Giving and saying Thank You seems to be a thing of the past these days. Each day, we get bombarded with negative social media posts. While we each enjoy the right to freedom of speech, sometimes you’ve gotta wonder why we see so much negativity this these days. Have we become so set in our ways that we’ve forgotten our commonalities and what makes us unique? Have we reached the point that if your beliefs collide with another, you cannot be friends anymore?
Things seem to be getting hot online lately.
In military historical context, the words “cold war” described tension between countries. Sometimes while online, it feels a though the “war of words” has escalated (as I write this, yet another negative story about people saying truly negative things just popped up on my screen. Enough already!) Maybe it is because technology has made it easier to voice your right to express yourself instantaneously. Maybe the fact that you can be heard and not seen adds to the ease at which that freedom of expression gets exercised.
Or maybe we tend to have a short fuse and have become super-sensitive. Who knows? Has attitude overtaken gratitude?
I believe we have lots to be thankful for in this country. When I scroll through the vast pages of social media, I wonder what ever happened to the posts centered on, “Thank A Veteran”. When I think about the rally cry to “Support Our Troops!” seen just a few years ago, I’m amazed at the fact that just last week lots of attention surrounded the fact that the word “Troop” is considered not politically correct (PC) by some.
We still have military personnel deployed all over the globe. These brave men and women signed up to defend our country and put their own lives in harm’s way. While the media and social media seem to have forgotten about them, I believe it’s important to continue to give thanks to those who serve. We have volunteers in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard who raised their hand and declared their willingness to defend the USA. Although we rarely hear about these dedicated service members, they continue to do things that keep us safe while risking their lives in the process.
So, while we continue to marinate in the negativity of online rants and mean-spirited posts, is it time take a moment to honestly think about what we read, what we post, and how we choose to express ourselves?
I’m thankful for those in uniform who continue to guard our freedoms and who may one day make the ultimate sacrifice. I want to say Thank You to civilians who recognize the value that veterans, military spouses, and military families bring to our nation and to our companies and communities. I want to say Thank You to all of my relatives who served before me, the wisdom they shared before I wore the uniform and the guidance and advice they gave me. For this, I am eternally grateful.
Finally, as I think about giving thanks and saying Thank You, my personal goal is to try and do a better job of calling people by name (which I believe is the best thing you can do). My goal is to avoid the urge to speak of people in generalities. I want to express my true thoughts about the issues we face each day in specifics and not generalizations prompted in the media – social or otherwise. I hope to engage in meaningful conversations more so in person than online, as I believe 140 characters is far too few to understand the core and true meaning of any topic.
As the New Year approaches, my wish is to speak mostly face-to-face with people – the old school way! And for me, the ultimate goal is to strive toward mutual respect. We can agree to disagree on any topic; I believe we all could practice ways of seeking to understand before being understood. Giving and saying Thank You is a nice way to set the stage for more productive, mutually beneficial conversations and stronger relationships.
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