I have a weekly playdate set up with my nephew (who is almost five years old). Smack in the middle of my week, Wednesday afternoon, I drop everything to let Nakin show me how to find joy in the simple things.
This last week, he gave me a toy baseball bat, and he took another one in his hand and we used them in a play sword fight. We "fought" for well over a half hour, clashing our baseball bat swords. What I learned from him was that the game wasn't about trying to hit each other with the bats, but to hit the swords to each other. When one of us missed and hit the other person, it hurt, and the fun stopped for a moment to apologize and rub the owie. When we both swung and missed, we didn't feel as satisfied. But when our baseball swords clashed and clanged and clanked, we laughed and giggled and made all kinds of other sounds. The next day, this picture appeared on his mom's facebook page. He used his baseball bat sword to chase bubbles. Giggling the whole time.
It's all fun and games until someone loses and eye, right?
But with foam and plastic bats and five year old game-rules, the odds of losing an eye, or offending an opponent, or breaking a relationship are slim to none.
Sadly, that's not the case in the grown-up world these days.
"Cancel culture refers to the popular practice of withdrawing support for (canceling) public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive. Cancel culture is generally discussed as being performed on social media in the form of group shaming." (https://www.dictionary.com/e/pop-culture/cancel-culture/)
Seems, a simple scroll through social media these days reveals that in the weird world of 2020, CANCEL CULTURE has expanded from stopping support of a public figure or company into a wider practice of "unfriending." Seems when debates get heated and issues in life get hot, the solution many people seem to be employing is ending the relationship rather than being curious enough about an oppositional perspective to find a way to compromise.
Whatever happened to agreeing to disagree?
Whatever happened to debating the issues without insulting the individual?
Don't get me wrong. I'm all for asserting healthy boundaries when someone is abusive, insulting, disrespectful, crude, and rude. But why do people have to get that way in the first place?
Can we please go back to being five years old and banging plastic baseball bats (or wrapping paper cardboard tubes) like swords, where the rules are that you bang the objects, not the people?
Cuz I really don't want to cancel anyone, or be part of a culture that prefers cancelling over compromising and forgot entirely was curiosity about someone else's perspective is.