Sticks and stones…texts and tweets

Words can be very powerful….powerful for good and powerful to destroy. As our culture changes, social media provides new avenues to connect. Unfortunately, it can also be used to destroy. Here are some thoughts about words….

“…terms in the Bible for gossip include:  backbiter, busybody, slanderer, secrets, talebearer and whisperers.  So then, a Biblical definition of gossip would be to spread rumors or secrets, speak about someone maliciously behind their back or repeat something about someone else that you have no right to repeat.” http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/gossip-bible-verses-15-helpful-quotes/#ixzz2R62LkTOZ

If it is to be spoken, it should be part of a solution, to clarify, or to edify. I love the word “edify.” According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary online, edify is a verb \ˈe-də-ˌfī\, meaning 1: archaic a. build   b. establish;  2: to instruct and improve especially in moral and religious knowledge: uplift; also: enlighten, inform Source: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/edify

Thus, if our words are edifying, we are using them to build or establish such as a relationship or uplifting a person. It is constructive, never destructive.

When we speak about another person, we should consider our purpose of what we say, the possible consequences to others, and the possible consequences to you. As our adolescents, tweens, and teens learn abstract thinking, it is important that they learn the moral effects of words.

Social media amplifies the effects of words. Hurtful gossip that used to be only verbal among a few people is now amplified by social media routes that escalate the damaging words in seconds through each connection’s network of “friends.” As momentum of the juicy tidbit gains, the initial information, whether based on reality or malice, grows exponentially, both in those who participate by reading, disseminating, and further changing the initial message; and the enormity of the effects upon the subject of the information.

Tips to combat gossip:

  1. Don’t believe everything you read on-line. Be discerning and teach your children how to be discerning.
  2. If information is about another person, we should consider our purpose of speaking/writing it; consider possible consequences to others; and consider possible consequences to you.
  3. Consider the purpose of the gossip. Gossip provides an avenue for connection, at the expense of the subject.
  4. Do not associate yourself with one who spreads rumors.
  5. If you are present when someone starts to talk about other people, change the subject or walk away.
  6. If you are not part of the problem or part of the solution, stay out of it.
  7. When you are the victim of gossip, confront the parties that spread the rumor. Tell your parent or boss. It is estimated that approximately 10 percent of teens that are victims of cyber bullying tell anyone.
  8. Know the facts about the culture of kids live in. Become aware of statistics about how our youth are using technology. (Check out the links at the bottom of this post.)
  9. Keep communication flowing with your children. Know their friends on-line and off.
  10. Become knowledgeable about how law enforcement agencies are combating the every-growing problem of cyber crimes, and use them as a resource to better educate yourself and your family.
  11. Educate yourself about the signs of being bullied. The culture that our children are experiencing is much different than when we were their age. Be diligent and know what your child is doing, and what is being done to them. Assume they do not know how to cope with the bullying, and be there for them, even if they have made choices that you believe are poor or contributing.

Helpful Links:

Cyberbullying | StopBullying.gov

www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying

http://www.netsmartz.org/cyberbullying

30 Statistics about Teens and Social Networking By Taylor Thomas.  http://facebook-parental-controls-review.toptenreviews.com/30-statistics-about-teens-and-social-networking.html

Cyber Bulling Statistics. http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/cyber-bullying-statistics.html

How to Protect Your Kids from Cyber Bullying – USA.gov Blog

Coping with Depression When Everyone Else has Joy

For some, Christmas is an exciting and joyous time of year. For others, however, Christmastime is painful and the most difficult time of the year. Whether it is painful memories, financial difficulties, loneliness, or other personal challenges, there are things you can do to help survive and yes, even thrive during the holidays.

1. Give your body healthy fuel. Just as your car would not function well if you used water or soft drinks, your body needs quality fuel to function at its best.

2. Get outside and move. Your body needs sunlight and movement. Take a walk. Enjoy a walk in the park or take a bike ride.

3. Be kind to yourself. What do you do well? How were you able to get through a tough day? It may have been difficult, but…you did it! Pat yourself on the back and give yourself credit for the things that you accomplish.

4. Recognize that if you are depressed, you likely do not see yourself in a realistic way. Remember seeing an old mirror? You know. One of those mirrors that is so clouded and distorted that you cannot make out the image? That’s what depression is like. You cannot see the image, especially yourself, in a clear and realistic way. Just accept that…for right now…maybe you can’t trust those negative thoughts about yourself.

5. Choose to believe that your depression will lift. Depression is like a dark storm cloud. It may be so dark that you cannot see the path in front of you. It may be so dark that you cannot see anything. But, it is a dark storm cloud. It has a beginning and an end. The clouds do lift and move on.

6. Do something outside of yourself. Have you ever been driving and encountered a storm? Sometimes you pull over and wait for it to pass. But sometimes, you can see a glimpse of sunlight at the edge of the dark clouds. Or, you might just continue driving because you know it will eventually end. During depression, one of the most effective things to do, is to choose to do something for someone else. You most likely know someone who has a need. If not, go to a nursing home and sit and play cards with someone who has no family, or to a homeless shelter and help serve a meal. Not only is this a distraction, but it just feels good to do something for someone else.

7. Let it be okay to seek and accept help. I am a very independent person. When I was very pregnant with our twin daughters, I decided I couldn’t stay home one more minute, so I decided to go to Wal-Mart. Big mistake. I made it into the store okay, but I honestly did not know if I was going to make it back to my car. (My husband is going to scold me when he reads this!) I must have looked pathetic, as a sweet older couple who must have been in their 70s at least, offered to help me back to my car. Okay, Lord….I got it! It was okay to accept help!

8. Don’t watch tv. Television shows and movies are not intended to make you feel better.

9. Choose to find humor. Whether it is in stories you read or write, or in people or nature you watch. Choose to allow yourself to be amused.

10. Choose life. The storm will pass. You probably remember a time when you did not experience depression. For some, you may never remember that time. But, you are worth the effort to make it through the storm. The dark clouds may come and go, but there are ways to protect yourself from the storm. Surround yourself with protection. Allow yourself to accept grace.

You are amazing! Have a blessed day, Judy

“‘For I know the plans I have for you, ‘declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”‘ Jeremiah 29:11 NIV