To Be Offended is a Choice

My wife, Amanda, was called in to work a half-day and so I was Mr. Dad this morning. As my friends and I joke, it was my turn to “babysit” my own kid. We’re starting him early, but Andrew (2) loves the library.

So as I take him in through the doors all of the librarians smile and greet him by name. He walks around like he owns the place. I felt like I was watching Norm from Cheers. Nobody knows me, but he’s a rock star there.

As we were checking out the books, the sweet grandmotherly librarian called my son by name and proceeded to praise his wonderful book choices. We smile. It was such a precious moment. Then she sweetly turned back to him and said, “did we bring grandpa with us today?”

I did a double take to see if anyone was behind me. Me? Did she mean me?

I immediately thought, man – how bad do I look? I mean, I know I’ve let myself go these past few years, but seriously?

I said, “oh no, I’m Andrew’s dad.”

She just nodded and smiled.

For a split second I thought, what in the world just happened?

I went from basking in this idyllic scene to regretting every life choice up to that moment.

Then I started to laugh. I thought, you know I’m 38 years old, so I’m not a young dad. There are a lot of grandparents here at this time with their grandkids, because most adults my age are at their jobs. Honest mistake, and a humorous story to tell my wife when she gets home.

In our culture today, I think we’re too easily offended.

Enough with the fake outrage. No one is truly upset about a stupid red cup. For those that get into actual fights at sporting events, is it really worth hurting another human being over a team that doesn’t know of your existence? If someone is driving too slowly in front of you, should it be your one aim in life to teach them a lesson on driving etiquette?

There are more people complaining about other people being mad at the red cup than there are people actually mad about the red cup.

*To prove a point, I predict by the time someone reads this blog post in a few months, no one will even know the red cup reference.*

I think things have become so backwards that it’s a badge of honor to be offended by something or someone and you must share that offense with the world (through a pithy tweet or Fb post).

Taking offense to something is what we do to ourselves. It harms no one but us. Click To Tweet

It’s not forced upon us. We choose to wear it like a noose. We can also choose to let it go.

Does this mean we can’t have meaningful dialogue about serious issues? Or that protests and marches are all pointless? Of course not. But I believe much more useful discourse and debate would happen if people chose to be less offended.

“To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else.” ~ D.A. Bednar

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