Some recent things I have read on social media have made me think about my place within my community as a professional in my industry.
It seems to me that with this new age of keyboard warriors that people are very quick to use it as an outlet for their own emotions, before thinking about the effect it has on the person receiving the attack or how it encourages other people to join in on a subject they know nothing about, the situation becomes more and more emotive and generally somebody ends up feeling hurt or attacked which results in them feeling they need to defend their corner and so it continues.
I think the thing that has been most worrying to me is that these attacks are often coming from so called adults and aimed at children/teenagers, ok I will change hats here for a moment…..As a Mother this really concerns me, in my local community in the last few months we have lost more than a couple of our teenagers to suicide, now I am not claiming that this was the cause of these particular tragedies but I know statistics show it is one of the main factors coming forward and it’s beginning to become obvious to me that people are completely unaware of the effect these media outlets have on our young people, and I think we need to stop and think before we go public with these comments.
Ok swapping back into my equine professional hat, we are often asked to go and give talks, advice and lessons at local equine clubs, it’s going to be inevitable that we are going to see things that are not what we see as being ‘OUR’ way of doing things, and let’s be honest that’s probably why we are there in the first place to try and bridge the gap between the old and the new way of doing things, and I believe this is where we need to be very careful to educate these children/young adults and not publicly humiliate them, I fail to see what good this does, I have never come across anyone who learnt a lesson from being made to look stupid in front of their peers.
But much more worryingly is when the comments about the situation that unfolded find there way onto social media. Ok i’m going to point something out here, when you make a comment about a person who was at a venue on a public forum and leave there name out, guess what, everyone knows who you are talking about, they were all there, the backlash of that is that they all then tag their friends and screenshot it and send it to half the community and tell them who it was, just incase anyone didn’t know. What probably started off as an innocent comment is now like a snowball gaining momentum down a hill taking out people on its way, and somewhere some parent is trying to scrap their childs self esteem together before school on monday morning.
I believe our place as professionals is to try and educate, not everyone is going to get it on the first lesson, we all learn differently, but we need to gently drip feed the idea to people. Maybe take a minute to think back to what you were like at that age, hormones raging and thinking you knew what was best for you and all around you, presuming to be an expert on everything, and then take a breath and remember these opinionated individuals are someone’s child, and though they may seem bigger than Ben Hur (showing my age here but Bigger than Avatar doesn’t have the same ring) they probably go home in tears to there family.
We have an amazing part to play in the education of the next generation as did the people before who led the way for us, let us do it kindly.