Consistency

As I was perusing social media sites this morning, I came across a blog post that has been rapidly making the rounds on Facebook. Maybe you've read it or seen others share it on their Facebook wall. In a nutshell, this blog post was written by a mother of three boys and one girl who, along with her husband, regularly check the social media sites that her kids frequent to make sure that the content is acceptable. Bravo! My wife and I do the same with our middle school daughter and, like the author of the blog, we edit as we see fit and "unfollow" some of our daughter's "friends" who are posting pics and phrases that we don't want our children to see (or us to see for that matter).

Many don't think it's right for parents to "creep" on their kids' social media pages. After all, they are kids and deserve a chance to express themselves. But what would I have become (or any of you for that matter) if I was allowed to operate without boundaries when I was growing up. No, I didn't have social media at my disposal (we only had a few cable channels for a while) but there were other ways that I could express myself in a detrimental fashion, and I'm grateful for parents who loved me enough to rein me in when I got out of line.

So as I read this blog post exhorting young women to be careful what they post on social media sites, I saw the words of a mother who cares about her sons enough to protect them from the harmful things that the world attempts to expose them to daily. As a parent, I totally relate to that!

It was then I saw the pictures that she chose to post along with her words that caused me to scratch my head in confusion.

You see, the author had just spelled out a well-crafted argument encouraging girls and young women to respect themselves enough to not post trashy "selfies" of themselves that will draw the wrong kind of attention from young men. But then she posts a couple of pictures of her boys, shirtless and posing/flexing on the beach. Hmmm, that's odd. Didn't she just warn her boys against the dangers of female flesh online only to turn around and essentially do the same?

Now some of you might think this is harmless. After all, boys are more stimulated by sight than girls, so the same rules don't necessarily apply, right? Not to mention that the pictures that girls post on Facebook or Twitter are much different than the playful pictures that the author of this blog posted of her sons, right?

Regardless of how you react to all of this (and if you read the article in question you will find that there are many comments at the bottom of the page written by men and women who have lots of opinions), there is one question that immediately came to my mind after reading the article and then seeing the accompanying pictures:

Where is the consistency?

I realize that my job as a parent is one of the most important responsibility that I have ever been given. There is so much at stake. If I rebuke my children for yelling at each other, but then turn around and raise my voice at them, then I have lost a bit of my parental clout. If I am not consistent in what I teach my children, then how can I expect them to be consistent in their own decisions and behavior?

Does it make sense for a chain smoker to preach against the evils of smoking to his own children?

How closely would a daughter listen to a message on purity from a mother who regularly sleeps with the men she dates?

What if I lecture my kids on how to handle money but I can't control my own spending?

Where is the consistency in that?

This is not an attempt to slam the author of this blog, for her words rang absolutely true to my ears. Yet is does serve as a gentle rebuke. If you or I choose to put our thoughts or images to the page of social media, then we must be willing to bear the scrutiny that comes along with that.

Perhaps this will cause all of us to take a closer look at what we have posted on social media so that we can be sure that what we have posted is consistent with what we believe. Better yet, may this focus us on living lives that are consistent with what we say we believe.


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