Sunday, January 4, 2015

On: In Unprecedented Decision, 7th Graders’ Cruel Facebook Bullying Might Actually Cost – The Parents

A recent post to my Facebook page I thought was worthy of sharing...

Warning: This is real and happening more often than we pick up on. And it does happen around here. Social Media, with Facebook and beyond, is a vast land where all sorts of hate, scorn, judgement, and criticism -- cast through the ill will of an individual -- drown victims and pull down bystanders. A larger concern is that our kids not only learn this from TV and like media but also from the adults and role models in their lives (this may or may not include you as a parent or associated adult, that is up to you to reflect upon).

Adults more and more are using Facebook to cast judgement, to throw stones, whether directly or indirectly (more often indirectly), whether toward individuals or organization, so quick to point out the faults and skeletons of others. What good does this bring?

I believe the world is changing and it seems more and more people strive to divide than to unify, break down than to build up, kick rather than help. As it relates to this Facebook news brief, understand that in education, parents, we are trying to keep up with the evolution of technology, even the evolution of human nature.

Society and education need your help in monitoring what our kids are doing online, as well as what they are doing offline -- they both carry the same weight because on or off line, the behavior is the same. We need your help in showing the way, modeling qualities of critical thinking, problem solving, and most importantly today, conflict resolution. And, of course setting limits and having the difficult conversations you might remember our parents having with us once upon a time. Though they don't always want us, they need us, the structure - the village.

I recently wrote a Facebook Note (that I haven't shared) -- it's purpose was to let my friends and family know why I no longer frequent Facebook, maybe I'll still post it. My reservation is due to the number of people who may be offended as it is difficult to separate my personal opinion from my professional, but maybe that shouldn't matter when it comes to attempting to differentiate behaviors that make society better from behaviors that don't -- it all comes down to problem solving and conflict resolution.

Essentially what I am saying is I'm not sure Facebook is the place to air dirty laundry, to attack individuals and organizations, and to simply complain. Again, what purpose does this serve? Of course, anyone can choose not to follow these types of news feeds, but what I’m proposing is modifying our own behavior to help our children learn healthy ways of interacting with others, of resolving conflict. Leadership is needed in this area! A great deal of leadership!

[For those whose inner chatter is going a mile a minute ready to pounce, "Who in the heck does she think she is, sending this message? Thinking she’s high and mighty? She’s no better than the rest of us. She’s just as flawed as the next! Yea, yea, yea!!" You are RIGHT.]

I am one person, who undoubtedly and humanly make mistakes, but I know my purpose resides in leadership and education. JFK said, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to one another.” Thus, even though I am still a toddler in educational leadership taking in my surroundings, adjusting, living, and learning-inevitably falling down and getting back up, I absolutely believe JFK had it figured out: "The problems with this world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need people who can dream of things that never were." [John F. Kennedy (1917-1963)]

JFK's beliefs relate to so many problems in life. Together, we can accomplish much, much more. Instead of picking up stones, let's put them together to build a better world. Remember, to build a structure of this sort, it takes many hands, commitment to the goal, and time; it takes a willingness to refrain from judgement and scorn by taking a step back and listening to that inner chatter always circulating in our heads and then doing something constructive with it.

Think before you post. Think before you act. Is it helpful or hurtful? Consider all the eyes watching and learning from your lead (whether online or off). Each of us is a leader - parent, educator, banker, farmer, community member alike. Each of us powerful. What is your purpose? What will you do with your power?

To the video: 
In Unprecedented Decision, 7th Graders’ Cruel Facebook Bullying Might Actually Cost – The Parents