Two nights ago I stood during the opening of my children’s high school awards night.1 During the convocation by the school chaplain, we stood in prayer, which included: “we pray that we shall walk with integrity and act as decent human beings”.
Those familiar with a certain disagreement recently played out online may immediately conclude this is simply another post about such matters. In many ways I guess it must be about that — yet at the same time it isn’t. While the impetus for this post may in some way be related to those events, it is in large part due to the simple, yet powerful message I relayed in the introductory paragraph.
Every day I am thankful for the wonderful people I interact with online through the communities I am lucky enough to be a part of. I wouldn’t say I know those I interact with in the traditional sense of the word. Lets face it, most of them live on continents distant from my own, although thankfully at least a few are a little closer than that. We pop in and out of each others timelines, in boxes and lives. We offer and receive advice, encouragement, maybe a little ribbing — and are perhaps even set straight about things every once in a while.
This is all in a way which conveys the utmost respect for each other. We act with integrity. We act as decent human beings.
I cannot imagine turning up to an online world in which I am constantly in conflict with others in it. Perhaps that is in large part why many opinions I keep to myself. That is a personal decision. If you can make your point well enough in 140 characters for example, by all means do so. The number of draft tweets I delete suggests there are many times I don’t believe I can — or at least be clear enough about what I am intending to convey.
Speaking of what I am intending to convey, I can sense I am now heading towards where I did not intend to go with this post, so let me finish by saying this: I teach my children to act with integrity and as decent human beings, and the school I choose to send them to shares those values. In my own life, whether online or off, surely — surely, the very least I can do is the same.
So I am grateful to those of you who make this online place a positive one for me. Those who also share these same values. Thank you for acting as decent human beings.
- A proud father indeed, both earning academic excellence awards for their efforts throughout the year. ↩︎