We have all done it.
We’ve used the care emoji on Facebook, in texts, and in emails. Oh, how easy it is to simply click “care” and then go on about our day. It takes a couple of seconds to glance at the post, another second to click, and there…you are instantly a good and loving person.
The click gesture is of very low effort to you but is certainly of high reward. You feel as if you’ve done your part to help since you “care.” After all, it is all about you and how you feel now isn’t it?
I don’t mean to be harsh, but when I think about how so many of us show we “care,” it sure rings hollow. We seem to put more effort into the gleaming selfies of our bright smiles, or when on vacation, out at a fancy restaurant, or entertaining in our magnificently decorated home. If you don’t believe me, spend some time observing friends on Facebook or Instagram over the holidays and see what they post.
I am here to call bullsh*t on all of this. Real caring is more than just a click. More than just an emoji. It takes a bit more time and effort than any emoji or empty words. It happens every holiday. To say we care about friends who are alone but don’t go any farther than to utter sweet words since it might be inconvenient to reach out and invite them over. Or, more accurately, we probably don’t really care that much. I mean, of course we care, since we are lovely people, but just not enough to do anything. But we did click the emoji.
The same goes with the homeless or animals facing euthanasia in shelters. Oh boy do “we care,” but never bother to donate our time or money. Rather we spend our energy searching out lavish gifts for friends and family and then posting about it online. The message is “look at me, I am caring, loving, and just so elegant. And I clicked a dozen care emojis and another dozen hearts, and so I did my part.”
These same people may run to church in their finest clothes and celebrate the bounty and blessings of Christmas. They will strut in their finest velvet jackets and skirts, gather under their 12-foot tree, and unwrap presents until afternoon—and perhaps they will click a few care emojis.
The holidays are a tough time for so many people.
These people do their best to just get through it—through Thanksgiving and the month that follows. They are alone, or they are poor, or they are sick. Or, a loved one has passed; maybe they have lost their job or have a terminal illness. Life has kicked them hard in the face and circumstance has knocked their breath away. And so what do most of us do to help? We click the care emoji or heart if they happen to be brave enough to post their difficult situations online.
I am writing this as a plea. Please, if someone is having a hard time, is alone, or has lost a loved one, reach out to them. Do more than click the care emoji. Take more than five seconds of your day and make it count. Really count for something by inviting them over, asking how they are, giving them some context beyond their sadness.
If you don’t know anyone like that, then donate to an animal shelter, foster a dog or cat, and do something to change the life of that homeless animal, or a homeless person, by dropping off new blankets at a shelter, bringing a cooked meal, or serving food at the shelter’s holiday dinner. There are so many things you can do and yet, so many will just click the care emoji. Be more, and do more if you can. Every real action counts.