So, it’s been a bit since I posted anything. Partly because I have been non-stop with the kids and, partly because I have 8 million different things I’ve wanted to post about. But there is something that has been eating at me for the better part of a week now and, I wanted to share with you all.
I’m sure everybody has heard of the phrase, “You know what happens when you assume…don’t you? You make ass of you and me.” I know I am definitely guilty of assuming things, especially things about people that I believe to be true based only off of things I hear or I read. However, in the last year or so, I have come to realize I should never assume that I know everything about a person or an event solely based off of what I read or what I heard. There are ALWAYS two sides to every story and, the truth ALWAYS lies somewhere in the middle.
If you follow me on social media, primarily Facebook, you probably saw that last Wednesday, Vince and I took the kids on a little field trip. We visited some of our local police departments. We wanted to bring them some treats and to give them some pictures we colored and to thank them for their service. This isn’t something that is really new for us; we haven’t really visited the departments before, however, we have always gone out of our way to thank them or shake their hands or take our kids to speak with them at events we see them at or as they are just driving through our neighborhood. Visiting departments was never really a thought I had until Vince became a firefighter and we started visiting him.
With everything going on in the world, Vince and I have made the decision to limit what the kids see and hear about it all. They know about the pandemic but in a way that they can understand. We’ve told them there is an illness caused by germs that is making a lot of people sick right now. We have been staying home and wearing masks if we go out to stores to try and help keep the germs from spreading to too many people. We have also told them that if we do get these specific germs, called Coronavirus, that everything will be okay and we will just take care of this sickness like we do any other sickness.
With all of the protests and rioting going on, we’ve chosen our words even more carefully. We have told them that there are people right now who are mad at police officers. When they’ve asked why, we tell them that it’s because there are some police officers who are actually not very nice people so they don’t always do things the right way and because of this, there are people who think that all police officers are bad. We have said that this a silly way to think because not everybody is bad just because some people are. Just like all teachers aren’t bad just because some are or all priests are bad just because some are. I even gave the example of, “pretend your <brother> or <sister> does something wrong and I am mad at them, does that mean that I should be mad at all of my kids? When they told me no, then I knew they were understanding what I was saying.
Back to our field trip…I reached out to a few of our local police departments wondering if they are accepting treats (because of the virus) and if an officer would be willing to just say hi quickly to the kids. The responses that I received was amazing. They were so excited to learn that we wanted to do this. I was told treats were acceptable (each department had their own rules with it) and, I was told that an officer would be more than willing to talk to the kids. So we scheduled a day and times that we could go visit the 3 stations and our kids were in HEAVEN! They learned about why officers dress the way they do, they learned about the different things they carry with them, and they even got to see inside of a few squad cars! Our kids were SUPER excited to give them the treats we got for them and loved showing them the pictures they drew for them as well. We got some fun pictures and the kids even got some treats from each of the officers!
Fast forward to the next morning, I posted the pictures and a “story” about our day with the local police officers on Facebook. I posted it to my private page, made it public and then shared it on my blog page and the 3 towns’ pages that we visited. When feedback started coming in, it was great! All sorts of love and support and even thanking us for what we did. I got private messages, too, saying the same things. But, by the time night came and I went on Facebook, the majority of my posts were being ripped to shreds. One of the local pages was (and continues to be) almost all positive comments. One of the other local pages had so much hate and negativity with it that it got deleted. Not by me but, either an admin or Facebook in general. The third one has been split 50/50. There are people loving it and commenting such nice and kind comments and, there are people that are doing nothing but bashing me. The same is happening on my private page since I made the post public.
These people are assuming I did this for a political agenda while using my kids as a “prop.” They are assuming that because Vince and I are teaching our children to trust and support the police, that we are racists and are not teaching our children that there are officers who target people for no other reason other than they don’t like them. They are assuming that I do not support equality or think that every person, especially people of color, deserve to be treated like the people they are. Basically, they are assuming every single thing about me that is negative based on this post.
I am also getting flack for not wearing masks during our visit. And we weren’t…I won’t hide it. I also won’t hide that I don’t like wearing the masks. Not only do I think they are just plain ridiculous but, I think they are very impersonal, they are hard to breathe in and, they interfere with how people communicate with each other. Now, let me explain further…we did have them with us, in case we were asked to wear them. We did NOT go inside any building; we stayed outside the whole time. The one officer talked to us in a little garden section on the property. He stayed on one end of the garden and my family stayed on the other (as shown in the pictures). Another officer had a mask on but, he was a quite a few feet away from us during our visit. Just as our visit was ending with him, an employee came out and offered to take our picture. The officer then came and stood behind us while our picture was being taken. The last officer we visited did not have a mask on either and, we did not properly social distanced. I understand this may be upsetting to some people but, we all felt perfectly comfortable and we chose to interact this way.
I find it interesting that these people are assuming pretty harsh and nasty things about me and are basing these assumptions based off of things that they see on social media. And the funniest part is that I don’t have my ENTIRE private page set to public. So unless you are friends with me on Facebook, you can only see certain posts that I make public.
I’ve combatted these comments with sarcasm or just regular conversational comments. I’ve ignored ones that I know I cannot stay calm or respectful with and have even removed the pictures (but given descriptions of the pictures) because of the comments people are posting as they share my post to show my “ignorance,” my “racism,” my “selfishness,” and my “bootlicking pigbitch” personality. I can’t say that some of these assumptions don’t sting a little bit because they definitely do. But I also know that these people truly don’t know me nor do they care to know me. I know that they are purely basing their assumptions on this specific post and the posts that I’ve allowed them to see. I know when people come at you with name calling, they should literally not be given the time of day. When people resort to name calling my mind goes one of two places: First, they know they have “lost” the argument, so this is how they feel they can “win,” and secondly, they literally lack all forms of intelligence to act as adolescents who don’t get their way. And now, when I see these comments, the majority of the time I just shake my head and laugh. How sad can one person’s life be that they literally have to “bully” somebody ON THE INTERNET! I would put BIG money on the fact that more than half of these people spewing their hate and misery on me wouldn’t say these things to my face. It is so easy to be a “tough guy” miles away hidden behind your computer/phone screen.
So, for everybody reading this, whether you know me personally or not, please know that your hurtful comments do not affect me. I do not cry because somebody on the internet, WHO DOESN’T EVEN KNOW ME, calls me a name as if we are in middle school or they make crazy accusations based off of the tiniest bit of information. I also want you all to know that I do not back down from an argument/disagreement. I would MUCH rather the conversation remain calm and respectful but, just because you choose to get mean and nasty, you will not scare me away. How can I teach my children to stand up for themselves and for what they believe in if I, myself, will cower when things get difficult. I do love a passionate debate, always have and always will but, I will not stoop to a level where the person I am arguing with feels like less of a person. I follow what my parents taught me…if I don’t have anything nice to say, I don’t say anything at all.