Parents Need Each Other's Encouragement More Than Each Other's Criticism

Thursday, October 12, 2017

inspiration for parents

Dads are lazy. I just finished reading an article from a well known parent magazine talking about how "science" has proven that dads use their time at home hanging out and relaxing, while moms work. The title was absolute clickbait and it smelled strongly of a safe place to let unhappy wives vent about their husbands. Oh, and it also served as an incubator for accumulating easy website clicks. The article itself picked and chose what it wanted from the actual study done by a university, in order to make the editorial as inflammatory as possible. The beauty of the internet is that we don't need to let facts get in the way of our opinions. The article, and the comment section of the Facebook post, was pretty much a breeding ground for negativity. It once again reminded me how much more us as parents need positivity and encouragement, rather than criticism and name-calling.
This is one of my favorite new sites to find encouraging stories instead of negative ones.

This applies to real life as much as it applies to social media and the internet. One of my new favorite quotes is, "You used to use social media to escape real life, now you use real life to escape social media." I don't know who originally said it, but it's genius. People's newsfeeds are now filled to the brim with vitriol, anger, and self righteousness. When parents get those same things from our kids on a regular basis, we don't need need it from virtual strangers as well. With a few taps of their fingers, keyboard warriors denounce liberals, conservatives, homeschoolers, public schoolers, parents who are on the phone at the playground, and parents who hover over their children. We battle over breastfeeding in public, bottle feeding in private, and how to put our kids into carseats. Parents shame other parents for something, and then get publicly shamed by another set of parents for shaming the first set of parents. And you wonder why we are all so exhausted every day.

We open up our social media feeds, gleefully look for the first opinion that we disagree with, and let the comments fly. We feel vindicated as we valiantly fight for our side. After the rush of emotion, we feel as though we have won a virtual battle against the devil himself. Only to realize minutes later that the feeling has passed, we have alienated an untold amount of real-life friends, and have traded moments with our children for a fake phone battle that has made no difference in any real life situations. We publicly pull other parents down so that we can lift ourselves up.
One of my all-time favorite encouraging and supportive Facebook pages.
But what if instead of continually being drawn into the negativity, we sought out positivity and hope? Instead of posting about how unhappy we are with something in our country, what if we shared a story that shows that there is still good in the world? What if we told another parent what we admired about them, instead of viciously tearing them to shreds for a perceived injustice that they committed towards someone we don't even know? This is why I am continually drawn to social media accounts and websites such as Love What Matters, Lightworkers.com, and Life of Dad. They tackle real issues, but focus on encouragement, support, and fun as opposed to the everyday darkness of social media.

Now I know some of you will say that's like putting my head in the sand and attempting to ignore what's wrong with the world. I am not advocating for ignorance when it comes to the troubles in our country, or the world at large. You should care about injustice, where our leaders are taking our nation, and the safety of kids. What I am wanting is equal time for what's right, what's uplifting, what's good, and even what's funny. Parents need to laugh. Parents need to laugh a lot. Unfortunately, with the small amount of time during the day that we have to let down and relax, we lack the bandwidth to search out what's not immediately served to us in our newsfeeds. And so we settle for what's easy rather than what's life giving. Sometimes we even join in on the fake virtual name calling, instead of seeking ways to cheer others on and join in healthy community.

So I guess what I'm challenging us all to do is to spend more time this week sharing what could inspire those around you to do make it through the day, not just what makes you feel better about yourself in the moment. Those on your friends list don't need your opinion as much as they need your kindness and your hope. Parents, we are better together. We are stronger together. Remember, someone reading your social media posts today might need your encouragement about what they are doing right, more than they need your commentary on the vital food group that they left out of their third-grader's lunch.

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