August 29, 2016

Who Will You Be Today?

"How will you shape your today in order to make your future better? What picture do you want to paint as a role model to your children? These things may not matter to you today, but I promise you that the second you become a parent, it is ALL that matters."
Becoming a mother has forced me to question a lot of things in my life and the world around me. It’s caused me to stop, and think “would I want my son to do something like this” before I do anything. Should I have that extra glass of wine? Should I post this on Instagram? Should I tell that woman where to go and how to get there?

For those who aren’t familiar with where I live, my town has been a magnet for tragedy for decades. Countless lives have been lost much too young for various reasons. Recently, we’ve endure two more unfortunate deaths in unrelated circumstances. Now, I didn’t know either of the people who lost their lives. I knew who they were, but that was about the extent of it. Does it make it less sad? No. I still hurt for those families and friends of those who had the privilege of knowing them.

In the last couple days, I watched some online drama unfold. And I listened to how upset it has made my husband, who did know both of these wonderful people before their passing.

Incident #1: A young woman decided to take to Facebook to express her love and sadness for the passing of a woman who she went to school with. The girl was tragically hit by a charter bus in Providence last week and lost her life. It was by no fault of her own, she was in a crosswalk and the bus driver was likely just not paying attention. The woman received many sympathies and comments from others sharing similar feelings…except one. An internet troll who decided to make a joke of the situation. She (or he…I’m honestly not sure who was behind that keyboard) decided to make a “joke” that the poster was only sorry because she “probably pushed her [in front of the bus]”. Anyone who is not from a small town may not understand this, but when someone attacks one of our own, it doesn’t matter if you like the person or not, or even know the person…you have their back. So naturally, this turned into a huge back and forth between the troll and those who couldn’t make sense of how someone could say something so cruel.

Incident #2: My husband came home from work last night to tell me about another classmate of his who passed away of brain cancer. He told me about what a great kid he was growing up and that he’d been battling this disease for a handful of years now. I watched Tim then get visibly upset as he told me that there were some people around town saying “Who cares? He was a jerk anyway.” Tim then explained to me that yes, over the recent years there were a couple incidents with this young man that could have led others to believe this…but he had BRAIN cancer! BRAIN! As in these incidents were out of character and very possibly caused by the cruel disease he had. But regardless, who says that?!

It made me think hard. And the young woman who posted to Facebook, followed up with the exact sentiment I was feeling. She posed an important question. How does it feel to know your parents could see that you wrote that? Or worse, the deceased parents and family? How can you say those things knowing your future children could see that you wrote something like that? We think that behind a screen we are all invincible. And simply deleting a comment can solve the problem. What we let out into the internet world is FOREVER. I think back to all those moments I’ve posted things that are less than desirable. I pray my son never sees those things about me. All the f-bombs, the sultry song lyrics that I thought at the time were fun and playful. Ugh! What was I thinking!? 

Luckily, I am an adult now. And I seriously question every decision I make on whether it is something I want Cooper to see. Would he be embarrassed of my actions? How would I feel if he did something like this? Would it make me disappointed? I really hope the families of the deceased never have to read those awful things people have said. Or even this post. Part of me feels guilty for even giving any attention to those situations but really, it needs to be said. I really hope the people who said these awful things feel shame and really question themselves. Because what you do will not be just a reflection of your past. It will be a reflection of your past, your present and your future. There are consequences for every action and you live with the choices you make in the moment. How will you handle it? How will you shape your today in order to make your future better? What picture do you want to paint as a role model to your children? These things may not matter to you today, but I promise you that the second you become a parent, it is ALL that matters.

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