One of the things I love about Facebook, is the reminders it gives you every day about things you posted on that date years before. Today I got a reminder about this post that I wrote last year as I was sorting through a few things in my mind about blogging, mercy, and the election year that lay ahead.
As I read through it I thought, wow, things haven't really changed that much in a year. In fact, in many ways, things have worsened.
I had an example of that today as I was heading home with a van full of my kids and my granddaughter after visiting Santa Claus. As I was getting into my car I heard someone very close by sobbing. I mean S O B B I N G. The kind of crying where the person gets that catch in the back of their throat and you just know that they wouldn't be able to stop themselves no matter what.
So I started looking around because that kind of torment just kicks up all kinds of maternal intincts to find and comfort. I didn't have to look far. The car beside me held two young ladies in the front and the one closest to me was crying so hard that her face was wet and her nose was running heavily. I just barely turned in her direction and made eye contact when she said, "What the F*** are you looking at. Mind your own f****** business."
She didn't have to tell me twice. She continued to whale, and I got into my van and drove off as quickly as I could - which is never very quick since I have to do a lot of manipulating to ever get that big van out of a parking space - which never makes for a nice clean getaway.
I thought about it on the way home- I can't imagine, when I was a little girl, that anyone ever would have spoken to my mother or grandmother like that. If there is anything we have given equality to it's that all ages, creeds, races and sexes are fair game for disrespect and vulgarities. And context doesn't mean much either. - I mean afterall, we were all there at this small business to see Santa just two weeks before Christmas!
So even though the Year of Mercy is over , when I re-read this post from last winter, it just seemed to make sense to redouble my efforts at trying to be regain some peace, quiet and respect for one another in this culture.
Courtesy of Jhayne via Flickr licensed cc
A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog post about homeschooling high school - more specifically about what parents should consider before they put their home-schooled high school students into regular high school. I wrote it to blow of a little steam and to organize my own thoughts. Unfortunately, that post was picked up by a couple of mothers of very small children with special needs issues who needed the services of the local public school system. These ladies were not even close to my intended audience, but my post hurt their feelings and gave them a lot of anger towards me.
And I gotta admit, it hurt to be told my post was full of lies, half-truths and scare tactics or that I was misguided. As the barrage of name calling and hurtful comments flew in my direction, I remember thinking to myself, "What did I do?"
Was I a mastermind behind an evil plot to mislead everyone into homeschooling their children? Of course not. But that incident made me pull in my posting a little closer, and reveal not as much, and not be as real on this blog as I would have liked to be.
Of course, I had already pulled in quite a bit because of some of the comments I had gotten for other things over the years. See my sidebar under "Cheers and Jeers" for some examples of that.
So this week, when Haley over at Carrots for Michaelmas, wrote this post, it really spoke to me. Haley writes:
I understand that sometimes reading something we disagree with can provoke a visceral response. This week I read a posting by a mom who was thankful for her five cesareans and that her babies were all delivered safely. My first thought was, to type out a comment about VBACs and the benefits of natural childbirth - but she wasn't writing about that. In fact, she admitted that she hadn't done all of the homework she should have before her first baby was born (neither did I). She was trying to making a comparison between a total trust and submission to the Cesarean experience and living a life being totally submissive to God... and I get that. So no amount of education or discussion on my part was going to be helpful in getting the point across that she was trying to make. She wasn't trying to take me or my experiences down just because I fought so hard for my VBAC births. So what would be the point of trying to take her down a peg or two, other than to inflate my own ego.
Now of course, sometimes someone will post something immoral or add their own twist to the gospel, and that certainly needs to be dealt with. I still believe that whatever is written in the blogosphere or social media is fair game for comment and disagreement.
But most of the time, the blogger is just sharing his or her own experience and world view the best they can. So in this Year of Mercy, I propose that as readers we:
- remember the person behind the keyboard, who has feelings and thoughts that are just as vulnerable as our own (and frankly I think writers are even more sensitive than the general population).
- try to focus on being hard on ideas, but soft on people.
- realize that each blogger is in different place in life and experience, and we need to give slack accordingly. I read the article that Haley referred to and noted that it was written by a single woman. If she gets married and is blessed with some little ones, I imagine her perspective will change accordingly.
- and maybe most importantly, remember that bloggers write about their lives, their feelings, their experiences and their knowledge. While many write to help others in sharing themselves, I don't think that many people sit down to see how many people they can p#@@ off in one blog post.