Pushing a Bigger Button

I would be lying if I didn’t admit that it is sometimes very frustrating to run a charity designed to help kids with challenges.

Too often it seems, those kids are forgotten.

Cerebral Palsy (CP) in particular seems to be a forgotten condition when it comes to identifying “those in need,” but it is certainly not alone.

CP is just not a big button, as I like to call it. It’s not cancer. It’s not autism. It's (usually) not tragic.

But.It.Is.Everyday! - Just like autism, and just like cancer.

(Please note * I do not mean to diminish the very serious nature and need for support for cancer and autism causes.)

Last summer at Golf for Joy I made a plea to those in attendance that if they took anything away from that day it was just that.

The conditions that affect the kids we try to help are very much like the traffic that we are all encountering now as we travel through Columbus each day - a little bit different, a new set of roadblocks each day, a concrete tunnel which seemingly never ends.

We have a new joke this year that if you put the word “adaptive” in front of some piece of equipment, it’s price automatically raises into the thousands of dollars.

Unfortunately - It’s not so much a joke. In fact, it’s very much a reality. Not funny at all.

Of course, it’s not just the kids who have to deal with these issues.

So many parents fight tirelessly, day after day, caring for their children and their loved ones, trying to maintain some sense of...

Heck, I think we can say it - normalcy.

Which really...

Is impossible.

Very often when my wife and I talk about the 15 months we had with Meghan Joy we note that really...we don’t remember all that much. Very much like the sports cliches you hear so often -

We took one second, one minute, one hour, one day at a time- trying to move forward as much as we could--

I think that part of the reason we continue The MJB Foundation is because we know that struggle. We know that fight. We know what it is to want to feel normal - and we want to help those who are still in the fray.

This year, for the first time ever - The MJB Foundation is nearly tapped out. To date, because of the generosity of our supporters, we’ve been able to give Gifts of Joy totaling $11,041.31 to children with challenges this year, and we’re committed to what might be as much as $6,000 more. (Some of the equipment has to be fitted so there could be some cost variance.)

To put this in perspective - Our events this year raised right around $7,000.

While it’s true that we are giving away more this year than any other, and we had a little bank to spend - it’s also true that more and more families are finding out about us, and more and more kids will need our help.

But we don’t have that big button, and well, we need a big push.

I always said that being at this point is a problem I’d like to have, but I have to admit it scares the holy bejeesus out of me.

But not as much as the day-to-day might scare the holy bejeesus out of those families, and those kids.

So the takeaway is this...

I don't honestly know how many people read this blog, but I will admit to knowing at least some eyeballs give it a glance every now and then.

So... If you have a second, if you're so inclined, I would really appreciate it if you could help us spread the word, and let people know that we're trying to help those kids, and we could use all the help we can get to make this button bigger.

Ohio Idols for Independence

A guest post today. It really speaks for itself.  If you have a moment, we appreciate your time. Thanks.

Hi! I’m writing to invite you, your family and friends to the first annual Ohio Idols for Independence benefit concert. Our goal is to raise thousands of dollars to help kids with cerebral palsy find their voice at home, at school and in their communities.

This event is close to my heart because my daughter, Adriana, lives with cerebral palsy. While she falls on the severe end of CP, the amazing advancements in technology have given her the gift of independent mobility and communication.

I believe when kids with CP find their voice, regardless of physical ability, they experience true independence. Some kids find their voice through music, sports or dance. Other kids, like Adriana, need specialized care and equipment to find their voice. And as many of you know, these things are expensive. Proceeds from the event go to The MJB Foundation to provide funding for children so they get the specialized care, equipment and services they need just to be a kid.

Please join us in helping kids with CP by purchasing your tickets TODAY! Tickets are just $16 and they are available online at www.ohio-idol.com. You can also purchase tickets directly through me by writing a check to The MJB Foundation for the number of tickets you want. Just send me an email and I’ll bring them to you.

If you have any questions, you can email me or call me at 614-309-0799. For information about The MJB Foundation visit www.mjbfoundation.org.

Thank you!

