We can show our children, who are watching us, that there is a better way, because I fear for our world if we don't.

Compassion Versus Being An A-Hole

In Parenting by Jen30 Comments

This last week was a lot. It was the week of a traumatic event for my family, a horrific national mass shooting and a terrible tragedy involving a toddler at Disney World. Just when I felt overwhelmed by tragedy, more would follow. My emotions have been rubbed raw and I know I am not the only person who felt this same way.

During these difficult days there were quite a few people whose empathy and compassion inspired me and yet there was much that happened during this last week which leaves me broken hearted and shaken.

Due to my extended time in the hospital with my mom after her debilitating stroke, I spent a significant amount of time on social media, much more than I normally would. There is real truth behind why experts say that limiting your online time is a good thing. As the news of the Orlando shooting and the toddler drowning made it’s way across social media, there were times where I wanted to throw my phone across the room and smash it to bits. I could not believe what people were saying in comment streams and posts. Some of these people I knew and some I didn’t. I think seeing this onslaught of finger pointing and blaming was a double heartbreak. And it was wrong.

American lives were lost this week and it doesn’t matter that they were Americans, but it does matter that their lives ended in such a horrible and horrific way. Doubly disturbing was the fact that many of us couldn’t wait for the blood to clear and for the dead to be respectfully buried before we started the blame game. I grieved for the poor parents of the drowned toddler who had to face the onslaught of accusations rather than be lifted by compassion, which was needed.

In comment streams I saw Muslims, Jews and Christians say the right thing only to then be scorned and told that their beliefs were the reason the Orlando shooting had happened. Or the sanctimonious parents who smugly assured everyone that they vigilantly watch their children every second of every day and so nothing like “that” could ever happen to them…

Sure we can blame this type of behavior on trolls who just say unkind things, but in these cases the trolls were legion. The problem we are facing as a human race goes far beyond our laws and politics and is squarely rooted in our own narcissistic morality and the belief that we immediately know the right answer in every situation and anyone in disagreement is morally inferior. It sickens me. I wish I could say that as a nation and as humans we came together this week to mourn our dead, lives snuffed out far too early in horrific ways. Some did. Many didn’t.

I would ask you to look back at your own personal online conversations this week. Did you express sadness or did you quickly race towards a political angle? Many years ago my community was the victim of a  terrible tragedy brought about by a sick and deranged individual and I lost a friend and neighbor. To make matters worse, professional and amateur armchair pundits who were unclear of the specifics in the shooting put my family at risk. Someday I will talk about that, but not today.

So how about you, me, we stop all of this right now.

Really, we can.

We can put the hurtful words away and hold off on the very unhelpful and presumptive political pandering. These discussions need to happen, just not yet. And not in this way. Let us bury and honor our dead and find the facts. We won’t all agree on what needs to be done, I know that. But irreparable harm is done by our race to blame. It’s hard to come back from the ugliness of that. It locks people into a permanent defensive stance, because once someone is publicly shamed, wrongly or rightly, attitudes that might have previously been negotiable, become less so.

I truly hope this is something we can do and that we can show our children, who are watching us, that there is a better way, because I fear for our world if we don’t.

How do we make the world we live in a better place? By first, doing this.

We can show our children, who are watching us, that there is a better way, because I fear for our world if we don't.


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  1. We had a guest pastor today who gave a great sermon reflecting on the events of the past week. Memorable quote: be the answer.

  2. I agree and this is why I try not to read much during times such as these, because I know how heated it can get and not worth getting upset over those who do lack compassion and empathy. But I will say, I do hope your mom is doing better and have been thinking about you. Hugs and still in my thoughts and prayers totally. <3
    Janine Huldie recently posted…Passionfruit Ads Cheating Bloggers Out of Their Own MoneyMy Profile

    1. Author

      Thanks Janine, that is a wise plan indeed to stay of social media during times like these. Although it saddened me what people I knew were saying to one another on there. I wonder if they would say it to one another’s faces…. I think that perhaps people should think about that before hitting post, no?
      Jen recently posted…The Happy Now Blog Link- Up # 13My Profile

  3. I just can’t read comments anymore, especially on Facebook. I like to think that the rational people know there are no words and just stay off the comments. I shared my photos of Disney, though, because of those types of comments. People just didn’t seem to understand how easy the tragedy could happen and how it 100% wasn’t those poor parents fault.

