Friday, April 23, 2010

Facebook Vacation

I was once told by a childhood friend, that when things get rough, I just walk away and ignore the problem. For several years I wondered if she was right.

I think not.

I think I study an issue for quite a while before deciding to open other doors for myself and those I love. I am aware that I am losing something in the process, but I also realize that sometimes, changes are necessary.

For instance..when my  9 year old son was told that in order to have dyslexia services provided he would have to skip 2 grades and start junior high,  my 6 year old put his head on his desk and left it there for 6 weeks and my 5 year old asked why peach was "skin color". I knew it was time to bring my children home to learn.

I pulled them out, not just because it wasn't working for them..and in one case I was horrified at what he was being taught, but I didn't like who we were becoming in that environment. I was labeled neurotic mom..because, you know..I wanted my children to have services provided for them. Brian had begun running a numbers game at the ripe old age of 9, Cody was completely shutting down and Austen couldn't understand why his slightly olive colored skin didn't match the peach he was given. I was horrified at the community that said these things were okay. I was becoming angry and defensive. I did not like the stereotypes we were becoming.

When Austen played Little League Baseball. He played for 2 seasons, before being placed on a team that was considerably older than him. We asked to have him returned to his own age group. They told us no, they needed players and his coach said, "don't worry, we'll figure out something to do with him." ..and they did. They let him sit on the bench...until I asked if he would get to play (you know, over halfway through the season). It was explained to me that my son had no skill and this was a competitive league. He was asked to sit on a bucket of balls for the rest of the season. By this time we had watched our son be humiliated for almost an entire season. We watched a boy who truly loved the game of baseball, wither before our eyes as he tried to please a coach who didn't pretend to tolerate him. We wondered if Austen was doing something offensive. He was not. He was simply 7 on a team of 9 year old boys. Once again, I was horrified at the community that said this was okay. It's just how this coach is. We pulled our son out and let him play ball with another league where he could, you know, play and learn like other 7 year old boys his age. Am I sorry I left that community? Absolutely not. I did not like who we had become in it.

And so it is with facebook.

I originally opened a facebook account so we could send some family pics to the family of our soon-to-be exchange student. It stayed as simply a medium for the two families to communicate for almost 2 years.

 I discovered some old college friends..from a college that was probably more influential in my adult life than anything else. I treasured these connections. It was fun. Next, I found friends from childhood..I added my friends from the homeschooling community. Some of my peers from the club..and saw it as a place to communicate with those doing anti-genocide work, as well as a way to keep communication open with some of the friends I have made in refugee work..I also enjoy communicating with family. It is fun.

But not always.

People are often much bolder on a computer..and in the past year..more than once I have offended others unintentionally. Like the time I said our local Sonic hired emancipated youth from the local Children's Shelter. You can't imagine how offensive that was to some people. Who knew?

Or the time, that I posted I was relieved my son could no longer be denied healthcare. Wow..the hate messages were flying my way..both publicly and privately. After all...I was a slacker. Who did I think he was to have these rights..and I was a socialist, communist, xyz. ( the way...I am not).

I have made a conscious effort to stay clear of political issues on facebook.

I have tried to stay clear of religious issues..

.but I have been a bit concerned at the numerous extremist groups I find on facebook. Anti-(name any religion here), anti-same-sex, ..and then the prayers for the death of certain political figures start.

This is where I draw the line.

Once again, I am making a conscious choice to take a break from what was supposed to be a chance to communicate with people who are dear to me and I don't see often.  Facebook, for me is fun.  Lately, however, facebook is causing me more physiological reactions than I care to acknowledge.My stomach wants to turn... My heart often flutters in my chest..and I think..why are people posting these things! I don't want to be reading this stuff!

  I understand that individuals who post these statements have not really thought through the ramifications of what they are saying.  Unfortunately, I am all too clear on the domino effects to things like genocide. I want no part of it. Especially in the name of a country or faith that I care about deeply.

Once again, I am choosing to leave a community (in this case..facebook) that allows these things to be posted in the name of  freedom.

Bullying, threats and prayers for another's death?! Really. Not okay.

I do not like who I am becoming in this environment. So, for now, I choose another medium to communicate with those I love.

