Friday, October 28, 2011

A Facebook friend note

Dear young Facebook friend:

Remember when Facebook was new? You sent out friend requests to everyone you remotely recognized, including your friends' parents. I accepted your request, and I've enjoyed having you on my news feed. I love reading your status updates. I love the pictures you take of yourself mugging for the camera. I love reading your answers to "truth is" and hearing about what you're doing this weekend.

However, a few of you are raising my "Mom" concern meter. Sometimes you use your status updates to throw out curse words. Sometimes you drop sexual comments that would make my sailor cousin blush. This worries me.

Now, let's set something straight. I was your age once. Really. It was a long while ago, but I vaguely remember the age. I did enough stupid things to fill a book about stupid things people do when they're stupid. Maybe that means I should shut up and let you do your own stupid things. But I can't do that.

You see, I believe young people do a lot of stupid things because they don't yet appreciate the person they're becoming. It's hard to see the good in yourself when your body is changing and your emotions are going haywire and you're not even sure if the friends you have today are going to be there tomorrow. And, it's hard to see beyond yourself to what's going on around you. That's normal. But I'd like to challenge you to step back for a moment and look at what you have to offer this world.

I've known a lot of you for years, and some of you for months, and every single one of you has something great inside. I love your enthusiasm for life. I love your fun-loving ways. I love that if I post for prayers or good thoughts, you are often the first ones to respond. I love seeing your smiles in those goofy photos. I love that you're not afraid to be yourself and have fun.

And that's why I worry when you throw out profanities and sexual innuendo. You may not mean anything by it, but those words can start to define you. The more you talk like this, the more people start to think of you as the girl who's always cursing, or the boy who likes to talk about sex. The world is full of cursing folks who like to talk about sex. They are not special, nor are they unique. But you are.

Don't sell yourself short. I wish I had a mirror to hold up to you, so you could see yourself as I see you. You're so full of life and energy. You're quick to laugh. You like to be with your friends and make them happy. You're smart. You're beautiful. You're so much more than a few curse words.

Now, you may read this and think that you need to defriend me. Please don't. I'd miss you. You add life to my news feed, and without you, I'd only have political comments that tick me off and descriptions of what other adults ate for dinner last night. I'm not your mother. I can't ground you for using curse words, and I'm going to tell your mother if you continue to use them.

But I hope you'll think a bit about what I've said. Your light is shining so bright right now. Don't hide it. Don't cheapen it. Don't let the ugly words overshadow the beautiful person are you are. You are awesome. Awesome. Believe it. I do.