I badly sprained my ankle sliding into the catcher at home plate as an 11-year-old. While I was writhing in pain, flopping around on the ground, I looked up to see my mother about to step onto the field. Suddenly, the pain in my ankle went away because I was so horrified that she was about to break one of the cardinal rules of sports. At least it was at the time: Parents, especially moms, are not supposed to come onto the field unless accompanied by the EMTs and a stretcher.
I don't even remember who created this rule or how or when I even heard of it, but I knew, the same way a child knows that snakes and spiders are to be avoided, that saving face meant that I had to cry and scream on the field alone ... like a man.
My mother, obviously concerned for her baby, as she should have been, actually had one foot in the air and was about to walk through the gate when I saw her. Things slowed down like in the movies and I saw her foot and then her face as she saw my face and likely heard my screams of protest.
I really don't know what I thought would happen if she came on that field, but I knew it would be bad. Funny thing is, once I got off of the field, and especially when I got home, all I wanted was some TLC from my mother. Like I said, I was 11.
Anyway, I thought of that moment earlier this week after reading the results of a survey of millennials who shared their deepest, darkest secrets about having grandma and grandpa as friends on Facebook. In short, they are so over it. The survey was done by Visiting Angels, an in-home senior-care company. It found that young people are basically embarrassed by their grandparents and their social-media interactions.
It revealed five specific acts that make young people want to unfriend Mammaw and Pappaw. They don't like it when their grands post personal stuff, post strong opinions about politics or religion, get too friendly with their friends, lay on the guilt trip or talk about being ill, and they don't like it when Gramps or Granny tries to be cool with their comments.
Though it didn't make the top five no-nos in the survey, posting in all caps is enough to make a millennial want to put his phone down ... for a minute or two. They also don't like reading comments about their hairstyle or clothing.
Cell phones and social media have made keeping up with our children and grandchildren much easier, and many reading this will likely be thinking, "Well, these kids need to get over it." But where is the line? Reading a post from a grandparent that he is lonely, or sick or wishing that you would call on Facebook would be kind of horrifying.
Save the comments for the next family gathering.
Contact Barry Courter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6354.