There’s a difference between being loud, and being noisy.
Without exception, I believe that everyone was hit, like a punch to the stomach, with the news on Friday. It is the kind of story that is too monstrous and dark to actually take in all at once. For a person to wage such violence on others is frightening. The truth that he waged it on children is even more black.
And so, after we hear this kind of story, and let it become part of the truth of our day, what then?
Most of us need to talk about it. After we have convinced our bodies to please breathe again, after we learn that this type of event is real, permanent, and unchangeable. We need to connect with our friends, and combine our outrage and sadness. We need to know that we are going to find a way to change the world, to save the world. We need to imagine that there is a cohesive universal thought happening that is preceding this change, one that locks down a much safer world for our children.
And then, the exclamation points, avatars, bar graphs and You Tube links start cascading in. As most of us log on to our Facebook or Twitter feed to get a sense of how our friends are feeling, the conversations change from expressing sadness and vulnerability to politicking and screaming at each other. It’s never helpful.
Have you, or anyone you know, ever changed their stance on a very hot-button issue because they saw a bar graph?
Have you, or anyone you know, ever clicked on a You Tube link posted on your timeline by someone who is being borderline crazy in their stance on a hot-button issue?
Have you, or anyone you know, ever read the entire comment from someone yelling at you when it is paragraph after paragraph of statistics?
There is a difference between being loud, and being noisy.
I am all for getting loud. There are things that we need to change. They’ll change when we get a collective, strong sound going, something loud, that is informed, measured, articulate and reasonable. I will absolutely be part of that change. What I will not do is be noisy. I will not add to the noise by being hateful towards those whose ideas are different than mine. I will not add to the noise by pretending I have answers when in fact I am in the infancy of searching for them. I will listen to anyone who speaks with sanity, and I will stop listening when the tone becomes antagonistic.
I will not click on your You Tube link because there is a yin for every yang in that medium and it ends up being all noise.
I grew up in a house full of guns. I have been attacked by a person who was mentally ill. From my experiences, one was scary, while the other was not. However, had I grown up in a house full of guns with a person who was mentally ill, my experience would likely be different. This doesn’t mean that I am informed on what policies would serve mankind best going forward. But it does influence the way that I live my life, and how I build my home.
For now, I recognize that my most potent power resides in how I keep my home. My power is held in my ability to protect my boys in their home. While the rest of the world is unpredictable, and I cannot control what they hear or what they are exposed to, I will prepare them by building their strengths. But home will be a place where the news does not exist. For now, while they are children, I will protect them from the events in this world, and this will be their bubble. It is where I have the power to keep things quiet. Make no mistake, this home is loud (just ask our neighbors). But the noise will be locked out. That is my power.
But as they get older I will need to expand my reach, and the news on Friday made me wake up to that truth. I need to get loud in my efforts to make the world at least a little safer for my three sons. My task now is finding the way to do that. Separating what is loud and what is noise will be my approach. I would love to hear what yours will be.