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Annie Fox, M.Ed., is an internationally respected parenting expert, award-winning author, and a trusted online adviser for tweens and teens.

Where’d that spider come from?

May 4, 2010

Sometimes spiders just appear

I’m a nice person. Honest. But I easily slip into snark-mode without thinking about it. Like when I’m watching a TV interview with an actor whose been out of the spotlight for a while and instantly I think (and say) “Geez, (s)he looks OLD!” Totally unnecessary and unkind and yet, by no conscious effort, out of my mouth slither spiders and snakes.

I’d never intentionally say or do anything for the purpose of hurting someone. And I tell students all the time not to add to the social “garbage” that passes for conversation at school. So why would I think it’s OK to disparage a movie actor?

I have no clue.

But I do know this, people who are truly self-confident don’t put down others for sport. Not publicly or privately. So I’m outting myself here. Clearly I have some self-esteem issues. But I want to change. Otherwise what good am I as a teacher who helps kids understand that Cruel’s not cool??

Starting today I’m committing myself to become more aware of my thoughts. I’m going to scrutinize the put-downs and insults that instantly come to mind when I see someone whose appearance or attitude or behavior isn’t to my liking. When the judgment call pops up, I’m going to seriously examine why in that moment, I feel the need to inflate my ego by mentally dragging down someone else.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to unplug from my Inner Critic (AKA The Opinion-ator) but I figure the first step is to become more conscious of my unconscious habits.

Wish me luck. I’ll keep you posted.

Filed under: Parenting — Tags: — Annie @ 2:34 pm


  1. I love this! LOL Thank you!

    I think I’m being SO non-judgemental – I get pious with it – “today I shall judge nothing that occurs” (as Deepak would say).

    And next thing I know I’m listening to a friend tell a story about her day and I’m chipping in with “that’s terrible!” “how awful!” “poor you!” “people can be so unkind” judgement, judgement, judgement.

    So, even while I have even attended a John Kehoe course(!) designed to help observe my thoughts and turn negative ones into positive, I stand alongside you Annie in yet again taking the consciousness pledge.

    Thank you for the lovely, gentle reminder. x

    Comment by Flora — May 4, 2010 @ 2:56 pm

  2. Well articulated! I have to admit I’m often privately snarky (talking to the television is one of those times) so that I can get it out of my system. Is that healthy? Well, works for me.

    By the way, I love your Cruel’s Not Cool site as well.

    Comment by Keith Schoch — May 4, 2010 @ 3:12 pm

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    Pingback by Tweets that mention Where’d that spider come from? | Annie Fox's Blog -- — May 4, 2010 @ 3:13 pm

  4. Good thing the TV peeps can’t talk back to me when I’m sitting there hurling insults at them. Oooh, especially the folks on the Sunday political shows! I wouldn’t want to hear a snappy retort from George Will aimed at moi!

    Comment by Annie — May 4, 2010 @ 4:27 pm

  5. Very solid post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. The world needs more kindness, more compassion, more acceptance and more positivity. And, it starts with us to make that happen and be the change. 🙂 Be well!

    Comment by Live Life Solid — May 4, 2010 @ 6:47 pm

  6. awesome post, annie. I am a big believer in Mindfulness and your post reminded me of that.

    Comment by Roxanne — May 5, 2010 @ 12:22 pm

  7. Hey Annie,

    I wish you both luck and persistence. It’s a balancing act, judgment. Sometimes, it’s useful to judge, sometimes it’s not. Awareness is the first step – check. Wanting to change is the second – check. The rest is practice.

    All the best,

    Comment by Family Matters — May 6, 2010 @ 9:04 pm

  8. I love \Cruel’s Not Cool,\–can I borrow it?

    I too, make my living (well, primarily w/teens/teens) working w/ the young ones, and appreciate how difficult it is to navigate these oft-trecherous waters.

    Thank you for being self-aware, and a wonderful role-model. Your authenticity is appreciated.

    Best regards,


    Comment by Linda Esposito — May 17, 2010 @ 9:53 pm

  9. Love your brave and honest post! I think everyone falls into this trap. When other adults/parents/teachers admit that it is hard for them too, then the kids might be more receptive to our words. I’m going to join you in trying to pay attention to this and see what comes up.
    Thanks Annie!

    Comment by Marjie Knudsen — August 5, 2010 @ 3:58 pm

  10. I catch myself with some pretty snarky thoughts as well! I will join you in your “starting today” plan!

    Comment by Mommy D — October 4, 2010 @ 5:21 pm

  11. Although I totally agree with the intent and mindset that you wish to work towards I would qualify your statements with a couple of other ones; actors are people who place themselves in the public eye and get very well paid for it. So, although self examination and self- improvement are good things, it’s not necessarily a terrible thing to vent a bit of irritation in the privacy of your own home. (people do actually need an outlet for negative fellings) Also certain negative reactions are normal and good if considered objectively. This is how people develop discernment and judgement. Some stuff IS bad. It’s just not okay to take it out on someone in the flesh verbally ot otherwise.

    Comment by Debra — October 18, 2010 @ 2:41 pm

  12. Great post. I know my level of snarkiness dropped considerably when I had kids but I let out more negative remarks than I should. I am very good about avoiding comments about personal appearance, but negativity still seeps out in other ways (comments about bad drivers, about people taking too long at a store, politicians I don’t like). I will also start today in being more mindful of what I say, especially around my kids. Thanks!

    Comment by Crystal Smith — October 18, 2010 @ 5:18 pm

  13. Your “Starting today” comments are truly inspiring. I would like to see these words posted in schools everywhere!

    Comment by Alan — October 23, 2010 @ 8:40 am

  14. This is a great post! You are right on……

    Comment by Sara Broers — January 6, 2011 @ 1:13 pm

  15. It’s nice to know I’m not alone. I’m basically a compassionate and kind person, too, but sometimes when I open my mouth a smart remark pops out, and it stings someone I least want to hurt.

    One of my goals is to pause and consider my words before speaking, and that’s O SO VERY HARD for some of us to do.

    Comment by Patti Mallett — January 7, 2012 @ 3:45 pm

  16. This was like playing back a tape of myself! Thanks for the reminder that I still am a work in progress!

    Comment by Jeanette Hill — March 27, 2012 @ 9:00 am

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