Thursday, March 25, 2010

FaceBook Is Just Not For Me

This is an excellent article that someone emailed me. It comes from Meridian Magazine and is authored by JeaNette Goates Smith. I have really had second thoughts about FaceBook for some time. I find that when I get on there, all at once 30 minutes or an hour has gone and I have nothing to show for it. I feel it is such a waste of time. I don't think I will participate much. I only do it because my kids do. I have seen folks say things they shouldn't say and share things that are too private for the whole entire FaceBook community to share in. I think that those that matter will stay close with an email, a visit to my Blog, or a phone call. So don't be offended if I'm not an active participant in FB anymore. It just doesn't float by boat! I'd much rather talk to you in person, where I can see your eyes, or talk to you on the phone, where I can hear your voice. Even an email is more personal (not forwards, of course). I think email is way above snail-mail for communication because it is instant. Still, there is nothing that beats putting pen to paper to send an important message to someone you love. I also just saw an scary video about FaceBook and how your private information is NOT private. I went in and removed everything I could after that!

Five years ago my son, who had recently returned from his mission, went to Las Vegas for the weekend with a girl. No, he didn’t come back married--they never were more than friends. But the girl sent me an email inviting me to join Facebook so I could view all the pictures they took while touring Las Vegas. I thought Facebook was the coolest thing ever. I was in the Stake Young Women’s Presidency at the time and I began posting pictures of our Stake activities on Facebook in hopes it would encourage the youth to attend.

But Facebook evolved, and morphed into something I never imagined. Overnight it became a mega-phenomenon, and everybody who was anybody had a Facebook account; Facebook was essential to being part of the “in” crowd, a great way to “dis” the unwanted and to “hook-up” illicitly. Like the Internet in general, a tool that can be used for tremendous good, can also be used for tremendous bad. The concern is, we all jumped on the Facebook bandwagon so quickly, particularly our teenagers, do we fully comprehend the dangers of Facebook?

I first became concerned when I noticed Facebook was too often used as a popularity contest. It was often an arrogant, self-aggrandizing way to keep track of your own fan club. People post pictures in order to “brag” about how cool their life is, what original things they do with their weekends, what exotic places they go on their vacations. They want to be admired, perhaps even envied. Why else tell 400 people you hardly know how you spent your summer vacation? People who post every detail of their life so that 400 fans can ogle them remind me of a small-time celebrity appeasing his fan club.

In contrast, does the person with 400 friends actually visit the pages of all those friends? If he does, I’ll bet you it’s to make comparisons. He wants to see if any of other 400 friends has as amazing a life, or as hot a girlfriend, or as fancy a car. Like President Benson said, “It’s the comparison that make us proud, the pleasure of being above the rest.” Too often the life of the Facebook user isn’t inherently satisfying. It’s only satisfying if it is superior to someone else’s life.

Because Facebook has become a contest to determine “who has the biggest fan club,” Facebook users collect friends like sea shells. They just keep adding people to their site indiscriminately. Anyone could be added as a friend, whether they actually knew the person they friend-requesting them or not. The more friends they had the more popular they felt.

One of my friends was in the habit of accepting anyone who sent a friend-request. Some of my more voyeuristic clients found ways to stalk me through her Facebook site. One client would ask me about trips I had taken when I had never even told him that I was traveling. It was totally creepy. I felt like I was living What About Bob? Admittedly, those who are not psychotherapists don’t have to worry as much about Bob joining Facebook to access their personal lives. However, without proper blocks, friends on Facebook can visit friends who can visit friends, so personal information is often spread like a communicable disease.

Why does anyone need to keep in touch with 400 people that they hardly ever see, people they would never go out of their way to contact, were it not as easy as it is on Facebook? Many of these people aren’t even important enough to the Facebook user to send a Christmas card once a year. He probably doesn’t even have their phone number or their snail-mail address. Yet they know intimate details about his life—when he finds love, when he loses love, how he celebrates love. Most of these 400 people the Facebook user would not think of calling to inform of his father’s death, yet they will show up at the funeral because they found out about it on Facebook. Facebook makes all friends equal and therefore no one is truly special.

If my daughter-in-law emails me photos of my grandbaby I know she wants me, personally, to see those pictures. She is sharing something special to her because I am special to her. It says something about our relationship. If she posts those pictures on Facebook for anyone and everyone to see, I am in no way honored. Does she care about me? Does she care if I celebrate with her? Not anymore than the other 399 people who get to see the photos.

