Friday, June 15, 2007

On ideas, disagreements and rights

I'm a little shocked right now. It seems I have a much wider audience to my blog than I had originally thought. That audience presumably includes members of an online community that I had removed myself from because of the negativity and unhealthy attitudes I found there.

Those people have now chosen to start bringing their negativity here and that upsets me. I want this to be a safe place for me to share my thoughts, ideas etc. with friends and random passers-by without fear of being attacked.

I'm not afraid of being disagreed with, and anyone who knows me personally should be well aware of that. I've been disagreed with so many times in my life I can't count them. Sometimes it was because of a misunderstanding. Sometimes it was because of personal preferences. Sometimes it was because of different interpretations of facts or different experiences. Sometimes I could swear the other person was just on crack. Sometimes I was the one on crack.

Differing opinions don't bother me. They don't frighten me, intimidate me, make me nervous, make me feel guilty or anything like that. If I have a strong opinion about something that means I've put my time and effort into forming that opinion. I want to be right (seriously, do you really know anyone who wants to be wrong?), and one can't be right without all the facts. So by listening to others opinions and getting as much information as I can I'm able to grow and adapt my opinion as needed. This even means admitting when I'm wrong (*gasp!*). It also means asking questions and listening to the opinions and reasons of others.

So if that's how I feel, then why have a problem when people come to my blog and give unsolicited "opinions" not about what I've said but about me?

I see a blog as sort of a virtual "front yard" - not completely private, but a fairly safe personal place. Most people there will be friends, but you will get the odd uninvited visitor. Message boards on the other hand are more like coffee shops. Much more public, yet still allowing personal and even semi-private interaction.

Having people come to my blog and say mean sarcastic things about me is like having someone I have purposely removed myself from come to my house and start yelling things in front of the neighbours. Not cool.

Yes, they have the right to disagree with me, and I will listen to their points and even interact with them. Yes, they have the right to read what I say and for their own opinions about not only my position but about who I am as a person. They even have the right to express that opinion (and, regardless of how poorly presented I will even take it into consideration, or at least ask Ben about it). However, I think most people would agree that a line is crossed when someone spouts off personal complaints in a public place.

That's what I have an issue with. Disagree with me, fine, share your reasons and we can both learn. Don't like me, again, fine, I can't make you like me and I'll make it through life fine without your approval. Want to make sarcastic and negative remarks in my space in front of my friends? Don't expect me to listen or keep them there.

I don't presume to be able to control anyone in the world. Everyone is perfectly capable of making their own decisions. You don't like what I say, fine. Write me off as some crazy lady who doesn't know what she's talking about. Live your life how ever you want to. Raise your child how ever you want to. I have no doubt you love your child and are doing what you think is "best"...

(Note: just because a person thinks something is "best" doesn't mean it really is. There are people in the world who think it is "best" to place their child's hand against a hot stove so they'll learn not to touch it. Or people who think it's best to leave their child sitting in their own waste for hours so they'll learn not to soil their pants again. Or people who think it's best to raise their child believing that their ethnic group is superior to all others.)

I believe that in order to make the best decisions we need to have the best information. For years people thought smoking was good for their health until the information changed. I think it's important to share new ideas and experiences so we can all learn and be better people. So I will keep sharing my opinion here (and anywhere else I feel is appropriate). No one forces you to read it.

I won't try to defend my choices. I feel no need to defend myself to strangers, and friends either know my reasons or will ask. If you don't like what I say feel free to respond, but if you are attacking me don't expect me to pay much attention.


Alisha said...

I had to comment on this one! I am so sorry that this is happening to you, these people should direct thier questions and or concerns about attachment parenting to John Bowbly or William Sears, not you!

I see nothing wrong or judgmental in your posts at all. I see a mom saying what she thinks, and how she raises her child, WHY does that matter to anyone else.

I wonder if these people who you are referring to have some deep seeded problem that they are just directing at you because you are such a sweet, well educated, knowledgeable, gentle parent/person.

I just keep shaking my head. ((big hugs)).

crystalwaterdancer said...

ITA Alisha! I love this lady! She is an awesome Mom and is doing what is best for her daughter. Attacking someone personally simply because you don't aggree is uncalled for and really quite rude.

Keep up the good work Steph, I will back you up!