Friday, February 14, 2014

Choosing What We Pay Attention To

I know, I know, John Green again? Sorry, I do adore him and this video made me stop, pause, and rewind. I had many thoughts when watching this:

Crap, I am middle aged.

Pop culture – blah.

I knew the color of that car too. Why is that?

And then I really thought – why is it our brains are so filled up with the sensationalism? The negative? Why do we delight in hearing bad news about people? Truly, this makes me sad, and I don’t think it is confined to celebrities.

I teach digital citizenship to my students. I talk about what we put out there in text, Facebook, Instagram, etc. I have told them that we need to be kind, think before posting, and ask if we would say what we are writing to someone’s face. Important stuff.

However, I am friends with several kids in social media. They can screw up, yes, but the worst comments/ posts I see in social media are not from kids, but from adults. People post when they are frustrated. People comment with only knowing one side of the story. What might have been a discussion between friends becomes public. You infer tone. You make assumptions. You make mistakes.

I love the world of social media. I follow family members who live far from me and I feel like we are closer. I have met teachers and authors across the country that I now count among my dear friends. But there is a negative side too. I make judgments when I see people comment negatively. I wonder why we live in a word where it is ok to mock others. I wonder why it is easier to celebrate the downfall and jump on the Facebook threads to knock down the other guy. I know I have been guilty of this myself.

One of my resolutions this year was to stop, just stop. To remember there are two sides of every story. To remember that we all – kids and adults alike – we all make mistakes and that I should give everyone a second chance. That I am not the better person if I am tearing someone else down. John and Hank Green often end their videos with the phrase DFTBA, or Don’t Forget to Be Awesome. That is something I want to celebrate – the awesome. Yes, it is easy to find the negative, but I am going to choose what I pay attention to and try my hardest to imagine others complexly. Thanks for the once again, John Green. I promise I’m not a stalker. J