By Laura D. Field of Reflective Tapestry of Life
Social media has one attribute that I’m not sure many realized would occur. Those who are shy became vocal; those who are out spoken have made use of this platform (not always flattering to themselves or others), and yet depending on the topic, situation, or life event, personalities have been transformed. I’m not too sure it is for the good.
As we raised our daughters, we taught them that if they wanted to be heard, they needed to let others hear their voice. Inclusive with that training, they learned that it came with respect, integrity and compassion for others as well as themselves.
They learned early on that temper tantrums were a waste of energy as it built walls of resistance. Fighting was not allowed. Sure, we all get upset and disagree, but there are methods to resolve these issues that might seem to be as irreconcilable differences. It is called conflict resolution.
When one screams, yells, or stomps their feet in frustration and/or in anger, all because they did not get their way, it does not resolve the problem, but rather creates hurt which then complicates a potential resolution. As each side forms an internal wall of hurt and resistance, a barrier of distrust and alienation forms. I did not want this for my children or our family.
I grew up in a dysfunctional family that only progressed to what I could never understand of jealousy, competition, bitterness and hate. There was a very small part within me that knew people cared, but I was confused by the manner in which it was shown.
After six years of marriage, my husband and I decided it was the right time to bring new life into our home. But once we made this decision, it was discussed and decided that we would do our best to keep our children from the harm of what I had experienced growing up.
We have all heard, that “Parenting is not for wimps”. Once a parent, you realize how true this statement is. Children get hurt, they get sick, and they fight, while parents struggle to maintain a balance while working and attempting the task of being a good example for these young minds. The many moments of joy is what makes all the trials all that more tolerable.
What surprised us as parents was how infrequent our girls did fight. As the girls got older, after our first left for college, they shared that one of the things they hated most, was that when they were little I would require that when they did have a fight, that I would have them come to the kitchen table and resolve their issues by talking about what happened, what part of the experience was their fault, what they could do to prevent it from occurring in the future, but more importantly requiring them to hug and share they loved each other. Speaking the words themselves was not enough; it had to be evident in their time together and the tone of their voice, that they were sincere. They later shared that they preferred resolving their issues on their own vs. involving us as parents. Although we did have differences of opinion, voices were raised, the learned approach was to respect and discuss while accepting our differences of opinion.
As they left for college, I realized that the one thing I did not prepare them for was how others were not taught about conflict resolution. Our youngest daughter, who was still at home, saw it in other families when she would visit. Once she came home and told my husband and I that we were not normal. Seriously, we already knew this, as we enjoy life too much and can be quite silly. But, she was serious and further shared that when we disagree, our time in anger is short lived, and within five minutes we are talking as if nothing happened. In other families, adults would argue for long spells, or put their children down in front of her. This bothered her immensely.
Why I share this is not to say we were perfect, because we were far from that, as mistakes were made. I wish I could have a “re-do” on those mistakes, but then again, maybe not. I learned a LOT from parenting. Not only did I learn from my mistakes, I also learned from our daughters. What I taught them had a boom-a-rang effect. If I did or say anything that was opposite from what I taught, they had the freedom to voice that observation. It was like looking through the reflection of a newly cleaned mirror, seeing the imperfections of who we truly are. It was quite humbling, but those moments were the ones that made me change a little more into the person I have learned to love.
But today, November 10th, 2016, two days after the election of our 45th President, we live in a country of chaos that is filled with hatred, bitterness and with no self-respect. It is evident that our country believes in the entitlement of getting what one wants without the respect of others. Just because the person you elected did not obtain the win, does not entitled those who call themselves American’s to burn our United States of America Flag!! Rioting is a reflection of low self-esteem filled with hatred. I don’t understand. I am in tears writing this, because I am saddened to know that people actually feel it is “okay” to behave in this manner.
You see, our daughters voted differently than my husband and I did. I am so very proud of our daughters for making the choices that they made. Just because we did not agree on their stance, we only spoke of our viewpoints, we still gave them the respect they deserved as voting Americans.
Voting is a privilege but it is also a choice. We can debate, we can discuss until we are blue in the face, but we all come with different views. Some share their parents’ views while others do not. The younger generation is looking for something different from the older generation. Viewpoints are varied and this is why we have a democracy within our country that allows the American people to vote, pray and hope for the change they desperately desire.
Freedom of speech is a gift. But it comes with tolerance and respect. Yelling, name calling, belittling, badgering and bullying have no place in this American gift. With this type behavior, of what I hope is a small fraction of American’s, we have become a frowzy face on the American frontier. The pictures that splatter across the media are that of an unkempt, untidy and very messy society.
America: We are a family of various viewpoints, backgrounds, nationalities, and choices. But, that does not mean we should disgrace our flag, the men and women who fought for the freedom that our flag represents, our elected President, or ourselves as Americans. Time to grow up. Get out of the sandbox where you were taught to play nice, and become proud American adults.
Social Media has broken the silence. May we use this broken barrier to better ourselves vs destroy ourselves as a nation.
Laura – Blogger, paid Freelance writer