Thursday, April 21, 2011

Facebook: The new high school drama?

I resisted joining Facebook for a really long time.  I found it boring, and more than a little unfriendly to users.  I was used to the relative ease of MySpace and didn't really want another "me" page, especially-gasp!-one you couldn't personalize with blinky things and cool backgrounds.  Fast-forward a few years, and I am a bona-fied Facebook addict.  It's become my way of keeping in touch with friends all over the country.. really all over the world.  I rely on Facebook to reach out to other heart families which has helped me to feel a sense of belonging I think is essential when you have a child with special needs.
In the past few months I have become astounded at the petty bull crap that passes for socialization on Facebook.  People have to turn every little thing into a debate, even when it wasn't intended to be.  I am all for a good, healthy debate.  But there is no sense of maturity, respect, or humanity.  Accusations and snarky comments have become the norm.  It has come to the point where people attack others on every little thing they say and do.  I am so disappointed.  Why has it gotten to be like this?  Who do we think we are anyway offering our two cents when it wasn't even asked for? 
What finally tipped my hand and led me to write this particular post is what I witnessed today.  I have a heart mom friend who I have never met in person whose beautiful child defies all odds.  It's nothing short of miraculous that she's alive given the complexities of her heart defects, which in turn have affected most other areas of her life.  Today, she was accused of making up her child's heart problems!  What the..?!?  You can't fake that zipper scar, the blue cast to the skin around the mouth, the oxygen tank she totes around when she is having a particularly bad day.  Just because it may be something you don't understand doesn't give you permission to spout off about it.  Just because you are a fellow heart mom or a mom with a child who has another significant medical need does not make you the expert on all things cardio-thoracic.  I was actually deeply ashamed of the CHD community for the way that this mother was attacked.  The filthy accusations and name-calling were reminiscent of a schoolyard fight.  Parents, whether of a medically fragile child or one who is perfectly healthy, already have their work cut out for them without having to worry about what others think.  No one is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes, but there is no excuse for being hateful, cruel and accusatory.  Aren't we all supposed to be adults here?
Unless a child has been beaten or neglected in some way, another person's way of parenting isn't wrong just because it's not how you may handle it.  Even if you disagree with someone, why does it have to be a toxic end to a friendship?  Don't you think this world would be mighty boring if we all agreed on every little thing?
At the end of the day, ALL children are blessings.  Absolute miracles.  We should be thankful for them, no matter what their afflictions may be.  The best we can do is to love and care for them the very best that we can. 
Even if you have walked a mile in someone else's shoes, it doesn't mean you have the same blisters as they do.  Or that you treat the blisters in the same way.  So if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all!!  (Isn't that something your mom told you as a child?)  Or, in Facebook terms, if you don't "like" someone's status, feel free to not leave a comment.

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