(Rant alert: consider yourself warned)
Scripture reminds us in a number of places about how and on what we are to engage our minds:
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:-8
Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats:For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he… Proverbs 23: 6-7a
…to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. Romans 12: 3
You don’t have to search the Bible in order to find sagacious words regarding the use of the mind. Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt expressed her thoughts this way:
‘Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.’
I have thought about this for months, but it really began to hit me around the time of the oldest’s graduation. My sister, who hadn’t had much to say to me in almost 15 years, actually began a conversation regarding, of all things, natural hair. Also a natural, she wanted a condensed version of links that have helped me keep the girls’ hair healthy. I’ve thought some about what to send her, because there are some wonderfully informative articles out there. As I began to relocate some that were particularly helpful, however, I found some disturbing patterns through which I had to sift:
- Hundreds of comments about celebrities and their hair (versus tens of comments on issues that I think truly matter)
- Blogs and blog comments that give little respect to basic rules of grammar and spelling
- Heated debates over word choices, or a lack of blog etiquette (ex. using ALL CAPS to type your message)
To be sure, I don’t think these dynamics are limited to the hair community. I believe that community, or rather, the worst of that community, is just a microcosm of a growing obsession with people—other people, and other people’s business. Not ideas, not even events, but people. As just one of many examples, consider the amounts of money paid to reality stars in 2012 according to Forbes.com: (and what do these women do again?)
Kim Kardashian: $18 million/yr
Bethany Frankel: $12 million/yr
Khloe Kardashian Odom: $11 million/yr
There is a staggering market out there for the small mind.
What I miss most in the natural hair community is my 40+ groups. One site that appealed to me shut down all of its groups, and the other valued numbers of posts in general over building needs-based communities, hence the giveaways focused on overall post content. In those groups, we talked about graying and its perceptions; we talked about thinning hair and other hormonal changes that affect hair and skin; we talked about balancing being natural—oil, head scarves, and all—with being at least a semi-sexy wife to our husbands. We talked about womanhood. Hair was the cause for which we were all gathered, but in reality, it was simply an extension of everything else that was going in our lives. And eureka, that is it. What I enjoyed, and continue to appreciate, most about the natural hair community is a discussion of ideas; hair was simply the common ground from which those ideas took shape and form.
So, I search for the gems amidst my own age/ maturity-induced filters:
I don’t care what Beyonce, her sister, or any other celebrity does with her hair.
Though no one is above the occasional typo (especially me), spell check and grammar checks are not difficult to use before clicking on “Publish” or “Send.” Without minimal attention to grammatical rules, your words and meaning no longer hold the same value.
I pick my battles. Having said that, I don’t want to bicker about areas where you are overly sensitive and/or life issues that haven’t been surrendered over to Christ.
I suppose that you must be a certain age to appreciate much of what is there, and perhaps I’ve just gotten too old for it all. So, I continue to follow several informative bloggers who show up on everyone’s list, including GirlsLoveYourCurls and Naptural85 and. Based upon the fact that they’re still in the infant stage/ toddler stage of child-rearing, I assume they are at least 10 years younger than I am. Should I wish gray hair upon them? Perhaps not (smile). I continue to focus on articles that inform and inspire, and the numerous places that give me food for thought in what I’d share with my sister. Finally, I give myself the same training that I give our homeschooled kids, developing my mind to feast on ideas—not events, and not people (in the wrong sense). In the meantime, here’s to thinking big.