Tag Archives: Twitter

A Day of Remembering

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One of my friends posted an interesting comment on Facebook yesterday concerning Memorial Day. To paraphrase what he said, he didn’t remember this day having as much significance when he was growing up as it seems to have today. He wondered if social media has given this important holiday more of a voice than what it used to have. He goes on to state that, if this is the case, it is one very good thing in a sea of bad things that social media has brought into focus. Reflecting on my childhood, I have to agree with him. I can recall highlights of a local parade being shown on the nightly news and I vaguely remember seeing ceremonies at places such as The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier but I also don’t remember the patriotism expressed as it is now through a variety of media. I looked on my Facebook page, admittedly not a social media platform that I use a lot (I only have 87 friends and I think that’s too many), and I counted the number of tributes posted to our soldiers and troops since midnight last night. Removing the advertisements, out of the 29 posts from my friends, 9 of these were Memorial Day related. That’s 31% of the posts that I received. Not a bad percentage. Were this many people talking about Memorial Day as a day of remembrance 20 years ago or was it known more as the long holiday weekend to kick of the summer and have a barbecue? My memories trend towards the latter.

Now, our family was not a hard core military family but we did have people that served our country. My dad was in the Army (as was my father-in-law). My grandfather was a Navy man. My cousin also served some time in the Navy and one of my cousins is now actively enrolled in the Air Force. Nobody was a “military brat” but we all knew someone who served or who was enlisted. But, as a kid, Memorial Day held significance because it was the day that the summer pools usually opened and we went to my grandparents for a picnic. As a society, events such as 9/11 and the two recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have rekindled our feelings of patriotism but today is proof that when united behind a cause, social media is very effective and an important barometer as to what is going on in our world today.

For Cam’s story, social media has been the driving force in education and awareness. We understand that the use of technology and the resulting communication avenues that are created are unprecedented. As we wind down Celiac Awareness Month, look at all the things that have come from our social media interactions.

  • We just sent in our final forms for Cam’s gluten-free week at Camp Kanata; an opportunity provided to us through a Facebook contest.
  • Our magical night at the Final Four with unspeakable compassion from a complete stranger who was sympathetic to our cause above 78,000 other customers. This story was shared by numerous strangers on Facebook.
  • The story of Cam’s journey is being read worldwide. Think about that. Growing up, I had a pen pal in France that I spoke with for a summer. Yesterday, my son’s fight for Celiac Awareness was viewed in places such as Australia, the United Kingdom and Bolivia.
  • A relationship with a fellow Celiac, who happens to be a professional race car driver, all because of a simple Twitter post.
  • Cam being featured in a gluten free calendar. Yep, he’s officially a pin-up at 13.
  • Over 500 followers of his story on Twitter in less than 5 months.

These statistics do not include all of the wonderful people that we have met these first nine months in our Celiac journey. For Cam to see firsthand the generosity and good that exists in people has been one of the best lessons to come out of all of this. Yes, terrible things can come from social media and if you take the time to look at comment boards or any application where someone is provided a voice, you can see/read that ignorance is still alive and stronger than ever. But used in the right way, such as with this Memorial Day holiday, what we have access to today can work wonders.

God bless to all of our troops; current, past and future. Know that we appreciate what you do, not just today, but every day.

 

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Acts of Random Kindness

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One of my daughter’s favorite movies is “Evan Almighty”. I thought about this movie when reading the news this week concerning the backlash over the upcoming “Noah” movie and it’s perceived inaccuracies. If you haven’t seen it, “Evan Almighty” is a light-hearted family film that follows the main character as he steps outside of his comfort zone and builds an ark after speaking with God. The lesson that the movie teaches is that you can’t save the world or change everything in one, single swoop. The main character learns, with some divine guidance, that saving the world takes one “Act of Random Kindness” (or ARK) at a time. It’s a good lesson to keep in mind when teaching the benefits of patience to my children, not to mention one that I keep in mind through my own personal tribulations.

Sometimes it is hard to find any kindness when looking around social media outlets and blogs. It seems that not speaking with someone face to face and hiding behind a computer generated persona has provided the green light for a total absence of decorum and respect. A perfect example of this is displayed for comedic value on the Jimmy Kimmel late night show in a segment called “Mean Tweets”. Celebrities are filmed reading derogatory tweets that have been written about them by anyone with a Twitter account. You can find several of these on You Tube but be warned that it is NSFW (not safe for work) material.  While most of the celebrities take the comments with a grain of salt, you can see genuine pain on some of their faces as they question why someone that they have never met would write something so hateful about them. By no means am I sticking up for celebrities as they too are guilty of spreading misconstrued information for the sake of causing their statement to go viral and bring more attention to themselves. There have been a couple of examples of these celebrity statements that have raised the tempers and concerns of the gluten-free community in the past few months. First, Rachel Ray proclaimed on a talk show that gluten-free was a fad. Recently, Dr. Oz during an interview stated that gluten-free was a scam. Arguments of how these statements are harmful for the validity of the gluten-free movement filled the message boards, only to be counter-argued by supporters of these celebrities stating that their statements were misinterpreted and taken out of context. Honestly, it got quite nasty. I understand that everyone has an opinion but when did it become o.k. to dismiss kindness and respect to get your point across? In our situation, and likely the situation of many involved in the gluten-free community, understanding and kindness are hard to come by. What some dismiss as a trendy lifestyle choice is a matter of life and death for my kid and others who need to be gluten-free. The recognition of the disease is still fairly new and just now are we seeing the looks of acknowledgement replacing the stares of incomprehension when we say that Cam is celiac. We cherish when an Act of Random Kindness presents itself as it did to us this past Saturday.

As I mentioned in my last blog entry, we attended a family get-together last weekend to celebrate lives, young and old. The whole experience had a “play-it-by-ear” feel to it, as not much was planned outside of all of us being in the same town at the same time. So, when it came to finding a restaurant that could host 11 people with various ailments (celiac, hard of hearing, etc.) in short notice, my hopes did not hold much optimism. It was decided that Italian was the style of choice for the evening and a favorite location from past dining experiences was selected. Safe to say, Cam wasn’t too excited about the pick. He loves Italian food but never had we found a quality gluten-free menu at a small, non-chain establishment. Add to this that his celiac journey started in this same town and I could see the reasoning for his trepidation. I called the restaurant to confirm that they had a gluten free menu. The positive was that the person that I spoke with said that they did have gluten free selections and assured me that this food was prepared in a dedicated kitchen. The negative was that they were booked for the evening. After some pleading, I was able to speak with the manager who found a way to reserve a time for us and accommodate our needs. And, wow, did they ever accommodate the needs of this family. First, we were put into a private dining area that was quiet and allowed for everyone to participate in the conversation. They did this with only three hours of notice. Second, our waiter was the best. Once he found out that Cam was a celiac, he brought out a gluten free menu for him and answered his questions. He even suggested that he save room for the flourless chocolate cake, pointing out this one gluten free desert option that they had available. When dessert came and no one else was ordering, the waiter brought the chocolate cake in one “to go” container along with an accompanying side of ice cream for the road. Did he need to do this? No. Could the restaurant have said that it was too difficult for them to serve us as they needed the room for an event later? Yes. Will this night displaying numerous “acts of random kindness” stay in our memories for a lifetime? Definitely.

It is these days and these moments that I look forward to as we move forward with Cam’s journey. I already know of several adventures that will be taking place this upcoming month that are all results of someone’s kindness and generosity towards us as we learn this new lifestyle. I can’t wait for these moments to happen and to have the opportunity to share these times with you. I think that you will be as moved as I am with the kindness that can still be found in this world.