This post is a bit of a wrap up of the week and more social commentary on values, bullying and the right to freedom of expression.
I'll rewind back to Monday - after teaching RPM (which I knew was going to be hairy after my weekend workload), I had my second cortisone AC injection and then went to have lunch with some ladies from the gym who are Step and RPM regulars. Our morning group ranges from the very young to participants who have retired and I was delighted to receive the invitation. These ladies (who are all somewhere between late 50s and 60s) are a true inspiration to me. We shared stories around the table about our upbringing and education. One of my RPMers who is in her 60s and a retired Social Worker broke through the barrier that existed at the time that dictated men were those who received an education at university. She had to fight tooth and nail and ended up doing two degrees and her Masters and worked for most of her life, even with children - no childcare back then! Others were fluent in more than one language and well travelled. They all spoke about how their upbringing had shaped them - I could relate to Mrs S (Social Worker) - my mother fought tooth and nail to be able to study her Senior Certificate. Then she did her degree and part of her Masters by correspondence as she raised us all. In my family, the concept of a good education has been extremely important. From a young age, critical thinking and healthy debate has been encouraged and still goes on to this day. Both of my parents relish debates, Scrabble and anything study related. Back in the day, my mother and I would wait outside Newspaper House at an obscene hour waiting for our exam results to be published in the newspaper and wanting to get first dibs on our scores.
It's little wonder then that I love nothing better than a good debate - not a personal slanging match but a few good old fashioned rounds of "pro" and "con", "for" and "against". My mother used to rue the fact that she loved a debate because she didn't feel like it made her very popular - that she'd try and hold it in when she saw things that she considered to be "bull" and then she'd have to let it all out - her values eventually overrode the need to be liked.
I must admit to feeling the same way - if things rub up against my values, I have this inexplicable want to share my perspective! Of course, I'm not always right - being proven incorrect is a learning opportunity but I wish that more people focused on the subject of debate rather than getting personal.
Which leads me to my not-so-anonymous bully poster who, despite repeated attempts, isn't going to get too far with this little black duck - think the time has come to give it up and get on with your own stuff.
James Cook University has an excellent definition of bullying:
Definition of Bullying
Bullying constitutes unsolicited, offensive treatment through:
attempts to undermine an individual or group. These persistently negative attacks on personal and professional performance are typically unpredictable, irrational and often unseen. Bullying normally consists of repeated behaviour.
Bullying is NOT - constructive analysis or critical evaluation of a product, person or group.
Bullying is NOT to be confused with freedom of expression - that is the right of the individual to be able to express an opinion or view about anything.
We all have the right to freedom of expression - this is the cornerstone on which democracy is built. We have the right to read what we want to read and say what we need to say as long as we are not impinging on anyone's basic human rights.
I think it is extremely important to delineate between constructive criticism, critical evaluation and bullying behaviour. I think it's also very important to understand that we make the choice to read a blog. It's also important to realize that not everyone is the same as you or me and that not everyone will agree with what you or I write - which is more than fair.
My true passions lie in making reliable fitness and health information accessible for anyone that wants to make positive changes in their life, whether that is doing a Figure Comp, going for a swim, doing RPM or taking a walk with your baby in the pram. I am lucky that I have the background to do just that. I have also shared some of my personal journey in the hope that what I write just might help someone else. I will "fling poo" at concepts I believe are scams in the hope of helping someone make an informed decision. I now need to find a special "poo flinger" bumper sticker.
AT the end of the day, getting healthier and fitter should be fun (and not too expensive). Don't get me wrong, I'd love a 10K bike, but me and mine are doin' fine, just like peas and carrots. Have fun, life is short!