A little over a year ago I had the pleasure of meeting Heather Greenwood Davis through Twitter and mutual friends. It felt like finding a long lost friend. Heather is smart, funny, sweet, part of my running gang, did I say smart? She is also leaving…..for a year…to travel the globe. What? But I just found Heather and now she’s leaving? Noooooooooo. It’s simply too much to cope with, so I’ve decided I’m going with her. Surprise Heather! I’ll see you in Winnipeg, our first stop.
Kidding. Sort of. As it happens I’m a chronic over packer so I couldn’t actually get it down to one suitcase per person to join them as much as I tried. There was also the small matter of *ahem* finances. So, in the interest of simplicity and my hurting credit card, I’ve decided the Derickx family will join the Davis family….virtually. Woo hoo!!!
We’re going to miss Heather, Ish, Ethan and Cameron, but we’re really looking forward to following them. We’ve printed off a picture of the Davis Clan and placed it on cardboard. On the back we’ve placed sticky tack. As they move around the world we’ll move their picture on our map. At each stop they make, we’re going to learn about the destination. We’re going to try different foods, dabble in a little language and get educated with some great history and current events. We’re also going to focus on children’s issues in each country. I encourage you to please have your kids join us on this journey and to help us find ways to experience a round the world trip…virtually. It’s a great way to learn about our great big neighbourhood. Heather’s two fabulous boys, Ethan and Cameron, will be sharing their journey with us on Heather’s website and will be able to keep in touch with my kids and yours via the world wide web. How cool is that?
Join the Journey
First and foremost, make sure you bookmark Heather’s fabulous site, Globetrotting Mama. Go there daily to read about the trip of a lifetime and live vicariously through Heather. Next, check out my new website, Life in Pleasantville. From there you’ll be able to see how we circle the globe, dressed in our pajamas a good portion of the time. I’ll be posting recipes from around the world, and blogging about our journey. Join us both please. The doer and the dreamer.
Ok, I have to go book a spa appointment now because I know Heather has a spa day coming up soon. The things I do for my friends.
See you in Pleasantville.
Everybody got their skates on? Because we are on a slippery, slippery slope. Since the Vancouver riots last week I’ve had an increasingly uneasy feeling in my stomach as I’ve watched one angry mob be replaced with another.
Last week, I chose to block out the name of the young man who posted his idiotic behaviour on Facebook, not because I was afraid of retribution, or that I felt that legally I shouldn’t, or that he might even be innocent, but because morally it made me uncomfortable. I felt that for sure there was a teachable moment in there for our youth but his name was not going to make or break my point. It is not my job to be judge, jury and prosecutor. Despite the fact that he admitted his guilt in a public forum, I have no more right to hunt him down and make sure he pays than you do. That’s called vigilantism and it is frowned upon for a reason.
I am in no way condoning the actions of any of the people who committed crimes during the riot. They each must stand accountable for their actions and deal with the consequences they receive from a court of law. The problem now though, it that Joe Average feels it’s his responsibility to dole out a little justice too. Just as some people got swept up in the riots and made dumb mistakes, so too have many on the web. The mob mentality has gone viral. Home addresses have been printed, phone numbers, family members names, places of employment and other personal details. This has forced many into hiding and to fear for their safety.
I have mentioned here before that the internet lacks civility. In the real world we have social expectations and norms that keep our society from collapsing into chaos. No such rules apply to the internet and as our world becomes more and more intertwined with the virtual, how long before people start to take their virtual justice into the real world? It is not unreasonable to expect that this might happen, as these people may have hundreds if not thousands of individuals cheering them on from behind their keyboards, giving them an inflated sense of bravado. Already we see sites that look to publicly shame these individuals from the riots by exposing their names and other personal details. Is public shaming really what we want?
I don’t know what the answer is. All I know is this, we better start having some hard conversations about what is and isn’t acceptable in our “virtual” space before it permanently alters our real one. Should we start to publicly shame and print names of those that pick their noses? Don’t wash their hands after going to the bathroom? Where does it end and what’s acceptable? Who gets to decide?
Raise your hand is you did something stupid when you were young. Things that if they came back to haunt you 10, 15, 20 years later would cause you great personal embarrassment. Thankfully, my generation was given the opportunity to grow and mature far from the Google search bar. Our “shaming” happened in front of our parents, siblings, and friends. Memories were short, and forgiveness always came from those we loved. We were able to move on. Not so for this generation. Stupid mistakes will haunt them forever and forgiveness will never come.
Who’s to say we aren’t altering the course of history for many of these kids? Without virtual vigilantes creating permanent records of their behaviour, who’s to say these people wouldn’t go on to do great things in the years to come and more than atone for their behaviour. But now, that Google search will always be at the ready for potential employers, for friends and partners to drag them back down into the muck and mire. Perhaps even change their destiny, so that instead of doing great things, they are sucked into a cycle they are not permitted to escape. Chained forever to one moment in their life."
Well, well, well, it would seem Canadians have egg on their face once again this morning after Vancouver erupted into riots and looting after last night's Stanley Cup loss. I know I'm embarrassed, but not as much as some mother's must be this morning.
Here are just a few lessons that need to be taught early in life. Maybe we can avoid this kind of stupidity the next time we lose a hockey game.
*Teach your children how to lose with dignity.
* Teach your children that other people's property is to be respected.
* Teach your children that violence is never the answer.
* Teach them there is nothing to celebrate about being a jerk. The rest of the world now just knows for certain you're a moron.
* Teach your children that when in public they don't just represent themselves but their country.
* Finally, for the love of God, teach your children that there is nothing private about Facebook.