Before we get into this, I want to give a disclaimer – As a student of psychology I am a big fan of thoughts. As a Christian I am a big fan of prayer. I like both, thoughts and prayers.
This is a follow up to the last post Pitchforks & Torches, in which we looked at the ease with which we believe headlines without checking the truth. We don’t wait to know the truth. I do not like thoughts and prayers being the knee-jerk social mehdia reaction to every tragedy for two reasons.
1 – I don’t believe that everyone who post #thoughtsandprayers gives another thought (much less a prayer) to whatever happened beyond posting a hashtag. Why don’t I believe it? Because it’s hard to believe someone is involved in social change when they post a hashtag and the next minute posts a picture of their dinner.
2 – Even if people are truly affected with many thoughts, and pray fervently, it is not enough. We need thoughtful action.
We like to feel we are doing something. We like to feel we are adding something of value. Most important, we like to feel we belong. What can give you a sense of belonging quicker than joining in with a hashtag to show you’re on top of social events and you care? Nothing. Probably.
I believe that the #thoughtsandprayers phenomena is just one more symptom of Covfefe disorder where we want to move on quickly to the next thing, but we also want to feel we’ve done something. We need to slow down. We’re just adding to the noise if all we do is hashtag.
Here are the three take aways for today:
1 – Challenge yourself – If we are going to post a hashtag, we need to actually think, actually pray, and then take action on the thing we are thinking and praying about. It could be one small thing such as emailing a representative, or joining an advocacy group. Think and pray, but also take action.
2 – Educate yourself – What’s the issue? Gun violence? Poverty and hunger? Child abuse? Learn about the issue so you have substance to share with people. Discover new information so when we talk to people or post on social mehdia we have something of substance to discuss and we can educate others.
3 – Advocate for others – This goes beyond simply #thoughtsandprayers. We’ve educated ourselves, now we take action and stand up for an issue. Remember, we don’t have to change the world, we just have to make a difference.
Once again, just because we can, we’ll turn to our friends at Monty Python who give us the rundown of being resolute in taking action, educating yourself, and then taking action.
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Picture credit: Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail – link to official site posted in text.