Choose your words carefully.
There has been much attention lately toward the dangers of social media and texting and the misunderstandings that often occur because of the lack of face to face contact, especially among the younger generations.
For some of us it is easy to pen words with sincere meaning, whether it be serious or humorous. I try to always be particularly sensitive to different personalities and their level of sensitivity and sensibility and how my words will be perceived. It should be clear that the words are never meant to harm or insult. I prefer to leave you with at least a grin, if not a sigh of satisfaction that you read something worthwhile. Trust me, if I want you to really know how I feel, I really want to be face to face, so that there will be no misunderstanding of how I feel and what I want you to understand. Subtle I am not.
This trend to writing/texting rather than speaking is destroying some of the humanity of verbal interaction. The parrying back and forth of thumb wrestling on a glass screen led to such a misunderstood and misconstrued two-hour melodramatic power struggle in our household between Mother (my daughter) and Daughter (my granddaughter) on New Year’s Day. I watched from the sidelines as much as I could until I, the accidental matriarch, had had enough. When I stepped in and intervened all of a sudden the big melodrama of getting home by an appropriate time was not such a big deal and easily resolved by direct contact.
Here’s what happened: Granddaughter Tayler sashayed her way to the Mummers parade with some friends, spent the day with the revelers in South Philly and during the day realized she did not have her house key. We have a hardline household rule, when we go to bed the door gets locked. It is not so hard to remember your house key, especially since it’s considerably smaller than your cell phone. She suggested that either one of her parents wait up or sleep on the sofa or leave the door unlocked, but was not committing to what time she would be home. That was mistake #1. Then her Mom replied back that was unacceptable, and I believe it was, especially since Tayler countered that she was not going to inconvenience her fellow travelers by asking them to leave at such a time that she would get home when required, mistake #2. From that point on it was a constant back and forth of Mom vs. Daughter and some words were penned and compiled during the thumb wrestling that came across pissy, sassy and sarcastic, on both ends.
If one of them would have just called and spoke to each other as to what the situation actually was, instead of the asinine back and forth parent/young adult assumed power struggle, a lot of emotional energy would have been saved.
Here’s how it ended: I contacted Tayler and suggested that this pissing match with her mother had better be worth her “standing her ground” because the arguing over a forgotten door key and not being responsible enough to respect house rules was going to be incredibly costly, for a day out with the gang. She responded, “ I’m stuck. My feet hurt and I really just want to come home.” Why was that so hard?
As Tayler has ventured into the scary world of young adult independence, really just ‘sowing her wild oats’, she has been reminded by all of us, grandparents and parents, if you need to come home, just call, no questions asked, just call. If she had called, initially, frustrated tears of disappointment would have been avoided. All either of them had to do was speak to each other.