The Worth of Internet Outrage

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Here’s the thing that gets me about this gorilla story. When something happens and our collective outrage swells, the media know because their numbers go through the roof. Boosted numbers means increased revenue. When something makes them more money, they promote it more, which is why you’ve seen this gorilla’s face about a trillion times in the last three days. In other words, Facebook KNOWS Americans are more likely to become emotionally charged by certain types of stories because that’s what garners the most clicks and comments, and so that’s what gets promoted into your newsfeeds.

Did you notice that not a single headline read, “Zookeepers Rescue Boy Who Fell Into Gorilla Exhibit”? Rather, they are almost all centered around the unrighteous death of the gorilla. They’re playing on trends they’ve seen in the past: we are suckers for the victimized animals. And every time you like, share, or comment (and for the love of Jane Goodall, these comments on both sides are a doozy this time around), you’re helping to promote it further.

But the thing to remember is that these stories that get the most attention, and in turn get promoted more, are the ones most likely to elicit change. When everyone gets stirred into a fervor, when passion and awareness spread like wildfire, THAT is when we are driven to action. That is when justice is sought, when solutions are made, when the lives lost come to mean something more.

So please remember that as a consumer, your response holds more power than you think. Maybe you care about all these other issues too, but if you’re only willing to publicly admit your outrage for a gorilla and not for the 13 million children who can’t go to school because of wars in the Arab world, or for the 663 million people who don’t have access to safe water, or for the 125,000 lives that are ended by abortion every day – maybe it’s time to reflect on your priorities.

Because even though there are so many of us on this planet, and even though sometimes we make mistakes like sneaking into gorilla pits or turning our eyes from our children to take a sip of a drink or help another kid off a ledge, it’s the human life that is worth fighting the hardest for. Always.

Your voice matters, and your outrage carries the power to change abysmal circumstances. Use it wisely.

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Thankful Thursdays

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Today marks the beginning of our ‪#‎ThankfulThursday‬ campaign, and I want to hear from all of you! Gratitude doesn’t have to look pretty or fancy (see our jar-and-masking-tape combo) — it’s about making a choice to be happy with what we have already been given. We’re already seeing reindeer and jingle bells in the stores, and what better way to combat the Christmas gimmies than by reminding your kids how much they already have in this world?

Each morning of November, my kids and I sit at the breakfast table and put one thing into our “Thankful” jar that we are grateful for that day. It was an idea I got last year from a dear friend who is one of the most thoughtful and caring mothers I know. So far, our slips of paper hold thanks for things like our teachers, the unseasonably warm weather that’s been letting us play outside all week, a couple spooky erasers from Halloween, and even “thankful that kid at the playground threw up JUST on the tire swing and not on the swing I was on.” (Good one, Evie.)

So each Thursday leading up to Thanksgiving, I want you to ask your kids what THEY are thankful for. This project is meant to spark a dialogue with our children about gratitude, and then make a daily habit out of it — rewarding on its own, but I want to sweeten the deal. Share their answers here, and for each comment here or on Facebook (facebook.com/chokingonapplesauce), you’ll be entered to win a gift card to help with your holidays. The winner will be announced on Thanksgiving Day.

So let’s hear it : what are YOUR kids thankful for today?

Finding nature again with my children

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“As a child, my playground was the woods.

The end of our street opened into a vast wooded forest, defined by a thin dirt footpath that stretched into a world of exploration for us. Our friends and neighbors, our siblings and dogs, all found peace and adventure under the shade of sky-high oaks and cedars.

It was there that we breathed in our first taste of independence, running freely through the creeks and over wooden bridges. Banding together despite our varied ages, we carved our names into trees and spent afternoons searching for lost treasure. We learned about ourselves and saw each other in a new light, as if sunshine cast through an umbrella of leaves had the power to illuminate our truest selves…”

I’m so excited to be featured in the Washington Post today with this new post that is so dear to me. This is for all those who spent their childhoods running freely through the woods with us — and, more importantly, for all those who came after us, whose adventures are still out there waiting for them. It’s a call to not let ourselves become the first generation to deny our children the freedom to explore their world.

Find the full post at http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2015/10/13/finding-nature-again-with-my-children/

And if you like what you’ve read here, please find us on Facebook for more.

The Ugly Truth About Mom Jeans

What’s worse than April snowstorms, Caillou marathons, and trying to apply eye drops to a stabby two-year-old?

I’m up on Scary Mommy today talking about the mother of all first-world problems: post-baby jean shopping.

Cringe with me as I recount my trek to the mall with mom jeans on my mind. Thanks for sharing with your friends if you hate jean shopping as much as I do!