The other day I was discussing with my longtime loyal friend the lack of filters people seem to have when they speak to others with no thought to feelings or lasting repercussions of their words. Words, I believe, should be utilized to build people up, encourage them, and make a difference in a positive manner. Thus, a FREE means of making a difference in the world in which all people are capable of participating. . . amazing. So, why such a lack of membership in such a tangible fraternity?
In discussions with my class over the social media Yik Yak, they were explaining how the posts were anonymous and typically negative in nature. My response was, “Sounds as if people have too much time on their hands,” and “This could be a phenomenal medium used to encourage and praise,” without any need for author recognition. So, why do people, regardless of age, use their words to bully others?
Believe me, I have been a victim of verbal bullying on more than one occasion as simply a human being, but also as a volunteer leader, volunteer coach, and volunteer teacher. While informally researching this post, I talked with my salt-of-the-earth friends who never hesitate when it comes to donating their time and talents for others. One friend told of how she and her husband were accused by a parent of bullying their child during a summer softball season. This is the same woman who drove 3 1/2 hours with two young girls and a newborn to surprise me on my birthday and then turn around and drive 3 1/2 hours back that same evening. Another mentioned a complaint by a parent when she cancelled a preschool soccer practice due to rain, and she responded with a reminder, “These kids are not training for the Olympics.” A further woman blessing whom mentored me my first year of coaching over fifteen years ago advised of closed practices as a means of eliminating parental harassment from the sidelines, and she was oh so right. It is no wonder people look away when asked to volunteer. Yet, one rarely sees those who complain or critique stepping forward to answer the need for volunteers. Brian Gotta wrote a Letter from a Coach which eloquently explains this phenomena.
I have had parents suggest I plan field trips and then fail to show with their child. I have had parents complain about their child’s playing time, but then arrive for the games with player in tow late, time and time again.
This longtime loyal friend of mine who sat for hours in the waiting room with my husband while doctors removed my breasts, who allowed me to trim her hair after school in her classroom, who demanded I participate despite a carbuncle growing on my eyelid, who has been my voice of reason for over fifteen years, who uses her words for the better good ended our conversation with, “Sometimes I see all the mean and negative ways people act and wonder how much society disappoints God.”