Patty Lyons

Patty Lyons
Parent & Chapter Leader
CP Parent Columbus, A Family Resource Group for Cerebral Palsy
Reaching For The Stars Central Ohio Chapter
Follow us facebook

Never eat when you're angry

Ordinarily things like this just roll off my back, but today... Here's the story -

I went into a local eating establishment for lunch / dinner. (What do you call it when it's 4:00 p.m.?)

I was greeted with a hearty welcome to... Okay, no I wasn't, but I usually am.

A nice young lady came to the counter and asked me what I would like.

I'll have a.. "Um, excuse me," a voice interrupted from the side. "Can you tell me..."

The nice young lady went to answer that query.

Another young man came to the counter. "What can I get you sir?"

I would like a..."Um, can I get some water..." another voice interrupted... and the young man was gone.

Deep breath Jimmer. "Does somebody want to help me?"

The young man returned. "I'm sorry sir, what did you say?"

I said, "Does somebody want to help me?"

I just went to give that girl a cup. What, you having a bad day or something?

Insert screeching tire noise here. Did anybody else see that needle come off that record?

I couldn't help myself. "Forget it!" I snapped. I told the guy behind me to go ahead. To his credit, he just stood there and watched.

What sir?

I wheeled around - "She asked me what I wanted and then went to help that person. You asked me what I wanted and then went to help that other person. I.AM.STANDING.RIGHT.HERE...IN.LINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

"Um, do you still want your sandwich?"

I did. I was hungry, and I have a long night ahead of me.

He hustled to finish making my sandwich, the transaction ended. He chopped $.50 off the price of my sandwich and offered me a free drink which I declined.

I then learned an entirely new lesson.

Never eat when you're angry.

Commence stomach ache.


The Speech

(This is what it sounds like in my head. Who knows how it's going to come out...)

They say that: “Everyone who has ever passed through the doors of Bishop Ready knows that for as long as they live they have a home here and they are always welcome back.

Today, I feel that, and I thank you. I want to also thank those who nominated me, and accepted me into this select group. I am humbled by this honor, and I hope that in my life I am able to continue to do the work that brought me here, that is my passion. I want to thank an incredibly supportive family, a whole team of people, hundreds of supporters, and all the folks who inspire me to do the work I do. They’re the ones who deserve the recognition.

I was very nervous about being here today. I asked my girls, who some of you know, what I could say that wouldn’t make me sound like “some old” guy.

They just laughed.

So, I asked another friend, and she told me to just talk about what I do.  

As I look out at all of you I remember myself in those very same seats. I was excited for the future, even if I had no idea what that future held.

It took me sometime to figure it all out, and that’s okay. All I really knew was that whatever I did, it probably shouldn’t involve math. More importantly, I wanted to do it as best as I possibly could.

I learned here at Ready that each and every one of us has the ability to have an impact on our environment, and most especially the people around us.

Just being a Dad, carrying on my daughter Meghan’s legacy through our work with The MJB Foundation, and being the best Dad I can be to my daughters Kailey and Delaney I’ve found my life’s work, and somehow that lead me here today.

At The MJB Foundation we strive everyday to make sure that children, all of the children can know the real Joy that should be childhood.

As my children have grown I have stressed to them, and to their friends and other youth I have worked with, the importance of finding a way to enjoy their childhood.

That’s what life should be all about - Joy - and that is my wish for you today.

Thank you!

Taking Care of My Kids

Mr. Wright,

I'm going to begin by asking that you not send me the "canned response," and you not refer to what happened with your school's football team and the Westland High School Band as a mix-up.

This was not a mix-up. This was a blatant disregard for the rules. You know it, and I know it.

I still cannot believe that with more than 3 minutes left during halftime the Liberty football team actually  came onto the field while the band was still performing and refused to leave...even after their coach was asked by both the Westland band staff and the athletic director. (photo credit to Julie Prater)

In fact your coaching staff essentially told our band directors as well as parents in the press box, who were counting raffle money, that they didn't care that they were breaking the rules.

