say you are proud to have been a part of. Well, sir, you only proved you don't support our kids and our program. 

My generation has been caught in the middle of this tech revolution. The internet was not something I experienced until college. MySpace and Facebook became mainstream when I was out of college. We are now responsible for teaching our children "the rules", so to speak, of social media (referred to from here on as SM). Perhaps I'm hypersensitive to things posted on SM because I am an educator by profession. I'm very mindful of my posts and try not to post negative things, even about myself.  I try to set an example not only for my own children, but for others reading my pages. Isn't it our job as adults to lead and set positive examples for our youth?  If we don't who will?  We all stumble from time to time. It's human.  We say things out of spite we later regret saying.  I get it.  It happens.  However, we are role models whether we want to or not. It does matter how we use these moments to teach better behavior. 

The written word is so powerful.  It burns.  It sears into our brains and our hearts and festers like a splinter under our skin.  The sting of the written word lasts longer than the spoken word because we can read it again and again, obsessing over the intent.  It is for that reason we must take a minute to reread our posts before hitting submit and ask if it's setting a positive example.

It all goes back to the age old lesson we learned as children: If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.  It seems to be a more relevant message than ever before. 

"When given the choice between being right and being kind, choose kind. Our deeds are our monuments." 
~from Wonder, by RJ Palacio

Let's remember to be kind to one another. 

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