By Ray Lucas
I have a co-worker who recently commented on a series of Facebook photos I have posted during the past year. “My wife and I were just talking about how your family takes all of these family trips to cool places.” He went on, “You guys are always doing something fun – I look forward to seeing what type of adventures you are in to.”
It is true that as a family, we have made a conscious decision to focus more of our time and money on life experiences. As a result, we frequently spend weekends camping, vacationing in places we have always wanted to visit and exploring unique local destinations. It is also true that I have always used Facebook as more of a shared photo album for family and friends than to share funny memes or political ideologies. Grandparents, family and friends from different states as well as close to home often comment about how they enjoy keeping up with us through our Facebook posts.
However, his comments started me to thinking that perhaps posting photos of smiling children, happy family times and fun weekend getaways is painting an unrealistic picture of what the Lucas family is really like. Let’s face it, very few people on social media are prone to post the nitty gritty moments of life. We want to share the moments when our children are smiling and laughing, not the ones where they are arguing about having to take a photo in the first place. It’s human nature to share the best of times.
I’ve begun to wonder what Facebook would look like if in addition to the good times, families like mine started posting very candid and real photos of the mundane or downright hard moments of life. Instead of editing our photos for the best smile, maybe we should occasionally slip one in of the kids whining that they don’t want their photo taken in front of Cinderella’s Castle at Disney. In the interest of presenting a more fair and balanced portrait of my life on Facebook, my New Year’s resolution for 2017 is to post more moments like these:
I resolve to post a photo of me weed eating in a T-shirt full of holes and my wife cleaning the bathroom toilet on a beautiful Saturday morning in addition to the one of us paddling our kayaks on a placid Deam’s Lake later that day.
I resolve to post a photo of our five- and nine-year-olds whining in stere about “How much longer do we have to walk?” captured just ten minutes after they cheesed with my wife and I for the trail selfie we took in Brown County State Park.
I resolve to post a photo of my teenage son and daughter rolling their eyes about having to wear matching sweaters for our annual family photos right before I upload our family posing in a beautiful shot taken at the Falls of the Ohio.
I resolve to show the image of me getting frustrated with my wife who is trying unsuccessfully to help me back the camper into a tight camping spot between two trees, as well as the one of us sitting around the fire roasting s’mores with the kids later that weekend.
I resolve to post a photo of the McDonald’s double cheeseburger I ate in the car on the way to a school open house a few days after I post an image of the two beautiful rib eye steaks and fresh corn on the cob I am grilling on the front porch.
I resolve to post a photo of me returning work emails on my iPhone while my preschool son comes to the sidelines to ask how much longer soccer practice will be on a blazing hot afternoon a week before I proudly upload the video of him scoring the cutest soccer goal in the history of the YMCA league.
I resolve to post a live feed of me threatening my teenage son that if his grades drop due to all of the time he is spending in the Actor’s Theatre production of Macbeth, he will not be trying out for the spring musical at Providence. I’ll upload this hours before the live feed of his feature solo singing “It Takes Two” in the musical Hairspray on the New Albany Riverfront stage.
I resolve to post of photo of me in the bedroom watching Sunday night football while my wife is in the living room watching the series Outlander a few days after the romantic photo of us dressed up and having dinner with friends outdoors at Brooklyn and the Butcher.
I resolve to ask someone from church to click a shot of me bribing my children with Hot Wheels and candy if they smile for our family photo after Christmas mass with all of them wearing their Christmas best outfits. I’ll post this moment before the one I post of our smiling Christmas electronic postcard.
And finally, I resolve to post the evidence of mom and dad sleeping/recovering on the couch on New Year’s Day while the kids serve themselves cookies and Cheetos for lunch as well as the photo from the night before of me kissing my beautiful wife at midnight at a New Year’s Eve party with extended family.
The next time you idealize my or another family’s life based on the posts you see on your scrolling social media feed, remember that the grass is always greener on Facebook. And if it isn’t, I probably used Photoshop to make it look like my kids were sitting in a field of the greenest grass in all of Ireland. Can I get a like?