I receive feedback from all kinds of people about this blog – folks without autism in their families, folks with autism in their families, and folks with autism. Most of the time these comments revolve around others finding something to which they can relate. I love receiving feedback – from all types of folks!
This blog is not so much related to autism itself as it is to people and relationships in general. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about the posts where I disclose a story that hurts our hearts. These often receive the most feedback and I receive messages from people who read:
“I can relate and I’m not autistic.”
“I felt odd.”
“I experienced the same thing(s) and I’m not on the spectrum.”
“My child has many of these same experiences.”
Here is where I struggle. Here is what I just don’t understand.
Was a teacher ever unfair to you?
Was a classmate ever nasty to you?
Did you ever feel bullied?
Did you ever feel ugly?
Did you ever feel like people made fun of your weight?
Did you not have ‘cool’ clothes?
Most of all…did you ever not fit in?
Were you not the smartest?
Were you not the fastest?
Were you not the most athletic?
Were you not the star of the school play?
Were you not a ‘first chair’ musician?
Most of all…did you want to be one of these things?
I’m going to go out on a limb and write that everyone reading this blog identified with at least one of those questions.
If that is the case, then why in the world aren’t we all nicer to each other? Why aren’t we (as adults) ALL kind to the skinny, chunky, musical, athletic, smart, not-so-smart, poor, rich adults. All adults.
If that is the case, then why aren’t we all teaching our children to be kind to each other? Kind to skinny kids, chunky kids, musical kids, athletic kids, smart kids, not-so-smart poor kids, rich kids…all kids.
For real. There is not ONE ounce of me that is joking here.
And…if those ideas are true, let’s consider these.
If we KNOW that being a child is hard…
If we KNOW that being an adolescent is hard…
If we KNOW that being a teen is hard…
If we KNOW that being a young adult is hard…
If we KNOW that being an adult is hard…
Then why in the world do people say hateful, awful things towards and about each other?
Last fall I learned about this thing called ‘sub-tweeting’ and it recently entered my life again. Not directly – but with someone I know. For those of you who don’t know – it’s used on Twitter. Sub-tweeting is indirectly tweeting something about someone without using their name, but it is very clear to whom the original tweeter is referring.
Person A tweets about Person B.
Person A does not use the name of Person B.
Person B knows it is about them because of what is said.
Person A will never be held accountable for what was written because the direct receiver was never stated (regardless of intention).
Person B feels awful.
Person A feels – I don’t know…vindicated in expressing their opinion?
Holy passive aggressiveness.
My real concern here? My thoughts to Person A. Does it really help the situation? Does it really you heal from any wrong doing? Does it help to throw another human being under the bus? Most of all, does it truly, honestly make you feel better? If so, I’m gravely concerned for the loss of civility amongst the human race.
I’m not sure why anyone thinks this type of behavior is okay. My mom taught me that if you didn’t have something nice to say – then you shouldn’t say anything at all. Now, I recognize that gossip and the airing of grievances are as old as dirt. My mother also taught me – that if I did need to say something it should be said only to my closest confidences and for goodness sakes, NEVER in writing.
Our children learn from our behaviors.
My challenge would be…as parents, we all put up a good front – but what happens behind your door? This idea of ‘sub-tweeting’ is the same thing.
So, if you read the text above and found yourself saying things like:
“I can’t believe that.”
“How childish and immature.”
Before we respond in that way – let’s take a look at our own homes. Do we, as parents, make comments about other parents? Do we comment about the way they dress or how they speak? Do we comment about their morality (or lack of it)? Do we comment about their mannerisms? Do we make comments that would allude to their worth as a human? Are we ‘choosy’ about the friends we allow (or want) our children to have?
When our children hear our comments about our peers, why should we be surprised that they take part in this ‘sub-tweeting’ with their peers?
Maybe that’s one of the very important lessons that autism has taught this family. We’re not perfect – but we simply don’t go there. Everyone has a story – and I strongly believe that everyone is doing their very best at any given moment.
Everyone needs the benefit of the doubt.
Everyone needs love.