Did they also not care that children's safety was in danger? Two band members were kicked. That's two too many.

One wonders what your reaction might have been if your football players had pushed the wrong tuba player to the brink? That's a pretty heavy instrument.

Do you comprehend where this could go wrong on so many levels?

I learned afterward that the Liberty football team has a reputation of doing this repeatedly. REPEATEDLY? even to your own band at times.

That is wrong! An immediate, and unequivocal apology should be issued by every coach, and every administrator in your building to every band it has shown this type of disrespect.

I have friends whose children attend Olentangy Liberty. Their kids are good kids. I am confident that the kids on the football team are probably good kids just doing what they were told.

I am not, however as confident in the goodness of your coaching staff, or frankly in you sir with the copied and pasted response referencing a "mix-up."I have seen you give to many, MANY concerned parents.

It's a sad day when the adults are the ones who need to learn the lesson.

Please do the right thing here and apologize, and have your coaching staff apologize with assurance that this will not happen in the future. Don't apologize to me. Apologize to the Westland Band, every single member and director.

It is my understanding that several media outlets have been copied on many of these emails. One can only hope that at the very least the threat of bad publicity will compel you to do what is right.


Jim Brochowski
Westland Band Booster Treasurer

If Jim Brochowski can do it...

Maybe this is why:

As I stood up at third base I could see him looking at me and shaking his head. I had just smashed, (Hey I was 13 I still smashed things.) the ball into the fence in left field and while I was disappointed it didn’t go over I was also thrilled with what was probably the best hit of my life.
I scored on the next play and as I walked up to my Dad he said: “Just think how far it would have gone if it had been a strike.”


He was right though, the ball I hit was pitched almost over my head. As the infamous movie line goes: I like the high ones!

Now, I love my Dad and I don’t blame him for anything about my upbringing, but my point is I always have greater expectations, It’s taken a long time for me to learn how to be satisfied, and well, I don’t handle praise all that well.

The year to date has been a good one. The MJB Foundation has raised almost $7,000 with an event still to come, I’ve lost 42 pounds, (as of this morning), and I learned a couple of weeks ago that I’m to be inducted into my high school’s hall of fame, mostly for my work with the foundation.

Right and left I’m being congratulated and praised. Folks are using words like inspirational, and...

… And I have no idea how to handle this.

My wife even wants to have a celebratory get together after the HOF induction. She created a Facebook event, and made me a host so I can invite people who are on my friends list, but maybe not on hers.


“Hi, Come celebrate me?”

That just feels wrong. Egotistical, making a big deal out of nothing. To me, it’s just weird.

I feel like if I can do what I do, anybody can do what I do, and the reality is it’s not me. It’s an incredibly supportive family. It’s a whole team of people. It’s hundreds of supporters. It’s the folks who inspire me that help me do the things I do. They’re the ones who deserve the recognition.

I’m told I just need to learn to say thank you and move on, but when people are heaping this high praise, thank you doesn’t seem like enough. Not even close.

A friend once told me that she loves exclamation points because they add emphasis to what is otherwise ordinary. Okay - let’s give this a try...

Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Hall of Fame? Really?

Dear Ms. Kelly,

I have to confess that I spent a considerable amount of time trying to write "my story," as it pertains to my Bishop Ready High School Hall of Fame nomination. Like many, I have a difficult time with this type of notoriety as I just consider what I do…well, what I do. With that said, what follows is just a summary, rather than some dressed-up version. I don't know how to do that.

I have 3 daughters. That’s not what I say when folks ask because it’s awkward and uncomfortable for them sometimes. Running The MJB Foundation is my way of keeping alive the legacy of my daughter Meghan Joy. This isn’t the life’s work I would have guessed for myself, but it is a mission I embrace, a position I am proud to hold. I’m Meghan Joy’s Daddy, but I’m also very proud of Kailey and Delaney. Being there for all of my children, in whatever capacity, is my biggest priority.

