Choose to be different on social media

It was Christmas night. Our 18-month-old daughter hadn’t taken a nap, and she was exhausted. But not the exhausted-so-she’ll-sleep kind of tired. More like the exhausted-so-she’s-bouncing-off-the-walls kind of tired.

It happened in the blink of an eye. Our kiddo climbed on an end table, fell off, and landed on the base of an upright lamp with her arm tucked under her. Off we went to the ER. An X-ray confirmed our suspicions. Our toddler had a broken arm. 

Thankfully we lived on an island in Alaska and the doctors knew us. They reassured us that accidents happen. Also thankfully, Facebook wasn’t around then. Otherwise we could have easily heard: “Why weren’t you paying closer attention?” “How could you have let this happen?” “My kids know they aren’t allowed on the furniture.”

Parenting is tough because of social media, isn’t it? 

For some strange reason, the screen offers a weird kind of courage. You don’t have to look someone in the eye or consider how your words may impact them. It allows people to type what they would never dream of saying in person. Then others chime in with, “Well, you don’t know me, so don’t judge me.” Finally it ends with a “fine, if you don’t agree, unfriend me.” At a time when we are supposed to be closer because we’re in touch with so many more people, I think people feel lonelier and more defensive and more unsure of their parenting.

So if you’re a Christian, instead of complaining about how awful social media is, thank God for this awesome opportunity—and get to work!  

That means you and I choose to be different. If I wouldn’t say it when I look someone in the eye, I don’t say it online. If you can’t say it out of Christian love, you don’t type it. We choose words that encourage and build up. And, when people ask for advice (which really can be a great use of Facebook!), offer suggestions with honesty and love and let them know you’ll pray for their decision. Then follow up a few days or weeks later in private. The people you are reaching out to will feel blessed that you continue to remember them.

Linda Buxa is a writer and editor. She was eight months pregnant when her kiddo broke her arm, so her husband had to be the one in the X-ray room, trying to a) get her to lie still and b) get her to stop crying. He was a champ that night.


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