11 January 2012

Can't We All Just Get Along?

I'm blessed to have found so many wonderful, thoughtful, reflective writers out there who are sharing peaceful, honest advice in a helpful way . . . and I truly believe they should keep on doing it. Writers like this inspire me.

Choose kindness
However, that's not always the case. Folks can easily hide behind keyboards and iPhones. They forget about the real, live person on the other end, and sometimes it can get downright mean.

You may have seen this post this post floating virally around. I think the writer is spot on. And I want to throw my own two cents at the topic. (Full disclosure: I actually had this post drafted before I read her article. Then I had that Crap Someone Else Wrote Exactly What I Was Thinking Before I Did experience that all bloggers have at least once a week. But I decided to polish and publish anyway.)

Indulge me in my soapbox, please?

I think sharing information is fabulous. I post links on my own Facebook page, and follow others links on pages I "like" all. the. time. They make me think about my own choices and provide new perspectives. My theory is, read it, and if you don’t like it, don’t use it. 

The problem I have is when folks move from offering genuine information and concern to reading/talking/writing over each other. I have watched threads turn so ugly on usually very respectful, peaceful blogs or message boards because people stop listening and just want to get their own view across. Or some poor Momma is desperately seeking advice, and they mock her choices or judge something that has already happened that she can’t change. 

(An extreme case: A blog dedicated to gentle parenting posted an article about the circumcision-related death of a newborn. Readers were actually posting “I told you so” comments . . . snarky, see that’s what you get kind of complete @#$%. No kidding. Usually it’s not that bad, but still annoying. And unnecessary.)

A few things to consider:

Just because you did it doesn't mean it can be done by someone else. (Just try this!)
Classic example: Potty learning
That's great if your child learned independent toilet skills at 14 months. Not believable, but great. The Mom desperate for tips with training her three-year-old before preschool is not going to benefit from your story. Nor can she go back in time and use your glowing insight.

Consider other viewpoints
If it worked for you, that doesn't mean it will work for me. (You're not doing it right.)
Classic example: Sleep
Sleep does not beget sleep for all children. Bedtime routines are not a panacea. Breastfeeding, rocking, and co-sleeping are not bad habits in need of breaking. Cribs were not constructed by Satan himself.

Two reasonable, intelligent people can research the same topic and come to two very different conclusions. (Sometimes the only answer is to agree to disagree.)
Classic example: Vaccines
Guess what? No one in the opposite camp is swayed by any "research" in this area. Trust me.

Your pet obsession agenda is not the pat answer for every problem. (Knock it off. Seriously.)
Classic example: Random question on a natural parenting site
I know people mean well, I do. But . . . I honestly do not believe the solution to any given parenting dilemma is stop vaccinating, give up dairy, and see a chiropractor. Really?

Use your words . . . nicely. (Remember that Golden Rule stuff?)
Classic example: Breastfeeding
Wanna start a Mommy War? Bring up breastfeeding versus formula feeding in a group of new mothers. Bonus for working in the terms nazi, poison, selfish, tied down, give up, IQ, or bonding.

How about we all make a pact that for 2012 we will rise above this insanity?

Because you know what? That person you are slamming behind the safety net of online anonymity loves her kids as much as you do.

Spread some joy
The aforementioned post pretty much sums it up:
"Do you beat your kids senseless? Do you starve them? Do you withhold all love and affection? Do you tell them they aren't worthy? If you answered yes to any of [these] questions, then I think we have an issue. If not, then my guess is you are doing your very best at the hardest, hardest job."
Can we make a conscious effort to be empathetic instead of critical? Can we please stop steamrolling each other? Can we remember to simply be nice


  1. Thank you for this post. You said it so well. I have spent the last few months recovering from all of the legalism in mommying and rediscovering grace. You rock, my friend. You rock!

  2. Thank you, Mary. Looking forward to checking out more of your blog.