Just Another Teaching Moment

Some of the boys ask me if I am still unfiltered because they want to know if I am still willing to say anything to anyone.

I want to say I am as unfiltered as I ever was and that I never worry about saying anything to anyone but it is not entirely true.

That is because we live during a time when the wrong opinion can get you into trouble and with the proliferation of social media it is easy to put yourself into an awkward and or uncomfortable position where your words or actions might become an issue.

Why?

Because someone might take a fragment of what you said or did and make something out of it.

It is a time where we sometimes find people fighting to defend what they said or did by demanding their actions be looked at in context and not as a small slice of a day or moment.

Am I still unfiltered?

The last time I was asked I laughed and said ‘absolutely’ but it wasn’t until late that night that I began to wonder if I need to clarify that and became irritated with the idea that I might need to.

Irritated because I am an adult who has enough common sense to know when to open my mouth and when not to.

Irritated because I don’t want people to talk about unfiltered as if it means there is no thought or consideration for what my come from my mouth and the consequences that might come because of what was or was not said.

I talk to the children about trying to remember that 30 seconds of anger might lead to consequences that far exceed the pleasure that comes from reacting to whatever pissed us off.

It always includes a reminder that I learned some of these things the hard way and that I don’t want them to make the same mistakes.

But I never had to worry about mean comments wending their way back to me because some nasty child tried to use one of my social media accounts to hurt me.

Today the kids talk about whether that can be categorized as cyberbullying and I silently think about how in my day we might have responded by clenching our hands and placing them against the nose or cheek of the other kids.

enemies
Part of my job as their father is to use these opportunities to create teaching moments that will help the children deal with both current and future events.

That includes teaching them how to advocate and stand up for themselves.

But when I hear some of these stories about the nasty kids I wonder if it would be beneficial for me to do more than listen to the stories and provide advice for ways to handle those situations.

While I am quoting Churchill and trying to include a brief history lesson in our conversations I am thinking about whether their unfiltered father should call the parents of the offending child.

I think about pleasantly explaining how it would be beneficial for mom/dad to tell their brat to cut out the commentary because the child they are aggravating knows all about Teddy Roosevelt’s advice to Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick.

Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick.Click To Tweet

Except I never go there because though I may be unfiltered I am not stupid and I wouldn’t advocate any sort of violence that wasn’t predicated upon self defense.

But it doesn’t mean I don’t think about that sort of thing or that I haven’t thought twice about whether someone would take part of this post and try to use it to make some sort of allegation of wrong doing.

The thing about it all is that I know people who won’t tell you what political party they support because they are convinced it would damage their professional standing and ability to earn a living.

If you think about that last line it should make you shake your head and roll your eyes.

Why?

Because we are talking about moderate members of both parties who shouldn’t be afraid to say who they support for fear of financial/professional repercussions.

If you are not talking about people who are promoting hate speech or violence you should be able to agree to disagree and be civil about it.

Except life doesn’t always work that way.

Just Another Teaching Moment

The thing about it all is that much of what I hear the kids talk about isn’t limited to just children. More than a few things can be found in the oh so grown up and evolved adult world we supposedly live in.

It is just another teaching moment.

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2 Comments

  1. Danny Brown October 28, 2015 at 9:08 am

    Interesting discussion starter, mate, and I think it’s something we need to be mindful of much more than we were 10, 20 years ago. Like you say, you only need to look at the entitled social media complainers crowd to see how they’re so ready to jump on the smallest indiscretion (real or perceived).

    It makes me fear for my kids, and what the abuse levels will be like when technology passes where it’s at now. Look at the public doxxings of folks in the #Gamergate back and forth, or how a simple comment on Reddit turns into an all-out sustained level of abuse and vitriol.

    I’d like to think we could be unfiltered and have an open and honest discussion about the topics we’d like to broach, or the answers we’d really like to give someone when they ask an opinion.

    Sadly, I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon.

    • Joshua Wilner October 29, 2015 at 10:20 am

      It really concerns me how much abuse is heaped upon individuals and groups online.

      Doesn’t take much for people to pile on.

      If you don’t have a thick skin and faith in yourself it can be even more problematic.

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