No need to censor happy thoughts

This excerpt from Holly Walker’s memoir is a very sad reflection on the madness of modern life:

One Friday morning, about three months after my return to work, I held a drop-in clinic for constituents in Petone. Parliament was not sitting. When the clinic was over, I met Dave and Esther, fed her, and took her for a walk around our local park while she slept. It was a beautiful day, and I felt a rare sense of ease and wellbeing, so I took a picture and tweeted it, saying something like “What a perfect Petone day.”

A few days later, one of the Green Party’s press secretaries rang me up. A press gallery journalist, herself a working mother with young children, had seen my tweet and thoughtfully passed on that, to parents with children in daycare who would like nothing more than to be out walking with them on a sunny Friday afternoon, an MP posting a tweet like this was not a good look. The press secretary gently suggested that I might like to be sensitive to this. I took the feedback meekly, thanking her and agreeing to be more judicious in future. I could see how a mother with her own kids in daycare could look askance at that. . . 

When did it become wrong to share a little moment of joy?

There are times when your own troubles make it difficult to appreciate another’s simple pleasures.

There are times when it would be insensitive to share your happy times with someone directly.

But those are times when you’re speaking or writing to someone personally.

Tweets go to the world, with a maximum of 140 characters which provide only a snapshot. They aren’t personal communications and should not be taken personally.

Parenthood is tough. Throwing work – paid or voluntary – into the mix makes it tougher. But if someone is so ground down they can’t  let someone they don’t know delight in the good times with their baby, it is they, not the sharer who has the problem.

If anyone, public figure or not, has to censor their happy thoughts, then the world really has gone mad.


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