Today I saw a friend post an inspiring story on Facebook. She shared the story of a single mother who was pulled over for speeding. The kindness and compassion of the officer making the stop, forever changed her life in a beautiful and uplifting way. To see the story, click here.
The story was perfect for this dreary and cold Thursday! Truth is, I’m a sucker for these heartwarming stories. It was a nice change from some of the junk I usually see. That’s when something popped out at me. As I was about to make a comment on the article and how beautiful and inspiring it was, there it sat: a hateful comment. I was truly shocked. A hateful and vicious comment on such a touching story? I looked further, there were HUNDREDS of comments just as hateful as the one before it. I sat there saddened by the meanness of the internet.
You guys, these are adults. Grown adults spewing hate for the woman in the article. Grown adults taking the time to publicly humiliate and disrespect a woman’s appearance, which had absolutely nothing to do with the purpose of the article. Grown adults making racist, sexist and degrading comments about the families in the article. I sat there reading each one and getting more confused, angry and disgusted. These people took the time to take a beautiful article and dismantle it with hateful opinions and disgusting words.
What if KIDS aren’t the problem? They are young, impressionable, and still learning. They are watching us, following us, and mimicking our actions. We are adults. We know better. What if the bullying problem isn’t the kids, but the adults standing in front of them? The adults that display anger, hate, bigotry and the exact actions that we are asking kids to avoid.
Take a look anywhere on the internet and you’ll find bullies. Adult bullies sitting there behind a computer screen ready to attack any and every article, person, and opinion that they can. This is a problem. It has to stop. We are so much better than this. What will it take to become more uplifting, supportive, positive and less judgmental, hateful and vindictive? I’m not sure the exact answer, but I know it starts with us, the adults.
We can’t ask children to see the beauty in others if all we are doing is tearing people down. We can’t ask children to respect their peers, if we ourselves are constantly degrading and disrespecting others. We can’t ask our children to value others opinions if we are taking the time to demean the opinions of those that differ from us. We can’t ask our children to see more than the appearance, if we degrade the appearance of those around us. We have to be the guiding light, leading by example.
Trust me, I’m not sitting here acting like I’ve never said a bad thing about someone. I have and I am certainly not proud. I was a teenager once too. In fact, a rather mean and insecure one. The difference between then and now, I know better. I’ve learned that my own insecurities don’t have to drown out the success and beauty of others! I’ve learned that life isn’t a competition. The success of others doesn’t devalue my own accomplishments! I’ve learned that the beauty of those around me, doesn’t diminish the beauty I possess. I’ve learned that kindness, compassion and a humble heart are the best qualities a person can have. Once you take a step back and reflect, you’ll realize that the world is so much richer, brighter and brilliant because we are unique individuals.
I read a quote once that said, “Dimming someone’s light won’t make yours shine any brighter!” It’s simple but incredibly true. So today I ask, what are you doing to be a good role model? Are you trying to help ignite others lights or dim them?
Go out there and help shine someone’s light today! I promise you’ll both leave with brighter lights, happier hearts, and enough joy to fill a room!
A thirty-something wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is a sappy romantic, coffee junkie, book collector, and person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sarcastic, full of jokes, full of tears, and enjoys writing most when life gets messy or complicated. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. Through her grief journey, she decided to take her mother’s advice and share her writing with the world. One day she gained the courage to honor her mother's wishes and write. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made.