Twitter: The Lecture*

* To clarify, not from me to you. From my dad to me. To clarify further, the title is a bit of an inside joke, which I will explain in a different post.

My father tried to leave a comment on my blog regarding my Lenten Twitter fast. And my blog ate his comment. (Good blog.) (Just kidding, dad!)

As I got to drive him to the airport the other day, though, he was able to deliver his comment in person.

To paraphrase:

One of the reasons we Catholics give up something for Lent is so that we can shift our resources to a more worthy area. For example, if one gives up chocolate or the daily Starbucks concoction, one takes the money one used to spend on it, and gives it to charity.

In terms of giving up Twitter, what I am gaining (aside from perspective) is TIME.

My dad shared his ideas with me as far as what I could do with the time I have not being on Twitter.

1. Spending extra time in prayer. I wish I could say that of course of I am doing this. But instead of attending Mass more often or even reading my Bible, I’m probably dedicating more effort into getting and keeping my house clean. What’s that old cliche? “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”? So, uh, I’m in the ballpark.

2. Spending quality time with Dan. This is an effort that is being made both ways. Dan and I picked up the book Love Dare. And we are working our way through it over Lent.

I always thought Dan and I had a pretty good marriage — I still think that. But just because it’s “pretty good” doesn’t mean it couldn’t be better. We both have areas in which we need to improve. Giving up Twitter has certainly given me the time to reconnect with Dan, and the Love Dare has given us both a vehicle to use for that reconnection. We don’t spend every night having deep conversations or anything like that, but we are working together more, and talking more, and just spending more time together. It’s really nice.

3. Spending more time with my children — interactive time, not just sitting in the same room with them. This is a weakness of mine in general, I admit. The computer and Twitter have less to do with it than my own personality. It’s an area in which I needed to improve in any case, and since I’ve got all this time on my hands, I figure no time like the present.

Don’t get me wrong, I think I’m a good mom. I love my girls to pieces. But I have to give them more of myself instead of just caring for them — the bathing, the feeding, the clothing. I have to talk to them and listen to them and play with them more. I have to laugh with them more. They are growing up fast. Granted, it’s difficult (especially that laughing part) when I’m dealing with a controlling 3-year-old who doesn’t want to poop on the potty.

But that’s just the thing: Kate needs me so hard right now. I don’t know how else to put it. She creeps into our bed at 5 a.m. not because of ear aches or nightmares, but because that’s where I am. She fights us for control of everything not because she actually wants it, but because she needs to push to her boundaries to see where we push back. When I read this post over at Mom 101 recently, it made me think of Kate. Not because she’s so much like Sage (although I do see similarities) but because of the contrast of my two girls — yet another post for another day.

For now, I have to be available to respond to Kate’s needs (and Flora’s, too, of course, although at 5, she is quietly independent and more willing to explore her own space). Her need for control, her need for cuddles, her need for me. It’s hard to be available when I’m tweeting. I have to fight that urge to run to the computer and tell about the latest cute thing (or crazy-making thing) that my girls have done. I have to save it up for a blog post; I have to Twitter in the spaces between my girls’ time — after they go to bed, for example, or during “quiet time”.

And even then, I’ll have to limit Twitter. It’s easy for me to spend an hour on there and not get the laundry folded.

My dad had a fourth suggestion for this Twitter-free time, but it’s completely escaped me. Maybe he’ll try to leave it in the comments again.

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9 thoughts on “Twitter: The Lecture*

  1. Cleanliness is next to Godliness. I’ve been reading When Bad Things Happen to Good People (I have got to think of a way to abbreviate that title!) and that phrase popped in my mind. He describes how God ordered the chaos when he created the world and how you could really make an argument for chaos being the only real evil. How God’s true miracle is his reliability and how you can count on the laws of nature and the universe to work no matter what. That randomness and chaos are still there in the dark areas he did not define, or order, but that he didn’t define those areas on purpose so we could practice our free will and make good choices (or bad ones). Anyway, it made me want to clean house, too.

  2. I forget that the pushing boundaries, the saying “no,” the refusing to poop on the potty, are all ways of expressing need. And are not explicitly designed to drive me bonkers. Thanks for the reminder, RPM.

    • After months of struggling with her about the pooping thing, I had an epiphany that it was about control. My psychologist husband was like, “Duh.” He clearly isn’t home enough.

  3. It is always a breath of fresh air when we do something for our own good, and are able to see the benefit. I applaud you for being willing to sacrifice your connection to all the people you chatted with, in exchange for the most important people of all : Your family.

    I haven’t given up Twitter, but having my baby recently has been such an awakening, as I really don’t have time for anything but caring for her, and the kids, and my husband. There isn’t a lot of free time left over. I do occasionally hop on to check in, but it’s been enlightening for me as well. I am more productive when I am not on it because It’s a time stealer. So we make our choices. It sounds like you have made a good choice. 🙂

  4. I’ve outted myself on previous posts as an atheist, so clearly I don’t give up anything for Lent (other than Catholicism). However, I really like your dad’s comment about using sacrifice to move resources to more worthy areas. Being raised Catholic and going to a Catholic university I’ve watched a lot of people give up a lot of things for Lent but they rarely turned that sacrifice in something beneficial. To the contrary, giving up beer would result in drinking more vodka. Giving up sweets would result in drinking more beer. (I’m sure there were some that didn’t involve alcohol, but I don’t remember them.) Part of my problem with organized religion is that so many people claim to be devout but are just going through the motions without truly thinking about why they are doing what they’re doing. There would be a lot more good in the world if everyone had your dad’s lectures.

    • I think one of the misconceptions about Catholicism — by Catholics themselves — is that it requires no thought and no questioning. The idea that you are just supposed to “follow the rules”. Dan refers to this as “blind faith”. To be good at anything takes thoughtful practice and self examination, and that includes being a Catholic. It’s not about toeing the line, it’s about examining why one chooses (or doesn’t choose) to toe it, and how.

      I got a good laugh over “giving up beer meant drinking more vodka”, etc. Yeah, that would be kind of missing the point!

      Thanks for the comment.

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