This is a very offensive time for our society.
We're offended by same-sex marriage, lack of acceptance of same-sex marriage, transgenders, illegal immigrants, racial profiling, and Target designating a difference between boys' toys and girls' toys.
We're super offended by the Confederate flag*, which in turn immediately makes us offended by the "Dukes of Hazzard," NASCAR fans, and rednecks. (The term "redneck" is probably offensive now, too. I've lost track of all the words we can't use anymore.)
We're offended by police officers because they're either not doing their jobs or they're doing their jobs too forcefully. We're offended by how criminals are treated, how animals are treated, and how the earth is treated.
We're offended by guns. We're offended by people who want to take our guns away from us.
We're offended by those who utilize the welfare system (or whatever the politically correct term is for it now) -- until someone we care about needs help. And then we're offended that they can't get welfare.
We're offended by jokers, smokers, midnight tokers and anyone who gets their lovin' on the run.
We're offended by Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, George Bush, Jeb Bush, the NFL team in Washington D.C., Justin Bieber, Caitlyn Jenner, all of the Kardashians, Hannah Montana (or whatever her name is), Rachel Dolezal, and that dentist who killed Cecil the Lion.
We're offended by mothers breast-feeding in public. We're offended by people who are offended by mothers breast-feeding in public. We're offended by mothers who don't breast-feed their babies at all.
We're offended by parents who we feel aren't strict enough with their kids, and we're offended by those who we feel are too strict with their kids. (Our way is the best and only way to parent, after all.)
I'm pretty sure we were offended by sharks for awhile. Or maybe we were just afraid of them. Ditto for Muslims.
We're offended by fat-shaming, body-shaming, menstruation-shaming, mommy-shaming, slut-shaming, social media shaming, drought-shaming, grammar-shaming, and anything that can possibly be construed as bullying.
And of course, we are highly offended by slightly deflated footballs.
Whew! Being offended is exhausting! It's a full-time job with mandatory overtime to unearth everything that everyone is doing that doesn't perfectly mesh with our own personal beliefs. Then we have to make sure all our friends and everyone on social media hears about it until this most recent atrocity against humanity is rectified! Our work never ends!
I'm preparing for a three-day stint substitute teaching in a Hendricks County kindergarten class. Teaching kindergartners is a pretty draining assignment (for me, anyway) because it's usually a day filled with non-stop tattling.
"Johnny hurt my feelings."
"Sally says she doesn't want to play with me."
"Billy's being mean."
"Susie's annoying me."
I listen to myself dispensing the same conflict-resolution advice over and over and over again throughout the day: ignore him, find someone else to play with, walk away from him, hang out with someone who doesn't annoy you.
It's not like I came up with or patented this advice -- it's what my parents and my teachers told me as I was growing up, and it seems reasonable. I'm not going to like everyone and everything in life. If someone or something is bothering me, walk away and ignore them. Why burn up so much energy and angst being upset by someone or something when, with a simple adjustment of my own, I can be around people and things I enjoy? Save your energy for the battles that matter, they taught me.
And then it dawned on me: wouldn't it be great if we all followed that advice?
The world would be a lot less offensive, I bet -- and certainly much less exhausting.
Plus, imagine what OUR KIDS would learn from us setting that kind of example.
* That flag at the top of this blog post? It's the first Confederate National Flag, known as the "Stars and Bars." The flag that everyone's offended by is the Second Confederate Navy Jack, often incorrectly referred to as the "Stars and Bars."
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