My son posted a rant on his FaceBook. Of course we’re friends on FaceBook. I have him designated as a Close Friend, so if he so much as farts in cyberspace, I get a notification.
No, I’m not that kind of mother. I’m the kind who cares enough to say something like this (after covering my eyes and peering through my fingers to read every word):
“Boy, there are two things you should avoid doing throughout the course of your life if you want to succeed. First, don’t burn bridges in haste. Choose with utmost care the bridges you burn for they may never be rebuilt. Second, don’t rant in public. It pisses people off and you look like an ungracious ass.” In other words:
Granted, I only said something after he came to me complaining that some of his colleagues were offended by his less-than-professional post . He’s twenty-one. I think every young adult should get a pass on a gaffe like this as long as the error is corrected. He was smart enough to come to me with his dilemma.
What my son ranted about is exactly how things are, but public, in-your-face rants don’t change things. Ask the politicians seeking our votes. They rant and rave on their soapboxes, but when they get elected, they quickly discover that their rants for change are up against a much bigger monster than rhetoric can conquer. They tow the party line after a while. Those who don’t disappear into obscurity.
After some careful explaining, and validating his feelings (hey, feelings are feelings and it isn’t my place to tell him not to have them), I instructed him on the best course of action. “Son, only rant to the choir and do it before the congregation arrives.” I also advised him to take down the post. No apologies necessary, just “don’t do it again or you’ll get a reputation for that kind of behavior.”
It’s okay to be angry about how the world is. It’s okay to want to change things. There are even places where rants are effective (like in songs or comics or IDK, the arts in general – think Spaced Repetition), but you have to consider the audience. Subliminal messages work better. Subtlety will slay the biggest foes. And my personal favorite, kill them with kindness.
My son doesn’t realize it yet, but I’m managing his career. He will not get the opportunity to make mistakes with such spectacular regularity as his mother. I can crash and burn. My gaffes are expected, even anticipated, but he has a pristine field of opportunity out there and I want him to soar much higher than me before he takes another nose dive. Hopefully, I can head him off at the pass before he jumps.