    Continued prayers and hugs for you and your mom.
    Katy recently posted…To the Family at Disney WorldMy Profile

  4. I’ve been praying for you mom. I’ve a friend that is going through this. Heartbreaking.

    I agree that people tend to be in everyone’s business anymore. Everyone knows best how to do this or that. Rush to judgement it their theme song. It’s the way of things. They are never, ever the answer to anything.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺
    Comedy Plus recently posted…Awww MondaysMy Profile

    1. Author

      I am glad to have a kindred spirit in you. Having been on the reverse side of someone rushing to judge me and my family has definitely made me less motivated to do so to others. I guess that is the way of life and the school of hard knocks.

      Prayers for your friend!
      Jen recently posted…The Happy Now Blog Link- Up # 13My Profile

  5. I’m so sorry for the pain you’re going through with your mom, Jen. My thoughts are with you and your family.

    And yes to all of this: be the change. I find myself repeating that often these days.

    I was actually so disheartened reading on current events (the Chewbacca mom, the gorilla incident, the Disney situation, etc.), that I thought about classic etiquette courses. I’m thinking an etiquette course on how to not be an a-hole is a requirement before being sold any kind of electronic device if a darn good idea. ;)

    Thinking of you and your family during this rough time.
    Sarah Nenni Daher recently posted…Sponsored Post Contracts: What You Need to KnowMy Profile

    1. Author

      Thank you my friend. I just feel so bad for my mom. At 82 I am sure she did not see having to learn to eat and talk again as something in her future. Growing old is not for sissies I tell you!

      Yes do that class. I completely agree. We make people take driving classes and tests so why not before someone can have a phone or electronic device that connects to the internet?

      You guys have had a rough stretch too. Hugs and good vibes right back at you :)
      Jen recently posted…The Happy Now Blog Link- Up # 13My Profile

  6. Sorry to hear about you mom Jen. I knew something was up and assumed that was it. I’ve been thinking about you.

    That said I love that you had the bluntness to call people out for what they are being Assholes. Nobody likes one and it just isn’t necessary. Bravo on this post and for speaking the truth.
    Beth recently posted…$10 At Target, Birthday Edition {June 2016}My Profile

    1. Author

      Thank you. I really thought this last week that my brain or my heart might explode, so I figured I would sit down and write my feelings. I wasn’t sure how it would be received, and so thank you for your sweet comment.

      My mom has a long road of recovery ahead of her. I cry for her daily and will see what God has in store for her. He loves her and I can feel his presence there with her, so I know he is mindful of her. I just have to remember that.
      Jen recently posted…The Happy Now Blog Link- Up # 13My Profile

  7. Oh my goodness Jen – YES!

    I am so sick of the antagonistic, nasty, belittling, demeaning comments – it seems worse than ever! I just wrote a post about the shaming of parents – it sickens me – seriously why are people so nasty and cruel?! Would they really behave that way face-to-face with someone?! Ugh!

    We live in a time where there seems to be no boundaries – people just rant on and on over anything they want and the “noise” of it is deafening.

    You nailed this. Very well said.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom recently posted…The Real Problem With Parents NowadaysMy Profile

    1. Author

      Thank you Jennifer. Luckily, there are bloggers like you who aren’t afraid to write about it. I loved your post. I know some may say sharing and writing things like that is a drop in the bucket, but I think it would be worse if we didn’t try. Glad to be a part of your bucket brigade my friend!
      Jen recently posted…The Happy Now Blog Link- Up # 13My Profile

  8. You hit the nail on the head when you said the experts say to limit your social media time. People just forget their manners online sometimes. I had a complete stranger comment on a post about my 6 kids tell me I was a “puppy mill.” If I met the guy in person he wouldn’t say that to me – in fact, he’s probably a nice guy and I’d like him in the real world. The Internet just makes people crazy, and possibly it makes us sound meaner than we are because it doesn’t reflect our tone of voice. (And maybe we don’t think about what we post enough.) Don’t let it make you lose your faith in humanity!

    I’m so sorry about your mom and the hard time you’re going through right now. We can just pray and be compassionate, and not give up too much mental/emotional bandwidth to anyone who chooses otherwise.
    Jenny @ Unremarkable Files recently posted…13 Funniest Marriage MomentsMy Profile

    1. Author

      Are you kidding me?! Who are these people! BTW- perhaps he is unclear on how a puppy mill works, because I think you are keeping all of your children and are not selling any of them off right? So boo to him!

