I saw a meme on Facebook a few days ago that said (ironically), “The best way to become enlightened is to argue with people on Facebook.”
It resonated with me because comments from people trying to argue in my post threads get DELETED. I don’t want that energy on my wall. I don’t care if you’re right or wrong. Attempts to argue are immediately deleted.
Here’s the path to enlightenment through the vehicle of Facebook (because all vehicles are paths to enlightenment, if you use them the right way): when someone posts something you don’t like or agree with, notice your response/reaction. If you come racing out of the gate, shouting them down, telling them how stupid or misinformed their position is, you are as far from enlightenment as it is possible to get. But if you pause, take a breath, think about what they said, try to understand why they said it, consider whether it is true/factual/informed or not, then carefully consider whether to respond at all, and then if choosing to respond you also measure your response through the THINK gate (is it True, Helpful, Informed/Important/Inspiring, Necessary, AND Kind), then you are approaching enlightenment.
In the USA, we have taken our right to freedom of speech too far when we do not recognize that we also have the freedom and responsibility to measure our words and be kind.
This is a lesson that I have made a top priority in my teaching at school, because it’s something sorely lacking in American society in recent years.
And for those of you who have not yet figured this out: you CAN delete people’s comments from your post threads; you are under no obligation whatsoever to be the town hall for whoever wants to rant on your wall. It’s YOUR wall, and it’s not only your right to moderate it, it’s your responsibility.
I wish I had been able to play Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood for my daughter when she was a pre-schooler, but since I had to work and she was always at daycare during the show I was unable to do it. I wasn’t able to watch it myself, even though it aired in 1968, because my Mom wasn’t into educational programming or wasn’t aware of PBS, so I didn’t know about Mr. Rogers until I was in college.
As a teacher, I review a lot of educational programming. Mr. Rogers is hands-down the BEST that there is; better than Sesame Street, and Sesame Street’s pretty darned good.
But if I had been able to watch, and let my daughter watch, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, both of us might have had better emotional skills and equipment for dealing with 1) all the trauma from my own childhood that interfered with me being the best possible parent, and 2) all the trauma in her childhood resulting from that, as well as us living with an alcoholic before I was able to recognize that’s what was happening, and the resulting devastating wake left by that broken marriage.
But you don’t have to be traumatized to get the most out of Mr. Rogers! He was simply brilliant at communicating with children, and helping them find their voice and ways to express themselves in a healthy way.
Do yourself and your children (and grandchildren) a favor and watch Mr. Rogers. It’s simply the best children’s programming ever created.
You can learn more about Mr. Rogers and his unique way of speaking to children by reading this article: Mr. Rogers Had a Simple Set of Rules for Talking to Children
I have seen this meme pop up in dozens of places around the web lately. It has been attributed to Word Porn, Hart Ramsey, Truth Theory, Positive Energy, and Tiny Buddha. I am giving attribution to Lori Deschane at Tiny Buddha because I subscribe to Tiny Buddha’s Facebook page and derive benefit from it regularly, and honestly have no idea who originally said it (the Internet is terrible for that).
This meme resonated with me because I am an introvert with mad social skills. Contrary to popular belief, introverts are not necessarily shy. By strict definition an introvert is a person who loses energy being around other people too much, and restores her energy by spending time alone.
People often assume I am an extrovert because I am gregarious, conversant, and can hold my own in social situations. But when I’m done I’m done. There comes a point at which I can’t cope with the overstimulation of too much social interaction.
This is so important for extr0verts to understand. If you’re an introvert, it’s bad enough (we restore our energy reserves by spending time alone). But if you’re an introvert also going through any one of these things, or several, it’s only made harder when you have extrovert “friends” pressuring you to come out into the world for their benefit. You need to put the oxygen mask on yourself first before you try to take care of the needs of other people.
Life is good and I am grateful.