So you have heard them say: “Facebook is taking over the planet”, “Facebook is everything”; but a Mother’s Day weekend at Gospel Ambassadors church proves otherwise.
Gospel Ambassadors is a small church in Fingo village, Grahamstown, in the province of the Eastern Cape in South Africa. They went beyond social media for Mother’s Day and showed appreciation to the mothers in person.
It started with the youth on Saturday. They collected money and bought the First Lady, as the pastor’s wife is known by her youth, groceries and spent the whole day at her house cleaning and cooking for her family.
If the youth had decided to just post a “Happy Mother’s Day” message on Facebook, first of all, the First Lady would not have received it. Her existence on Facebook is rare, that is if she is existent at all. The First Lady said in her Thank You speech to the youth:
“The fact that they came to my house instead of just sending a message means that I am special to them. I don’t know what to say about the appreciation they show me. It shows that they care for me”.
Were the youth going to cook or clean her house on Facebook? You know the answer. This event and the continuing Mother’s Day celebration on Sunday at Gospel Ambassadors confirm what a Meme from the Facebook Page “English Jokes” once said:
“I won’t be impressed with technology until I can download food.”
The Sunday celebration saw women in the audience enjoying the show that was put by the youth, children and men. The worship team, which is mostly women, was replaced by all men, looking their best in black, grey and white suits.
After the official ceremony, there was a music show which included messages and songs from the children, men, and the youth. This happened while the whole church got served a Sunday meal of spicy chicken and rice, topped with chakalaka, potato salad and beetroot. While the show went on, there were drinks served to the mothers with carrot and chocolate cake.
All of the above would not be possible on social media. Face-to-face interaction and the possibilities that come with being at a place with other people, tops social media any day.
Gospel Ambassadors was just the tip of an iceberg. USA Today reported that a new survey of 1,000 Protestant pastors finds Mother's Day ranks third in holidays that draw crowds to church, behind Christmas and Easter. While the full reason is not known as to why, it might be because it is a well-practiced tradition to go to church on Mother’s day or as Pastor David Gould, 42, of Nashville's First Wesleyan Church, Tennessee puts it:
"Most people say their spiritual life and foundation comes from their mother,"
Christian mothers advised against the dangers of social media
No institution is completely immune to social media impacts, neither is the church.
A Mother’s Day poem from one of the prominent poets in the church emphasised the importance of real interaction between parents and children away from social media.
“Get off Facebook and Mxit and talk to your children face-to-face,” she advised mothers. “When your children are not close to you personally, they try to find healing from Facebook and Mxit because they think you do not care about them.”
Social media and its impacts on relationships between mothers and their children was the core of the poem’s topic and the message that came afterwards.
Another hot topic on the day was the rape scare that swept Grahamstown after claims that two children were raped at a Grahamstown schools. It was emphasised that mothers had to be close to their children in face-to-face interaction in such difficult times or else those children will try to air their sorrow on social media in search for healing.
It is not guaranteed they will find this healing. Libby Copeland, a staff writer for the Washington Post, warns that one of the biggest problems that come with Facebook is that it portrays people’s lives as perfect. This can cause some people to compare their lives with what they see and think that everyone else is happier than them.
“By showcasing the most witty, joyful, bullet-pointed versions of people’s lives, and inviting constant comparisons in which we tend to see ourselves as the losers, Facebook appears to exploit an Achilles’ heel of human nature,” Copeland writes. “And women- an especially unhappy bunch of late- may be especially vulnerable to keeping up with what they imagine is the happiness of the Joneses.”
And my mother’s day social media message?
“Always remind your children that you are their number one follower, friend and liker online and in real life. One who is always there for them and one who cares. Those friends and followers they have will never take the place you have as a mother. You know beyond the statuses, uploads and the posts. No one can take mommy’s place. HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!”
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