      Prayer really is the way. I saw a great Mormon ad recently that said when, “God’s warriors go down on their knees. The battle is not over, it has just begun.” Kind of cheesy I know, but I liked the sentiment it shared.

      Thanks my friend I appreciate your sweet comment!
      Jen recently posted…The Happy Now Blog Link- Up # 13My Profile

    1. Author

      So you know first hand all of this goes down. I am sorry. It’s terrible and I feel bad for all the families who have to go through this with a loved one. I was talking to a friend who is an EMT on the morning my mom was admitted and he told me just wants to go out quickly in a car accident. I can now see the wisdom in that comment for sure.
      Jen recently posted…The Happy Now Blog Link- Up # 13My Profile

  9. I definitely have been off Facebook and not sorry about it. Only expressing sadness here, and not political leanings. I’m with you 100%. And so sorry about your mom. It’s been a week of personal tragedy for me too, and also, personal bad news out of Orlando.
    Tamara recently posted…Beef Up Your Summer With Pup-Peroni!My Profile

  10. I am so sorry about your mom. I’ve been thinking about you all week. I agree with every word of this post. I feel as if I didn’t get anything done last week because I was just too devastated. Devastated by the events primarily, but then by some peoples’ reactions. I don’t know how much more of this hate and blame game I can handle. You are right, we need to be the change.
    Tarynn Playle recently posted…Meal Planning Made EasyMy Profile

    1. Author

      Thanks Tarynn. We really do need to do just that. I use to be a big believer that politics was the way. I am not so much a believer anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want anarchy. I just want peace.
      Jen recently posted…The Happy Now Blog Link- Up # 13My Profile

  11. Jen, thank you for speaking my heart. I sat down last week and tried to write this same message, but couldn’t finish because of the angry tears. You have said what so many of us are thinking, and you’ve done it eloquently, intelligently, and fairly. The blame game has got to stop — we are destroying each other when we are meant to encourage and build up one another.

    I’ve been thinking of you. Praying for your mom!
    Wendy recently posted…Between The Lines — The Art Of “Why Not?”My Profile

    1. Author

      I am glad it just made sense. I wasn’t sure my rambling would.

      Maybe it is time to start a stop the blame movement…. Hmm.

      Thanks my friend. Things are still difficult, but they are looking up a small step at a time. That is something good for sure!
      Jen recently posted…The Happy Now Blog Link- Up # 13My Profile

  12. Perfectly said Jen. I love this one in particular, “These discussions need to happen, just not yet. And not in this way.” I understand the need to express opinions, and I understand the need to voice out frustrations. Like you said, it’s been a hard few weeks for everyone, but there’s a better way to use our voices and our words. Instead of wielding comments and phrases like swords, why not use them as a form of solace and encouragement? The events that occurred are tragedies. Regardless of our opinions and anger, these people lost a lot–a brother, a son, a friend, a sister, a family member…The least we can do is respect that and let them grieve peacefully. Combat hate with love, not more hate and disdain. If we do that we’ll have a better chance of winning. Thank you for such a poignant piece to share with us on #shinebloghop Jen!

  13. Author

    “Regardless of our opinions and anger, these people lost a lot–a brother, a son, a friend, a sister, a family member…The least we can do is respect that and let them grieve peacefully.” Amen to that. I always wonder why people forget that. Or just don’t think about how they would feel if the situation were reversed. Perhaps that is the problem, not enough thinking and too much overheated anger that propels poor choices.

    Either way it all just needs to stop and although I can’t force everyone to change, I can make sure to change how I operate and hopefully others will decide to do the same.
    Jen recently posted…The Happy Now Blog Link- Up # 13My Profile

  14. It was an awful week. I have been on social media more the past few days too, as I’m between houses. People have been vicious about this. Even good people tend to get on their high horse about the alligator incident, which is surprising. Thank you for always putting out your positive message. You are so consistent. Keep waving your flag, Jen. We need you! And I’m so sorry about what you’ve been through with your mom. Hugs!!!
    April recently posted…The Stories of Our Boys Reader SurveyMy Profile

    1. Author

      Aw thank you April. We probably should attribute it more to my big mouth that just can’t be silenced when it sees things like what happened last week, but I will definitely take that compliment :) Hugs back, you guys have a lot going on right now too!
      Jen recently posted…The Happy Now Blog Link- Up # 13My Profile

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