Convenient and easy is taking the place of hard work and accountability, and it shows. 

Our society is really wrapped up in social media’s version of reality rather than what’s happening in real life. We can all agree, but we still can’t put down our phones and make our words into real life action. Remember, it’s all fake until you see the results. 

If you’re all talk, it means nothing. We are brainwashing ourselves with a fake venue that helps and guides you to hate, be uninformed and miseducated. Violence, racism, political agendas and lack of social graces and courtesy will keep dividing us as long as we keep living like this. 

Treat others the way you would want to be treated. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it, unless you’re fighting for yourself, family or the rights of others. Say please and thank you, greet passers by with a smile and acknowledge those you meet in public venues. Open the door, help those who drop things and don’t make fun of things you can’t understand. 

If you wouldn’t act this way at work, with family or with those you trust and respect, don’t portray the contrary on social media. Your character comes through in any setting, and your reputation should mean something to you. Self worth, respect and pride should be enough. Not to mention, your kids see and do what you do, no matter their age.

Here are some things you can do to actually make a difference. Not all of them are easy, and most come with responsibility:

1. Spend time with your children and teach them some of the points written above.

Teach them your traditions and love them. Explain who you are, what you see in them and answer their questions. Be the parent you always wanted and more for them or the parent you were so lucky to have as you grew. 

2. Get involved in your community. You can do this with your kids and family. This is where your voice actually makes a difference. Here are just a few local options:

Rotary Club

Exchange Club

VFW

American Legion 

Boy/Girl Scouts

School board and meetings

Village board and meetings

Join committees for school, church and village

Be a part of community celebrations

Give back to your local churches

Volunteer for all of the above

Visit and learn from your local libraries

Join in rec sports by participating or coaching

Give or join the the Community Foundation 

Give or join the Kids Foundation

Give to or volunteer with the Community Service Center

Visit and know your neighbors

Join the local chamber

Frequent your local businesses

Keep your home clean outside and inside to maintain property value

Donate your clothing and home items locally

3. Meet with people face to face if there is an issue. If you can’t do that because it makes you feel uncomfortable, then rethink the importance of your issue. If you can’t face it, then you need to let it go.

4. You should never lose control of yourself. Especially in front of your children. If you make this OK in your mind, you are making it OK for them. I’m not saying don’t show emotion; I’m saying be the adult and the strength they need. Sometimes you have to be your own strength, too. 

5. Pay attention to the big picture. You effect and affect the world around you. You are an important part of this society. People love and care for you. You matter.

Learn social norms and common courtesies. 

6. Are you tired of scrolling through social media and seeing all of the hate, violence, political garbage, etc? Unfollow, unfriend, set your privacy settings or scroll past and move on. Do not lower yourself and us as a society and join in. It’s not real! Drama follows drama. Don’t complain if you invite it. It also doesn’t give you a right to be nasty or vulgar in return. But if that’s what you want to portray, then it’s your choice.

7. Stop airing your dirty laundry on social media. It’s super inappropriate, and people like to disguise it as venting. It’s actually really embarrassing; you are degrading yourself and don’t even realize it, and private matters should remain private. This includes fights with kids, siblings, boyfriends, girlfriends, divorces, court hearings, etc. If we don’t set boundaries, again, children are watching, they won’t set them either. Not to mention, you wonder why people stare at you in public or talk about you. You just told them everything, and they probably can’t believe you just put it out there like that. 

7. Stop sharing other people’s news. It is not yours to share. Especially when is comes to accidents and death. Let the family release the information. Do not send thoughts and prayers ahead of the release. You could be doing it before the rest of the family is notified. This is super wrong and disrespectful, and saying you didn’t know cannot erase what you’ve done and the disrespect you’ve shown. You may be upset or sad, but it’s definitely not OK.

8. You don’t have to do it all. Do what you can, but commit and follow through. Remember, your word should mean something, even to yourself.

What does this all sum up to?

Live through your actions.

Kellie Wahl is a resident of Rantoul.