Of further concern is the fact that Facebook makes it so easy to communicate it has eliminated social graces. When one young man changed his status on Facebook from “in a relationship” to “engaged,” 400 of his most distant friends knew about his pending marriage before his grandmother and grandfather. Grandma was not pleased. I wanted to honor a friend by showing her the photos in my wallet of my new grandbaby, but she had already seen the photos... on Facebook. Without proper blocks, there is no hierarchy of friends on Facebook. Your siblings, your fiancĂ©, or your spouse can have the very same access to your information as the guy you met while on a cruise last summer. It’s possible to discriminate and post photos for only certain people to see, but does anybody?

Facebook can cause tremendous offence. Besides promoting pride, violating people’s privacy, eliminating social graces and dismissing those who are truly important to you, Facebook can cause offence if you turn down a friend-request, if you post pictures of a party not everyone was invited to, or any number of ways. One of my clients told me the following story: Her sister and brother-in-law were visiting from a nearby state. While in town they promised to take her three children to the outstanding Jacksonville Zoo. For days the children anxiously awaited their trip to the zoo. Finally the sister and brother-in-law announced they had too much to do at home, and would not be able to take the nieces and nephews to the zoo because they had to go home early. To add insult to injury, a few days later my client saw, posted on her sister’s Facebook page, photos of her and her husband enjoying the Jacksonville zoo—without their nieces and nephews.

Facebook users are, at times, blatantly rude. A stake president was a member of an organization that only communicated its meeting times and locations via Facebook. The stake president did not want to open Facebook account yet the organization refused to send him notice of their events in any other way. He decided if his presence was not important enough to him to send an individual e-mail, his presence was not important.

Of even greater concern is the ease of “hooking up” via Facebook. I was outraged when some of my psychotherapy clients started pursuing romantic relationships with old flames they had become re-acquainted with on Facebook. I sat dumbfounded across the couch from an LDS mother of five as she described how she was no longer in love with her husband, but passionately in love with a boy she hadn’t seen since 11th grade. This woman had actually had served a mission and had a strong testimony of the gospel! Another married client feigned a business trip in a far away city so he could hook up with an old friend he had found on Facebook.

It is easy to conclude that adults, particularly married adults, have no business spending time on Facebook. They remind me of women who dress up in their sexiest clothes and go bar-hopping. They always tell me they “just like to dance,” that they have no intention of hooking up with some guy, but look what happens. Facebook is a social networking site. Girls, even the single girls, primarily visit the boys’ pages. For the most part, the reason they visit the pages of other girls to assess their competition. How often do guys visit the pages of other guys?

In my cautions to Facebook users, I haven’t yet mentioned the tremendous time-waster that Facebook can become. I have seen mothers completely neglect their children because they were addicted to communicating with their Facebook friends. Furthermore, as Elder Bednar pointed out in his address, “Things as They Really Are,” we must note that Facebook users can become more committed to their on-line friendships then they are to their flesh-and-blood friends.

Naturally some of you will come up with several good reasons to use Facebook, just as I have delineated a plethora of reasons why it stinks. Granted, Facebook could have its functions. I was looking for a book that I needed to read for a book club once. The library was out, the bookstores were sold out, and I needed to read it before I could get it from Amazon. My savvy sister posted my need on Facebook, and within hours two people offered up copies of the book for me to read. That’s the benefit of Facebook. If people would stop flirting, cheating, comparing, beating, besting, minimizing and stalking, I might convert.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Coop Shoots Fast

I love his little hands. They still look almost like baby hands, yet he is handling this rifle like an expert. He actually went faster than this most of the time, I just wasn't fast enough with my camera to catch it! It is amazing to me how intelligent my grandchildren are, and how capable they are. How humbling to have these children show that they are teachable and and able to do things we think would be hard for them. Never underestimate the abilities of this noble generation!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Ready, Aim, Fire!

Savannah was very deliberate in all of her shooting. She took her time and made sure everything was just right before she would fire her rifle. Watch Cooper in the background...he was so fast at shooting the repeater. It was so funny to watch that kid eject the shell and load another. When he finishes up, he starts throwing the shells off the table. He had a blast! ha ha

