Once again, this is one of those posts that was going to be about something else and then something happened that got the gears turning in my head.
It is safe to say I drew the long straw as far as in-laws go when I married my wife. They are a great group of individuals. Her mother is a retired teacher, she works in education as a School Social Worker, and her sister is a teacher in another state.
The basis of this post involves that sister (in-law for me).
I generally try to keep my posts pretty clean, unlike @slobberchops with his sailor mouth (just kidding!). This story makes me so angry that it was hard to refrain from using some of that colorful language.
So here we go...
My sister in law ran into her classroom early on a Sunday morning, her principal was out for a run and took a picture of the dark school with the lights on in that lone room and made a post about it on Twitter (she is very active on Twitter). It basically said, look at the dedication of our employees, they come in early on weekends, etc.
I've me the principal before, she is about one of the best people you could ever meet, so I know that her post was coming from a good place with the best of intents.
Meanwhile, another teacher takes the Tweet, redacts the names and posts it to a group of teachers from within that district. This is where I start getting angry...
You would not believe the vile bitter comments that started to be posted. Phrases like "I hope this is a joke", "toxic positivity", and all kids of other stuff became pretty common. Complaints that "we are so overworked, you shouldn't be praising the fact we have to come in on the weekend...". Then the post made it to Facebook and the public started jumping in.
The principal called my sister in law in tears because this great thing she had tried to do turned into a something so negative.
Listen, I am the first to admit that unless you know the person, written media is really hard to infer the tone of the author.
My question is, what happened that so commonly the first reaction is negativity, bitterness, hate even. I will admit, the principal and my sister in law are pretty good friends. They don't hide their friendship even though they are supervisor and subordinate.
Is it jealousy that drove people to do this? Guilt? Because they aren't as "dedicated"? Did someone just piss in their Cheerios that day? I really don't know, but it is a trend that I find really concerning.
The sad fact is, it kind of wasn't even what it appeared to be. My sister in law took Friday off because her parents were in town, she ran in quick Sunday to grab her planner and something else and then was gone. What if she had stayed and worked though? Is that a crime? Since when did hard work become something to be held in such disdain?
The other sad fact is, this bitterness that these people seem to exude just breeds more bitterness. Look at how upset I am writing this post. I am wasting energy being angry at people for being angry.
Where does it end?
I've been thinking a lot over the past year or so about empathy. I have been trying to look beyond where a persons head is and trying to figure out where or what their heart is. I think we need to do that more often, especially when it comes to Social Media. Move past your knee-jerk reaction and try to see what the "heart" is of the persons post.
If it seems to be coming from a place of anger, what is the root of that anger? Most likely, you will never be able to fix the source of the anger, but trying to understand it can go a long way.
There is a Thomas Rhett song out now called "Be a Light", the chorus goes "in a world full of hate be a light". I think that applies to this situation as well. In a world full of pessimists, be a light.
Final thought... How many of you used your movie announcer voice when you read the title of my post?
All pictures taken by myself or @mrsbozz