Coming out of Bishop Ready I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life except that it would be better if it didn't involve math. Naturally then, I became a theatre major at The Ohio State University. I thought that was it, the career for me. I even came back and directed a couple of plays at Ready. At the end of the academic year I realized that I wasn't ready for college in the traditional sense. I auditioned and was accepted to the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, but having spent more than $600 in less than 2 days there, and not having received a scholarship I decided instead to continue to work at the library, a job I'd had since my senior year of high school. 

In 1988, I met the woman who would later become my wife. I still didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I knew that I wanted to be the best husband and father I could possibly be. I think childhood and adolescence is absolutely the hardest thing any of us will have to deal with in our lives (save for extraordinary circumstances), and I knew I wanted to make it as easy as I possibly could for my children.

In 1993, our twin daughters Kailey and Meghan Joy were born. We were not expecting twins, and there were many complications. The whole story is here. 

In May of 1994, we were devastated by the death of Meghan Joy. In an attempt to find some peace, some reason, my wife and I began to reach out to friends and family who told us that Meghan had inspired them, that she had a profound effect on their lives and many others. To continue her memory and preserve her legacy we started holding a golf tournament every year as we, and many of our friends, were avid golfers. Each year for 9 years we had the golf outing and a big party dubbed "The MJB" to celebrate Meghan's life. We settled into a pattern, and daughter Delaney joined us in 1996.

In 2004, our 10th year, we wanted to do something big. In talking to a friend I realized that we could do more with the story of Meghan, that we should use her inspiration to help other children. Children who, like Meghan faced more than their fair share of challenges. Cerebral palsy, autism and a whole host of other diagnoses affect the daily lives of so many children, and the resources for helping them are few and far between. So began The MJB Foundation.

We held our first Golf for Joy, the 10th annual family golf tournament and party remembering Meghan's inspiration in June of 2004. We raised a little over $1,800. We gained our 501(c) 3 status in 2005. We never looked back. In 2010 we added a bowling event and, to date, we have raised more than $40,000 for children with challenges in Central Ohio. From our Mission Statement: By sponsoring recreational and educational activities, donating physical goods and services, and making monetary contributions we hope to bring Joy to these children. 

When we started The MJB Foundation it was easy to identify a need that wasn’t being met. Simply put, some children just don’t have access, or enough access, as the case may be. When Meghan was born in 1993 we had excellent insurance, everything was paid for. If we needed equipment or some adaptive device for Meghan, no matter the cost, it was covered. In 2004 this type of insurance for anyone was nothing more than a faded memory, and the situation has not improved today. 

Even the children with the most challenges are often left at the bottom of some bureaucratic list with not enough funding to obtain the resources they need to just be kids, to experience the Joy that should be childhood. 

The MJB Foundation wants to be there to fill those gaps, to find those children who aren’t experiencing that Joy and help them with the resources they need. Whether that is an adaptive tricycle, some kind of therapy, a special tray or just an adaptive piece of furniture; we work with organizations like FCBDD to identify children in need, provide the needed funding and send them a gift of Joy from The MJB Foundation. 

Our next event is coming up in November as we are presenting Ohio Idols for Independence – Helping Kids with Cerebral Palsy Find Their Voice in conjunction with Ohio Idol, and CP Parent Columbus, a Family Resource Group for Cerebral Palsy. Attendance is expected to exceed 1,500 and the event should raise more than any other we have held to date. 

So does that make me a Hall of Fame inductee? I don't know. Even when I eventually graduated from college in 2001 I wasn't sure what I wanted to be when I grow up, but I have found that I really like to work with kids, and I really like to work with non-profits, particularly organizations that benefit folks who get missed. My community is very important to me... with a lot of emphasis on family. I’m also currently the treasurer for the Westland Band Boosters. (I had some spare time I needed to fill.)

I told my girls that they didn't come with an instruction manual and that we were going to figure out the best way to do things together. As my children have grown I have stressed to them, and to their friends and other youth I have worked with, the importance of finding a way to enjoy their childhood. 

I coached my girls’ sports teams when they played, and I have been fortunate to be a "second Dad" to many of their friends. I still have kids today whose eyes light up as they greet me with an embrace. Many of them call me "Poppa Chow." That's enough of a reward for me.

