I knew something was wrong the minute she got off the bus. She didn’t make her usual jubilant bee line for me, and didn’t look me in the eye when I leaned in for a kiss. Nope, this wasn’t usual Lilli.
“Honey, how was your day?”
With a deep sigh, she handed me her backpack and replied, “Look.”
I opened the pack, pulled out her yellow daily folder and turned to yesterday’s date on her behavior calendar. If it’s blank, it means there were no problems.
Hers was not.
It read, “At pack up time, Lilli hit a friend. :(”
I sat down on the couch and pulled her up next to me.
“Tell me what happened.”
“Mimmie, we were standing in line and Noah kept singing a song that wasn’t very nice. I asked him to stop and he wouldn’t. He just kept going on and on and ON. So I hit him.”
We talked about why that wasn’t the best idea, what she could’ve done instead, and then she wrote apology notes to him and her teacher. She lost her iPad time that she usually gets after her homework, and had to spend some time in her room instead.
Normal, teachable kindergarten moments.
And yet, I see this behavior EVERY SINGLE DAY on social media, and it’s not between a bunch of kindergartners, although it’s hard to tell the difference sometimes.
What is it about being behind a screen that makes us say things that we’d never say if we were standing in front of that person? What makes us think it’s okay to verbally bludgeon people with words akin to a baseball bat to the head?
When you move in a community of hundreds of thousands of people, you are going to find disagreement on every level. People are going to go on and on and ON about things that make your blood boil, that you find offensive, or simply make you want to scream STOP and slug them for good measure. But you know what?
That’s not okay.
Or at least it shouldn’t be.
Next time we’re tempted to rattle off something equally offensive, I hope we’ll take a moment and ask ourselves…
“Would I say this if they were standing right in front of me?”
Or better yet…
“If I was in kindergarten, would this get my folder signed??”
If the answer is “no” to the first question and “yes” to the second, scroll away from the inflammatory post until you find a video of a baby laughing, take a deep breath, and make a nice comment or no comment at all.
Bring some of the civility of real life into your virtual world and love your fellow man.
(And then maybe shut off the virtual for a while and go log some hours in the real world, she says to herself.)
Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. ~ 1 Peter 4:8 MSG