April 21, 2014 at 8:35 pm , by Nick Shell
3 years, 5 months.
In several of my letters to you, I’ve made mention to you that simply by being a parent, I have become a more mature person.
It’s true. I’m now embarrassed by some of the things I’ve written to you over the years- and I wish I could say I’ll never say something stupid again.
But if I said that, I would be conceited, which would contradict the part about maturing as a parent.
One of the most relevant lessons I’ve been teaching myself is “how not to say things that will end up making me sound judgmental of other parents or to be offensive to them.”
And I tell you- that’s a very tricky lesson to learn.
Ultimately, it’s dang near impossible not to step on someone’s toes.
I’ve discovered that even by talking about the possibility of you being an only child can offend other parents who are unable to have another child.
If I talk about our family’s plant-based lifestyle, it can be perceived that I am trying to convert other people to “unhealthy eating habits which keeps your family from getting the nutrients they need.”
If I speak neutrally about having guns in the house, or bronies, or why I believe spanking is not more effective than time-out, I’m going to either offend, upset, or at least get someone emotionally worked up.
You know what, though? I’m okay with that.
I do try to be as respectful as I can in my interactions with people in real life and social media; the latter of which is much more difficult.
In fact, trying to regularly participate in social media while talking about parenting topics especially can be harder than attempting to get through a Chips Ahoy cookie without eating a chocolate chip.
Therefore, there is now a very relevant Internet meme which features Michael Jackson eating popcorn, stating: “I Just Came Here To Read The Comments.”
It tends to show up in the comments section of controversial blog posts.
Actually, I just saw it featured this weekend on Facebook in the comments section of a Parents.com article, written by a parent who admits her family only goes to church on Easter.
Navigating the comments on social media has become almost ridiculous by now. I noticed last week at the bottom of a parenting article on MSN, they now have to offer up a list of “reportable” tags for comments:
There’s now a category for spam, exploitation, profanity/vulgarity/obscenity, copyright infringement, harassment or threat, and even threats of suicide.
With that being said, I try not to offend those in the world of parenting… but these days, it’s not always easy to know who the actual Internet trolls really are.
I just have to tiptoe and tap-dance while being ready to duck and dodge potential tomatoes being hurled my way.