Be Happy Where You Are... But GO When You Need To...

Today I am returning for my 3rd week back to work since vacation. I cannot lie, at the end of last week I was tired. It had been a challenging week, long days, surprise assignments, stressful... and yet -

I still feel rejuvenated enough from my vacation that today, (admittedly after a long weekend) I am ready to jump back into the fray.


Well I haven't told anybody, (except my wife) this, but I really thought about not going on that vacation. I thought I had so much "stuff" to do that I should stay home - do a little "staycation" and get some things done around the house instead.

Yes, that would have been colossally stupid.

To Netter's credit she let me decide on my own to go ahead and go on vacation. She reminded me as much when I thanked her as we walked down the beach. "I didn't say anything," she said. "I just told you I was going, and sort of let you figure it out on your own."

Ah... That wise wife of mine.

I hadn't been to the ocean in 10 years. It will not be 10 more. We hadn't taken a vacation of consequence in 3 years. It will not be 3 more. The time away means too much. The time with family is everything. The time experiencing different things and finding new day to days cannot be measured.

I've talked before here about over extending yourself, and needing a break. I needed that break this time whether I knew it or not.

I'm glad "I" figured it out.

Home from the Isle of Palms, and still Happy Where I am.

Be Happy Where You Are... Part 1

A little series here as I’m on vacation with lots of time to ponder.

Here’s the first installment...

I often think we make things too complicated in our  world. We never seem to be satisfifed with what we have, where we are. We're always on the lookout for ways to get ahead, to make ourselves better, to change things, to... well just be different.

Here's my question

What's wrong with where we are?

I was at breakfast with an old friend a few weeks ago. He's seen a fair share of trials and tribulations in the last few years, but I could tell as we were talking that he's come to a place where he is finally - happy.

We talked a great deal about what's been going on in our lives, family, kids, jobs, and such. When we were finished he said: "I'm just happy where I am you know. 'Be happy where you are, that's all that matters.'"

It struck me that I feel very much the same way. I've spent sooooooo much time over the last few years trying to change, to adjust, to get better. It's all chronicled here, over and over, time after time...

But lately?

Not so much.

In March of this year I stepped on the scale. The number I'm ashamed to say was a whopping 210 pounds. I know there are bigger numbers, people who weigh more, but at all of 5' 7" - 210 is a pretty big number. I admit I walked around in shock for a few hours that day, trying to convince myself that it didn't mean anything. After all, I had been gaining weight for quite sometime. I've talked before here about weighing 202. Obviously, that didn't bother me as much as I thought it did - Because now I weighed 210.

Now, if you ask me I'll tell you, but I'm not going to break down all the hows  and whys today. I will share that there's an app called "myfitnesspal," that I owe a debt of gratitude for showing me that the best diet is paying attention to what you're putting into your body and trying to get some exercise. (I also owe a great deal of gratitude to my wife, but you knew that if you are paying attention.)

I am aware that life isn't all about fitness levels, but I have to tell you - Feeling healthy - sure makes the rest of life a heckuva lot easier to tackle. But we can talk about that another time.

Today - I tip the scales some 30 pounds lighter (pre-vacation - although I'm trying to keep it sensible) and though I've more to go, I'm happy - where I am.

Because the lesson is - If you're not happy where you are...

Um, maybe you should find a way to get there.

Writing today from the Isle of Palm, and happy where I am.

Resolved for Dummies

As I paddled backwards I watched Netter working on her reel and line and realized that for the first time, in pretty much ever, I was going to have to do this myself.

Patiently, I maneuvered the canoe so it angled just so. Quietly I put down my paddle and picked up my rod. A quick side arm flick of the wrist putting my line exactly where I knew he was...

Pow, the fish grabbed my artificial worm and started to swim.

Furiously I started to reel him in, then remembered that I needed to be more patient and not let him jump, or otherwise find a way to pull away from my line... and there he was.

