Monday, October 5, 2015
This past weekend I was sitting in my driveway at a firepit, and my neighbor’s daughter (who is 14) was there and we were talking.
We were having a conversation about school, and social media, and friendship, and Homecoming, and more. This girl is amazing, and she is one of my favorite people. So much so, that I spent a night with my adult friends, talking mostly to her. And she had a lot to say…..some incredibly funny, and some pretty serious, and some that really made me think.
I was telling her something my eighth grade daughter had said to me about not wanting to do anything to embarrass herself that would follow her to high school. And my young friend exclaimed “I KNOW!! I COMPLETELY AGREE!” And I tried to impart my adult wisdom to her saying something like “be yourself” or whatever. And here is what she said…
“I know it seems that way. But I think it’s harder for my generation than it was for yours, because everything goes on Instagram or Facebook. It’s ALL out there.”
And I got to thinking about that, and you know what? She’s right.
It is so much harder in some respects. When I was home on a weekend with my family, I wasn’t bombarded with photos of what everyone was else was doing. I didn’t’ have to look at pictures of all the parties I wasn’t included in, or the dance I wasn’t at, or notice if suddenly my friend count was down. Who left me? Why? What did I do?
I didn’t have to worry about someone posting a picture of me that I didn’t’ like, or that made me look silly. I didn’t have to worry that anyone would comment on a picture or a comment saying something negative. WE didn’t worry what our rate would be, or TBH. I worried when I was at school, and I worried when I was out, but when I was home…..I was safe. I was protected.
Our kids are not.
And I hate it. People who won’t speak to you in person will see moments in your life that don’t involve them. They will comment, and make judgement. Our kids are putting so much of their lives out there for social acceptance, and it’s hurting them.
I don’t know what the answer to this is. Good or bad, social media is here. We all take selfies, and snap photos with our phones, and comment and look and post…. But I guess what I am going to take away from this is to try to teach my kids that their success or failure has nothing to do with how many followers they have. I am going to encourage them to live their lives big, and if they choose to post about it, to do it without apology. If you are living your life truly, then let the rest be damned.
I know I can’t take the pain of growing up away. Middle school is brutal, and I can only imagine what high school will bring for them, but I hope I can somehow convince them to live big.
Don't let the internet make you small. EVER!
LIVE BIG FOR YOURSELF. And don’t spend so much time looking at what everyone else is doing. Because TBH, Like for a rate, and all that other BS will mean nothing when they find what truly makes them happy.
And I hope my neighbor hears me too.