Unfriended…Again

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 were Facebook friends 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.  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 my progressive 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.

separate soul

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’t 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.

Unfriended…Again

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 for a three-year-old and 30 of their 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. 🙂

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6 Comments

  1. Carolyn April 14, 2016 at 3:44 am

    The most difficult phase of childhood for a parent is the phase your kids are currently in. So, I agree with you, it’s tougher as the kids get older.

    I’ve been unfriended too on Facebook and when that happens I sometimes send them a friend request. I say, “I don’t know what happened but Facebook doesn’t list us as friends anymore.” Each time it has been accepted.

    Of course, some friendships are better ended…

    • Jack Steiner April 14, 2016 at 7:37 pm

      It is a brutal age n some ways, just nutty. There are these daily challenges that make me want to tear my hair out because they are so damn silly.

      I sometimes wonder if it is worth sending a friend request or note to see what happens or happened. But most of the time I don’t. I just figure it is done for now or forever and let it ride.

  2. Larry April 12, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    Unless I got a notice on my personal page that people unfriended me, I wouldn’t even notice. Do you get one? Anyway, so long. If it’s those fb friends that you don’t really know. If not – lame and passive aggressive.
    It annoys me when people unlike my blog/facebook page. I want to know who. Oh well.

    • Jack Steiner April 13, 2016 at 7:24 am

      The only reason I noticed they were gone is they updated so frequently they were always in my feed and then they…weren’t.

      I hear you about people who stop following/subscribing to the blog. I wonder too.

  3. Kaarina April 12, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    And I can verify that our kids are our kids for the rest of our lives. The “formative years”, in hindsight were in many ways, a piece of cake. We instil values, teach, nurture and support as they take their first steps, have their first heartbreak, don’t make the team, and the myriad of “growing up stuff” they go through, and we as parents do our best to assist. I’m no helicopter parent, but as I see my adult sons in this “global economy” try to afford a home, deal with the onslaught of daily doomsday news in a world far too caught up in “things” and disasters (real and imagined) , and wish there was more light and laughter and far less pressure for them…things that I, as their parent forever, try to bring to their lives. And yes: every generation has had its share of challenge and strife, in many cases far worse. I guess this long-winded comment is really meant to say: love them and hug them, let them flop and fly, know that experience is a great teacher, trust them and also know…what they say as the’re growing and learning, we as parents can give a wink to ourselves, knowing that “it’s just a phase” is quite apt in many cases. Cheers!

    • Jack Steiner April 13, 2016 at 11:04 am

      I don’t think it is any crazier now than most other times we have all lived through. The biggest difference is the flood of information and how that rains down upon us without any let up and often without any filters.

      It is hard to process all of that for adults and for kids who lack life experience, well it is pretty damn hard. So I suppose we do as you say, love, hug, hold and help as best we can and keep our fingers crossed. 🙂

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