As I put down my fishing pole and pulled the fish from the water I could see that he wasn’t all that special. Average size, not all that big, not even as big as two I had caught the day before actually, but there was a difference.

I didn’t wait for Netter to help paddle me into position, or wait for her to say: “Good cast Honey,” to know I had gotten it right. I had put all the lessons of our 19 previous trips to Akita, everything Ranger Annette, (as we only half jokingly call her) and her Dad had taught me, grabbed opportunity by the hand and I just caught it. I mean I just did it.

You know... like the Nike commercial.

Incredible satisfaction, the only one of my fish we took a picture of the whole weekend in fact.

Today, I am focusing on that as we mark the 18th anniversary of the passing of our daughter Meghan Joy.

I’m reflecting a lot on past and current successes and wondering why sometimes it takes me so long to learn.

Just do it Jim!

In February of last year I let loose my rant of a lifetime...

Because I wasn’t getting anything done.

For the remainder of 2011 I tried to “get stuff done.”

I had my three words and I tried to stick to those, but as 2012 approached I realized that I wasn’t going to accomplish everything I had set out to in 2011, and I needed to find more time, to get stuff done.

I’ve held off talking about it here because I didn’t want to have yet another - New Year’s or Lenten resolution, reflection, good gawd you’re making me gag with all this mushy, gushy life is too short, fulfill your dreams blah, blah, blah, blah, BLAH... and so on...

But as I sit here today and think about Meghan Joy, the Foundation we have established in her memory, and the children we have helped because of her with our golf tournament and bowling outing, I can’t help but think about how important it is to actually DO things.

After I did that little time study last year I started doing things. Instead of finding systems, and books, and ways to get organized and accomplish more, and blah, blah, blah... I just started doing things.

This pile - where does it go? Move it!
That pile - what do I need to do with that? Do it!
That phone call. That letter. Make it. Send it.

Just do it.

It still becomes quite a process sometimes, and I admit that I still overthink things, and I am very guilty of finding tasks that “need to be done,” to replace tasks that “really need to be done.” (I call this cleaning the junk drawer, a theory derived from this article by one of my favorite writers.)

Still, I’ve been steadily pecking away at things, finding the most success with getting healthy - which I thought would actually be the most difficult of the 3 words I wanted to tackle. (Or maybe getting healthy is cleaning out my junk drawer.)

I've been working on it since March 12 because I was supposed to start working with a trainer that day, but hurt my knee. I had to rehab it anyway so I stuck to the diet part of the deal and started with work in the hot tub, then walking, skating, onto the elliptical, and a new obsession with biking. I just told the trainer I would probably not be back because I really enjoy the cardio work I’ve been doing, although I really do get a lot from being on his email list with the fitness information he shares. I must confess I don’t agree with all of it, but I am learning and also remembering a lot from when I worked out as a young person.  

I've done something every day since with a couple of exceptions. I took the first weekend of March Madness off to spend time with buddies doing what buddies do when they are watching basketball. Would not have been a pretty calorie count, although I did cut out the fried food, pizza, and such after day 1. I also sometimes cheat on Saturdays and depending what I'm doing that can get a little out of hand. I'm coming into this with an open mind trying to learn and make changes that will be long term. As of today I’m proud to report I’ve lost 15 pounds and I’m halfway to my goal.

In the meantime, aside from the health kick I’m just doing the work. It takes me away from the blog and some other mediums more than I’d like, but in the long haul I think it will make for more quality in all areas of my life.

I am resolved to make it so.

More Than We Can See?

“Look! There it is, off in the distance. Can you see it?”

It was Mount Rushmore. When I was 8, or was it 1978 which for some reason I always associate with being 8 even though I was 10...

Anyway - in 1978 my family went on a trip out west. I remember that we traveled to Salt Lake City, The Grand Canyon, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and finally arrived to visit relatives whose exactly locale, quite honestly I forget. (Somewhere in California?)

But -

Here’s what I remember.

We saw a lot, but we didn’t really do a lot, and the one example that really stands out -

is Mount Rushmore.