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Ben Avery Shooting Range

When we knew that Savannah and Cooper were coming for a few days, we decided there were some special things we wanted to do with them while they were here. One thing that Rod wanted to do is take them to the Shooting Range. We got permission from Mom and Dad for this activity. We talked to them a little bit in advance to prepare them for the experience. When we arrived, we went over gun safety with them again and the first thing they did was put on their ocular and hearing protection and then watch the required safety video. Cooper carried in the pistol (with the barrel pointed up at all times). It is in the case beside him on the bench.
Waiting for our assigned tables.
Eric and Em had to watch the video, too!
Cooper had a very patient and wonderful teacher. Uncle Allen help him and Savannah get comfortable with aiming, loading, and firing the little 22 rifles. The one Coop has below is a single shot, and just a little smaller. It is Nick's rifle.
Becca is showing Savannah how it all works. She got this rifle when she turned 12.
Allen helps Savannah learn to use the trigger on the single shot, as Eric teaches Cooper to use Becca's rifle. Becca's has a slot for a clip of bullets and you can shoot one after the other with that one.
Savannah was a little worried about the whole shooting thing when we first arrived and there was a tear or two that escaped and she said she didn't want to do it. However, with some great coaching, she became a real sharp shooter. Her target looked great! Very consistent in her aim.
Now Cooper is learning to shoot the pistol.
Nicked enjoyed shooting Rod's 223. All the big people liked that rifle, as well as the pistol.
"One-eyed Willie" - as Katie used to call her when she was little, is trying out the hand gun. She loved it!
How many LaMunyon men does it take to load a black powder musket??
C'mon guys. You can do it!
Eric's turn.
Em was so sweet to help the kids, too. She enjoyed shooting the bigger guns. When she fired the black powder rifle, her face broke out in a huge grin and she just giggled! It was so cute! Cooper is getting another bullet to load into the little 22.
This was such a fun family activity. Everyone really enjoyed the shooting - well, everyone but Rod. He didn't fire even one shot. He just wanted to take everyone and make sure they had a good time. He is awesome! When we got home, the kids were really good to help clean all of the guns, too.
Rod set up all of the cleaning stuff on the back porch. Savannah helped brush and clean the barrels of the guns. This was a great learning experience for the kids. I think they will always remember when they got to shoot the guns!

They make me laugh!

 During breakfast this morning, Cooper and Savannah were talking with me, Em and Becca. (Yes, Eric and Em are here!) I was teasing the kids, because the first night here they woke me telling me there were bugs in their room. I went to see, but saw nothing. Cooper insisted there were "orange bugs" on the wall and hanging on Savannah's bed. Today he said it was a reflection off the "door nog." Ha ha, Coop! Poor Vannah had an ear ache last night at 3 AM. She was so brave and feels much better today. We have discovered an new favorite game: Kerplunk! They love playing games and I love playing with them. Right now, there is a rousing game of Trouble with aunt Becca going on.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Of course, the park!

Cooper always smiles and poses for the camera. He is so cute with his handsome little self.
Savannah loved the swings!

Becca gave everyone a good spin.

It was very hot this afternoon. In the mid to high 80's. It is hard on the kids as they are just not used to it. I have taken drinks and snacks everywhere we go and they do guzzle the drinks! No I am hearing "I'm bored." "There is nothing to do." Time to break out the checkers.

Picking Oranges

This morning, we took the kids over to Rondaleen's house in Sun City to pick oranges. They had so much fun! They did not want to stop their citrus harvest. Cooper has some special oranges picked and stashed away that he wants to take home to his mom! Rondaleen let me know she wasn't going to be home and for us to just go into the back yard and pick away. I love these photos of Savannah and Cooper!

Have YOU tried green eggs and ham??

Here we are, watching Pete's Dragon first thing this morning. Because it is an old  VHS tape, they can only watch it on the TV in my bedroom.

Happy St. Paddy's Day! Since Cooper and Savannah have never had green eggs and ham, that is what I scrambled up for breakfast. They were just a little leary at first, but when I showed them the carton that had a green label, they decided to try this delectable dish.

Cooper was the first to give it a try. He loved it!!

Not to be outdone by her younger brother, Savannah tried it. She said, "hmmmm, it tastes kind of eggy." They ate it up and I had to make even more 'cause the really do like eggs. Their mom HATES eggs, so she doesn't make them for breakfast.

Tomorrow we will have creamed eggs, and the french toast the next morning.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Look Who's Here!

Savannah and Cooper arrived today! Their flight was delayed, so we had an anxious wait for them. We we picked them up at the airport and then went to Carl's Jr. for a bite of lunch before going to the Phoenix Zoo.

Savannah liked brushing the goats.  Once she discovered the names on their collars, she would always look to see what each goat was named.

Cooper liked the goats, too. His favorite was named "Rocky Road."

These two would go from goat to goat and brush their hair. I think they enjoyed this part of the zoo more than any other

There was a cool treehouse that they wanted to play in.

Cooper came down the slide with such an excited look on his face! He loved playing in the tree house.

Cooper also liked going in the monkey exhibit. We were right inside with the little monkeys. The would jump from branch to branch and entertained us with their quick moves. There is also a Komodo Dragon exhibit, and he thought that was really cool!

They were pretty worn out from the day of travel and the trip to the zoo. After dinner, they played video games with Nick. We had some bedtime stories, did our secret kisses, and everyone went to sleep, exhausted but happy. About 5 AM they woke up and said they saw "orange bugs" in their room. This was certainly news to me! I have never seen orange bugs in my house. I convinced them they were seeing shadows from the night light and they did go back to sleep for a couple of hours.