When you work with the public, you get used to lots of random comments from people. My most memorable were when I was pregnant.
“Are you having twins?”
“Wow you’re about to pop!”
“You still haven’t had that baby?”
“You must have a litter in there!”
“Honey, it’s called disability insurance–use it.”
It’s funny what we get used to and just pass off as random comments. When you are a trainer or have another “on stage” role, the random comments can get downright cruel. I’ve heard my share–comments about my voice, my accent, my weight, I’ve even had my abilities as a parent questioned as a result of a post on this blog. I think that sometimes the anonymity of the web gives people a sense of freedom to say whatever they want. The truth is, no matter how “anonymous” someone is when posting a comment, mean stuff hurts. There is a difference between constructive feedback (which everyone should learn to give as well as receive) and mean spirited comments.
The following video made its way across my feed today via Facebook. I knew I had to share this because we can all relate.
I find myself on both sides of the fence on this one. Before I worked in libraries, I taught first aid and CPR classes at a community college. Included in the training was a segment on preventing heart disease and strokes. As instructors we were told to model what we were teaching and to eat healthy in front of the students at lunch, not to smoke in front of the students during breaks, and to maintain a healthy weight. The last requirement was always a challenge for me, and I have to say that in every session where I covered risk factors for heart disease and talked about the importance of maintaining a healthy body weight, my cheeks flushed in embarrassment. I always wondered if I was secretly being judged by my participants.
In whatever role you are in, I ask you to consider the consequences and feelings of others before posting comments on websites or filling out program or training evaluations. Given that October is National Bullying Prevention Month I wanted to share this video and some of my thoughts with you. As a mom, bullying has been on my mind the past few months. As librarians we are in a position to reach a vast audience including parents, teens, and children about bullying and its impact on society and individuals.
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