As I remember it we quite literally stopped by the side of the road, looked up, said “look there it is,” and went on our way. I don't really know why. That's just what we did.
For some reason I always thought that was all there was. It never even occurred to me that there might be a park, or a way to get closer until I watched The National Treasure: Book of Secrets.

Yes, that seems silly to me too.

In any case...

This story has come up more than once in conversation during the past few weeks. Today, it kind of stuck in my head. Of course, I started to ask myself why?

Here’s my theory....

There’s always more to the story. There’s always a different route. There’s always a different way. There’s always something not everybody knows.

Save for some extremes - No one way is right. No one path is absolute.

The world allows for differences.

It’s okay to question, but it’s not okay to judge.

… and now for some reason I have Paul Harvey stuck in my head: “And that’s the rest of the story.”


There are 30 celebrities, 10 Brochowskis I don’t know, and 11 businesses or brands. There are 30 who I’ve never met, save for 2 phone calls, 30 I only know in passing, and 22 I’ve never met who are local who I’m making it my goal to try and meet soon. This leaves about 716 that I’ve met and know. I might have worked with them.  I definitely have a memory of them, and I can probably identify their voice. Many I see on a daily, or at least weekly to monthly basis.

Of course I’m talking about my Facebook Friend list.

But why?

Sunday, I heard a friend say that all this great technology was actually ruining “real communication.” I of course balked at this. I love this great technology. I think it has actually enhanced communication. In the interest of keeping the peace I didn’t argue with my friend.

Yesterday I noted that more than a few folks are “giving up Facebook for Lent,” so I shared this observation on my Timeline.

“I suppose it could just be me, but if you give up Facebook or some other social network for Lent aren't you really just saying: ‘I don't value those relationships so I'm okay with just blowing them off for 40 days?’”

i.e. In other words, ergo and forsooth, I think giving up Facebook could ruin (at least some part of) communication.

But that’s just my opinion, which is why I posted that. I wanted to have the discussion that followed.

Responses ranged from 100% agreement to Facebook is too new to establish cultural norms to  “Or is it saying because I value those relationships/form of communication, I am willing to give up something valuable to me for God for Lent?”

I agree with every one of them.


Okay, no not really.

I understand that there are many who see social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and even blogs as nothing more than idle pursuits. Even folks who participate in those mediums sometimes downplay them as being nothing more than time wasters, stuff to do when there is nothing else to do.

But that’s not me.

I see social networks as valuable additions to those tools we already had at our disposal for communication because to me it’s not about the tools.

It’s about the people. Plain.And.Simple.

Now, I’m not passing judgment on folks who have decided to give up Facebook for Lent if they see that as a true sacrifice, if they just need a break, if they are resolved to use other perhaps more personal forms of communication to reach out to people in their lives. If they are trying to strengthen their relationships I’m all for that, and I will allow that my statement in passing doesn’t allow for their reasoning behind their decisions, not that they owe anybody an explanation.

But I wonder if we realize the true power of all these tools as we put them to use every day. I wonder if we understand the implications of our actions? Do we get that we might only know about what’s going on in each other’s lives because of our social network, and how valuable just knowing is to one friend, or another.

While I might know, in person, at least 700 some odd people on my friend list I am very aware that in all likelihood, without these tools I would not have the contact, the interactions with many of them that I have now, and I don’t believe for a second that would be a good thing. Not at all.

Don’t misunderstand -

I get that Facebook is “just Facebook,” and Twitter is “just Twitter,” etc... and so on...

I value personal interaction more than any other form of communication. I’d like to sit with all of you for hours, conversing deep into the night holding a beverage in hand, wiping a tear, or sharing a laugh.

Unfortunately, as we all know, that’s not possible. There just aren’t enough hours in the day, or dollars in the bank account for the travel necessary to bring us together.

While I would never advocate for replacing a personal interaction, a letter, an email, or even a phone call, (okay maybe a phone call - I do hate the phone) I would hope that folks might realize and value the social network communication that sometimes might have to suffice, and be grateful for it rather than seeing it as a commodity that we can simply cast aside.

Your Mileage May Vary.