The current internet user is offended by something about every 15 minutes. Quick, go scroll through your Facebook profile and count how many people are ranting about something. I’m not above it. I find myself offended by something pretty regularly.
I have a proposal: next time you are tempted to be offended by something, try instead to focus on you. If you’re anything like me, there is plenty to be offended by without having to leave the confines of your own mind. Like a Pharisee dragging a woman caught in adultery into the town square, I’m often way too fixated on the problem outside of me.
My favorite part of that story (it’s in John 8:1-11 in the Bible in case you aren’t familiar) is that Jesus starts writing with his finger in the ground, and the oldest pick up on it first, and wisely leave.
I’d be willing to bet that whatever it is you are offended by will look different in the white-hot light of your biggest current failure.
Before you contribute to the noise about what that politician said, or what that celebrity didn’t say in that interview, or how those people are getting offended by the wrong offensive thing, perhaps take a step back. If you legitimately can’t find anything in your own life about which to be offended (which is a red flag that you need a wise third-party to weigh in), then by all means throw some rocks.
The rest of us will be working on ourselves. I personally have about enough to be offended by for the next 30 years or so, just working through my own backlog.
I have moved this post and lots of other WordPress posts over to my new site at https://wpsteward.com, where I will continue publishing helpful tips for website owners going forward.
Easily a top-ten mistake I see beginner WordPress users making is updating plugins, themes, and other code on the live site. Updating your code on the live site, without checking to see if it’s going to break stuff, is what developers call “Cowboy Coding,” and it’s an epidemic among beginners.
If you update it on the live site, and it breaks things, what are you going to do?
I’ll answer that: you’re going to have a broken website, and a painful day of getting things back like they were.
“But wait,” you say! “How can we update the plugin on a live site without clicking ‘update’?!?!”
There are many different ways you can use our services – to search for and share information, to communicate with other people or to create new content. When you share information with us, for example by creating a Google Account, we can make those services even better – to show you more relevant search results and ads, to help you connect with people or to make sharing with others quicker and easier. As you use our services, we want you to be clear how we’re using information and the ways in which you can protect your privacy.
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Last night’s debates sealed it for me. I’m (at best) writing in a candidate. In the paraphrased words of Martin Luther, it’s not right or safe to let your conscience down.
Before you try to convince me otherwise: I’d love to get coffee with you and talk about my reasons for abstaining, but that’s not what this post is about.
If you think our culture is spinning out of control, (or about to if X candidate wins in November), there’s functionally very little you can do about it. Here are your options, as I see them:
You can freak out, and head to Facebook with pleas for people to change their minds. (I don’t know anybody who changed their mind after the debate last night. Do you?)
You can hunker down, buy a ton of canned goods, munitions, and water bottles in preparation for armageddon.
You can start today creating culture in your little pocket of this world. Make a list of things that matter, and do one today.
Spoiler alert: I’m doing #3.
Here’s some ways I’m voting with my feet and hands (since I can’t vote with a ballot in good conscience this year):
Both of my children started at Wake County Public School this year (one kindergartener and one 3rd grader who has been homeschooled for the past two years), and I am going to be helping out in their public school.
Every hour that I can donate to helping in a classroom or on a field trip is an hour that the school system doesn’t have to bleed out of our already-underpaid teachers and staff. (As an aside, if you’d care to debate this, I’ll need you to go spend a day doing a 1st grade teacher’s job and then take a peek at their paystub. From there, we can debate.)
In fact, I’m starting this tomorrow: I’m helping out at picture day at the boys’ school. I’ll be wrangling children and buttoning top buttons and helping kids to smile. My children have called me “silly enough” to be helpful in this area.
Other ways you can help at public schools:
Give money. The PTA at your kids school (or the one they used to go to) could use your help getting funding to make things happen. Things that have a quantifiable end goal: helping kids succeed in life.
Ask the principal how you can help. They will have a list prepared to hand to you, if they are prepared.
If you are trying to change the culture at your child’s school (who knows?) maybe that will trickle up to school boards and other civic institutions, and with any luck, the people in Washington who have forgotten how to represent us will take note.
Here’s the thing: am I passionate about the Supreme Court, and issues that affect the country my kids are growing up in? Absolutely. Do I have any real functional power to affect change on the Supreme Court nominees?
You know what I can impact?
I can help the Town of Cary be more welcoming to the hundreds (thousands?) of refugees being sent our way.
I can lobby town council to put in a crosswalk at my kid’s school. (Reedy Creek Elementary/Middle, if you’re reading this, Town Council)
I can be a part of town meetings where plans are discussed, and adopted.
I can teach my kids not to litter, and explain to them that the town of Cary pays people to walk the 30 miles of greenways picking up litter. When they throw down a piece of trash, they are costing our city money.
I can volunteer at my public library to tutor kids, or teach a class on web development, or WordPress.