It's Ok To Not Have An Opinion On Everything.

It's ok to not have an opinion on everything.  And it's REALLY ok to not share every opinion you do have.

I noticed a few years back that although my kids all wanted to be on facebook before they were even of age, they rarely post anything.  And as they, and their friends, got older, they moved more and more to apps like instagram and snapchat, instead of facebook- where photos tell the story, not words.  I knew the buzzword here was "oversharing", and I often thought of it when someone shared something a little too personal about their child, or when a single mom posted photos of men half dressed and not much older than her own child, with comments that made me blush.  (Before anyone gets all outraged, I'm no longer friends with that mom, and it's probably not anyone who will ever read this.  But if you got all upset by my mentioning this incident..  well, give that some thought.)

But recently, I think oversharing is more broad.  I'm a little tired of reading everyone's opinions on absolutely everything, and I think that was overloading the teens too.  The teen years are when you really start to  figure out what you believe, and it's made more complicated by all of us yelling on facebook to "make our point" on both sides of every issue.  But to be clear, we spend our entire lives figuring out what we truly believe. It only begins when we are young, and it's constantly reflected in how we live.

Here are a couple of suggestions, as I taught them to my kids.  I hope they've taken them to heart.

1. Don't feed drama.  (often stated as a reminder - "don't feed it!")
If you don't like something, but it has NO effect on you personally, ignore it.  There's no need to share your dislike of it. There's no need to think about it, or mention it.  Oh, yes, by all means come to the kitchen and vent to me about it, and we'll laugh over the ridiculousness.. I'm your mom and that's what I'm here for.  Then let it go.  

2. The World IS a stage - but you don't have to be a performer.
There are a lot of background people for any stage production.  Often more than there are actual cast members on stage.  It's ok to work in the background.  As a matter of fact, for most of your life, it's a wise decision.  There's no need to stand on the street corner shouting your opinions (or post them as your facebook status).  Those who know you should KNOW your opinions without you having to speak.  And when they want to know how you feel and they aren't sure, they can ask.  Your life should reflect your values strongly enough that your words are unnecessary.

3.  It's ok to not have an opinion
Or to not know your opinion.  We aren't all called to be wise men in this world, even though we all have access to google and  software that allows us to add quotes on graphics.    Somewhere along the way we got the idea that if we don't have a strong opinion than we are somehow less intelligent.  It's been my experience that those who are listening to both sides, with their mouth shut, often have a lot more wisdom than those quoting the latest facebook meme. (And some who are ignoring the issue completely are super wise too - not everything needs our attention.) There are some issues where I know where I stand and I'm firm in my beliefs.  But there are many others where I really just don't know.  And that's ok.  Sometimes, when it's important, I can search out the truth in God's word, which is the foundations for my beliefs.  But on many, many, issues, it's ok to not be sure what is right - if you aren't participating in it, its ok to just not care, even if the rest of the world is shouting about it.   You need to know what matters and what doesn't, then don't waste your time on issues your opinon won't help or change. Worry about your core beliefs, and the rest will work itself out, you don't have to have an opinion on every action of every sports figure or politician or even of every neighbor.  Live your own life to reflect what you believe.

4. Don't do anything to embarrass your grandparents.
And that includes what you say.  It's ok to have opinions that they would not like.  But out of respect for your family, just keep your mouth shut.  Family trumps your opinions.  Too many families argue over things that in the grand scheme of things, do not even effect them, let alone matter.  

5. You Are Unlikely To Change Someone's Opinion In a Facebook Status
So if you are posting something with a strong opinion that is generally divisive, why are you posting it?  Do you really think it will change how someone else see the situation?  Does your life not reflect your stance, so you feel like you need to compensate by making a grand  (or often just loud) statement?  Are you so insecure that you need to post something to try to get a bunch of likes from people who don't know you well enough to already know what you believe?

And here's the catch 22.  Just by writing this, I violated the entire concept.  I'm telling the world what I believe, and why.  I have a strong opinion on everyone constantly sharing their opinions, and I'm telling you my opinion on that.  I'm feeling confident that my life, mostly, reflects what I have said here, and that my children's lives have too.  

So why am I sharing it?  I think I am hoping that it will encourage some who are overwhelmed by the onslaught of opinions we face every day.  It's ok to not respond.  It's ok to not care.  It's ok to be quiet on big issues everyone else is screaming about.  And sometimes, it's ok to speak your mind.  Just please try to do it with respect, and perhaps, sometimes, without  a quote covered graphic.

If more of us lived the values we're screaming about on facebook, we'd have a lot less time to have opinions on everything everyone else does.

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"But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. 10 Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned." Titus 3:9-11


But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine:that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility,[a] sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.[b]" Titus 2:1-8

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal." I Corinthians 13:1

"26 Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.
27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness." Matthew 23:26-28


" Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men." TItus 3 1-8



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