Students were given a unique experience today. Our principal spent the Christmas holidays in South Africa with his daughter and toured from Durban to Cape Town. Included in the tour was a trip to Robben Island, former home of Nelson Mandela. When the principal returned to school and shared his experience with the teachers, I was excited. My classes were studying about Gandhi and Mandela, and I quickly asked the prinicipal if he would be willing to share with my classes.
There are very few times that students get a chance to hear from someone who has experienced something first hand. Usually all of the material comes from a dry textbook and it is left up to the teacher to enrich it to the best of his/her ability. Being a school located in No Where Midwest, we do not have a multitude of resouces at our fingertips. In fact, many who live here have never been more than a few hours from home.
That said, to have someone willing to come and share personal experiences with the class was an honor and a priveledge today. It brought to life the story of a man who changed the face of South Africa much like Martin Luther King Jr. changed lives here in the United States.
Today, seemingly more than ever, it is easier to make a comment about someone or something almost anonymously and get away with it. Or so we think. We have blogs (like this one) where we can write, rant and rave about our likes and dislikes and social networks where we can not only rant, but comment on others’ posts. Herein lies the dilema. Do we unleash and empower that urge that strikes when we read an absolutely ridiculous post and make a comment on it? Or do we harness our energy and redirect it toward the common good?
There have been numerous times (add emphasis) that I have read a post by someone and found the perfect snide remark to make in response. At other times, I have witnessed people openly bashing an “ex” whatever as though the internet provided safety and there would be no recompense for the deed. Others feel the need to express hurts and longings in their daily posts in order to draw simpathy from any innocent reader. The question is, “Should we yield to every brain fart that we have and give it life?”
People’s responses to asinine postings vary. Those who have a more base nature tend to retaliate quickly without much forethought, while those who have recieved more enlightenment may at least ponder the decision a while longer before acting. Probably the most informed among us would fein disgust at the notion of even being associated with such networks. The answer, I believe, lies in the maturity of each individual. There is an old adage which says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This applies to all, no matter what social or intellectual standing. In other words, think first, act second. Would you want someone making a snide remark on your post? Would you want someone writing “anonymously” about you and your decisions?
If we all followed this principle, the world be a much happier place. In fact, tabloids might even be put out of business! So the next time that urge rises within, ask the question, “Should I post this or not? Would I want someone to post this about me?” Happy Facebooking!