That said..I will..instead..enjoy today finishing a long-overdue paper, visiting (you person and everything) with my parents..and finally..taking PROM PICTURES of Cody. Now that? That is the way to live.

 God's Peace.


Christina said...

I, too, am frustrated by the dark side to Facebook this morning. Currently, it is the "...President Obama is my favorite President" group, but there are still more than 500 groups and applications lauding throwing shoes at Bush and some snarky ones like, "I don't care about your farm, mafia, etc". What makes Facebook such an easy medium to treat each other with disrespect and to promote varying degrees of hate?

There does seem to be a very dark side to social media. There are quite a few hate groups and even more snarky ones. I call people out when they post joining such things. And many admit they "didn't really think about it." But sometimes, we generate good discussions from my commenting on their having joined such groups.

I will miss your postings AND I appreciate your need for distance. Come back when you are ready. in the meantime... I CAN'T visit you face to face, so which is better gmail or aol?

Ami said...

I deactivated my Facebook account about a month after I opened it.

Too many people I didn't like 30 years ago wanting to be my friend.

What you said about 'leaving communities' was very good and is so simple that I'm amazed more people don't just... leave if it works for them

We're taught to stick it out, to finish what we started, yadda yadda... pick your cliche.

But isn't it freeing to do what works for you and yours?

grillledcheesechic said...! I shouls have some Cody prom pics to post soon..think I'll do it here.:)

michi herself said...

I applaud your decision, your well, thought-out decision. I have found since leaving facebook that I am able to have better conversations with the people who are really important to me - either in person or via e-mail - without all the drama that was also starting to make me feel bad. I pray that you find this truly freeing.

michi herself said...

Oh, and by the way, I like the new blog layout and color scheme - much easier on my eyes! :D

Sardine Mama said...

You many times I could just unfriend somebody and I don't and I wonder why that is? I think that secretly I like getting upset over the stuff I read. How sick is that? I mean, otherwise it is just a click of a "hide" or "unfriend" button, right? So there must be some psychology behind it. Also - I happen to actually like a certain percentage of the crazies and when they're not spewing hate they are sometimes caring/funny people which makes it all the harder to put up with the dark rhetoric. But I do spend way too much time on fb and maybe i will quit, too. I reconnected with a dear friend so that made it all worth it...but most of initial enthusiasm that accompanied the "finding" of old friends quickly petered out. Oh and FINALLY - I noticed, Cheesy, that you have, ahem....PUT UP PROM PICTURES ON FACEBOOK THIS MORNING!! I love it.

grillledcheesechic said...

I confess..I did. They weren't pictures I took so I didn't want to post them here...I brag on my kid. Talk about sick. That said..I know what you mean about otherwise caring people..that is what makes it more difficult for all of us. However...I really do think I'm done for awhile..and I do miss just the nonsense talk with old friends I can't physically visit.
but Ami is is freeing to do what works for me and my family.

Christina said...

I will start with a caveat: this is NOT an attempt to bring you back to Facebook.

That said, I believe very strongly that if we only hang out with people who say what we want to hear and think the way we do, that we will lose our ability to empathize or learn or even worse the opportunity for the creativity that stems from two people with different thinking trying to meet somewhere that works for both.

And, if we don't tell people that what they say hurts or offends us then we haven't done our part to help them learn where we stand. I do struggle (every time I talk to my mom, for example) with the people, who even after I have tried to share my points of view, continue to operate as if I said nothing. And, I tend to create distance and minimize my exposure. But the others, the ones that stop and ponder and discuss, they make my efforts worth while.

Sardine Mama said...

Oh Cheesy, I forgot to mention something! Facebook hasn't lost all sense of common decency and morality. They still don't allow breastfeeding photos...just your basic, regular softcore porn. Thought that might cheer you up :).

grillledcheesechic said...

christy..I agree with you wholeheartedly. That said..please remember I live in a community where I would alien! No really... so on a day-to-day basis..I listen attentively to views that are very different than my own. I listen respectfully..I guess that is why I am so frustrated..I would like to see some mutual respect and civility. I feel like we are quickly losing our civility/our compassionate part of humanity as we become more and more desensitized to the language of hate. KWIM?