I was unfriended again.
Confession: it is not the first time it has happened nor do I expect it to be the last time.
I don’t know why or when they did it, I just know that one day we wereÂ Facebook friendsÂ and then one day we weren’t.
If my children were to say they had a similar experience I’d ask them if they were really that close with the other person because not knowing when you were unfriended suggests you aren’t very close.
Since we didn’t have a fight or disagreement I don’t know why they did it. Â I won’t lie and say I am not curious about their reason, but I am not bothered enough to reach out to them.
That is probably a good indication of how much value I placed upon that friendship. It is sort of like free advice, it is worth as much as it costs.
It reminds me about a conversation I had with the kids about being tolerant of other opinions.
With the presidential election around the corner they have been hearing a lot of different things from a lot of different people about the candidates.
Some of it has been…nasty.
Everyone Has An Opinion
I have taught them to remember that everyone has an opinion and that we need to respect that.
I have also taught them to be judgmental about who they spend their time with and what they do with them.
In simple terms it means they shouldn’t spend time with people who are going to get them into trouble.
But it doesn’t mean that people who have different opinions than we do are automatically bad either.
We pay attention to what people do and what they say.
It is ok to disagree and it is ok to challenge our beliefs.
It is not ok to live in a bubble and never challenge our thoughts.
There is not enough of that.
Some of myÂ progressiveÂ friends get upset because I tell them I think conversations about privilege are stupid and divisive.
They get irritated because I think economic class plays a huge role in where you go, what you do and what you have access to.
They get irritated because I think trying to eliminate gender specific toys is ridiculous. It doesn’t mean I only want my son or daughter to play with traditional boy/girl toys
It doesn’t mean I only want my son or daughter to play with traditional boy/girl toys because that is not true either
I want my daughter to have access to the same opportunities as boys. I don’t believe gender-specific toys are what will or won’t make that happen.
Maybe that is why they unfriended me, maybe it is not.
If it is it is pretty sad statement about who they are.
My teenager says he doesn’t see a reason to have a girlfriend and never wants to get married.
He tells me some of his friends are being tortured by girls and he thinks they are dumb.
I nod my head and tell him if he wants to believe that it is ok.
“Dad, you think I am going to change my mind. I am not.”
“I think nature is fighting you on this one but I am not in any rush for you to change your mind.”
“Dad, why do you care if I get married or not?”
I smile and tell him that if it happens it is great and if it doesn’t and he is happy that is cool too.
And then I tell him to consider a few things about men and women.
“I am not going to talk to you about sex and how good that does or doesn’t feel. But I will tell you that the right girl/woman will change your life in ways you can’t appreciate or understand. She’ll open your eyes and you’ll open hers to experiences you can’t have any other way.
There is value in that.”
He nods his head, grumbles and walks out of the room.
I don’tÂ tell him I saw a couple of girls staring at him at the movie theater and that I recognized the giggling.
No need to push any of this, it will happen in its time or it won’t.
Maybe he is right and I am wrong. Maybe he’ll never really be interested in girls, but methinks he doth protest too much, especially since he broached the conversation.
Parenting is the great contradiction of my life.
It is really hard and really easy, sometimes both at the same time.
The hard part is not now and has never been when the kids were infants or toddlers. The physical exhaustion was challenging but it was never as hard as the mental and physical stuff that comes when they are older.
Potty training and teaching them how to share had moments of frustration as did planning birthday parties forÂ a three-year-old and 30 of theirÂ closest friends.
But it was nothing compared to now.
Trying to explain why people do or not do not do is a never ending Gordian knot.
But I can’t say I am surprised. All you need to know about logic and human behavior can be found on social media.
The day I noticed I was unfriended I got four new friend requests.
Life goes on. 🙂