Decisions, Decisions

Sunday, August 22, 2010 8 Comments A+ a-

How does one write a blog post about something you feel strongly and/or passionate about without alienating others who feel differently than you? And how do you take a stance on either side of an issue without creating a polarizing effect with those on the other side? If you've figured it out, I'd love to hear how you did it because I have yet to discover the answer.

There are so many issues on the table for parents to decide on, and there's so much to go into those decisions. There's the research, weighing the pros and cons, seeking advice from those you respect, and most importantly, laying it at the Father's feet and wait for some clear direction.

Then once a decision has been made, there's the added pressure from peers, friends, and families. There's always someone willing to give their two cents on the decision you made and feel is best for your children and family. Even strangers will chime in with well-intentioned advice, never mind if you weren't asking for it. Which can lead to one of two reactions, putting you on the defensive or making you second-guess yourself. Good times.

We've made plenty of decisions since becoming parents, from the kind of birth we wanted to feeding and diapering our children to the discipline we mete out to the homeschool vs. private school vs. public school discussion. Some decisions we'd make again in a heartbeat, others we'd revisit, and still others would not be made again. Regardless, at the time those decisions were made, we felt strongly that we'd done the appropriate research, we felt good about the decisions we were making, and believed it was the best decision for our family.

There are a number of things I'd love to discuss on my own blog about our decisions. I'd love to discuss our reasons behind choosing to public school our children, or why I so enjoy cosleeping with our new babies, or even my thoughts on being a newly-stay-at-home mom. But I fear to do so would create a polarization effect that in turn could either put someone on the defensive or make them feel like they were somehow wrong in their parenting decisions.

I haven't quite figured out the equation that allows me to share my reasonings and opinions behind some of our decisions. If I ever do figure out the perfect, choice selection of words, I'll be happy to share. But I guess until that time comes, I'll have to be content with one-on-one conversations and discussions. After all, differing opinions can only further enrich our knowledge and in turn, our own decisions in the future.
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I’m a coffee drinking, book reading, laundry procrastinating, husband and children loving, mess of a woman who believes that chips and salsa can fix anything. We have chickens running around the backyard, a mountain of dishes in the sink, and on any given morning, I have at least 10 school forms that need my signature or initials. It’s a crazy life {I prefer to call it controlled chaos}, but its ours.

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Tabaitha Kaye
AUTHOR
9:44 AM delete

One thing I have learned over the years is that there will always be someone that doesn't agree with you. You have to trust that your decisions are best for you and your family. Especially if you feel God leading in a certain direction. People get sensitive due to insecurities and feel like if you take a stance against them that it's personally attacking their decision. Mabye just preface that your values are based on your beliefs and values as a family.

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Kimberly
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9:56 AM delete

I never get offended if people present their decisions saying this is what we did with our family and this is why we did it. I think if you acknowledge that every decision you've made isn't right for everyone, no one has a right to get upset. I think people tend to get upset when they are made to feel like the bloggers way/opinion is the only way and you are a horrible parent for choosing anything else for your child. Do you know what I mean?

I would be really interested to hear your thoughts, so I hope you decide to share! :)

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Sarah
AUTHOR
11:37 AM delete

I feel you sister, you know that. I'm perplexed by this one myself all the time. But sometimes I wonder if our hesitance to share the why behind our decisions has more to do with wanting to be liked and not wanting to be challenged or forced to think differently about something we think we've already decided than about sparing others feelings. If something we believe or have decided makes someone feel uncomfortable, I would hope that points them to seek the Lord all the more about their own beliefs and decisions. While on one hand we don't want to create unnecessary division in the body based on petty differences that have little if nothing to do with our right standing before God (i.e. sleeping arrangements), we also don't want to avoid topics that are so near and dear to our hearts, because to be known fully is perhaps to be better understood. And to be vulnerable and teachable in front of others is perhaps one of the greatest signs of spiritual maturity. I don't know, no easy answers, but I certainly try to pray before each post that has the potential to make waves, always asking God to show me the purity of my own motives in posting. Am I feeling defensive or truly inspired by God to share what He's doing in my heart and life for the blessing and growth of myself and others?

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Jules
AUTHOR
3:01 PM delete

I don't co-sleep, I use babywise and I DO homeschool. Kind of blows a lot of people's assumptions about homeschoolers right out of the water. lol Usually and sadly enough, the only people I feel defensive towards, and at times my writing shows it, is family who feel the need to make known just how "terrible" they feel mine and my husband's decisions are. I really have no problem with those who choose to co-sleep or attachment parent or not homeschool. I have strong opinions and feelings about homeschooling, yes, but I try not to force them on everyone I meet and usually it's not even an issue (unless with certain family). Anyway, I believe that all you can do is make your decisions for your family, prayerfully and carefully and in the end, not worry about what everyone thinks and just live your life for God. That's it! Thanks so much for posting this. I so often post about homemaking and homeschooling and faith and marriage on my blog because that's what makes up my life. I do, however, pray that I don't make my blog a platform for bashing anyone who doesn't agree with me. I have read many blogs that do this and it grieves me.

You seem to be a great mother and very in tune with your children. Your writing is very encouraging and uplifting. I so enjoy reading here. :)

Blessings,
~Julie

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Christine
AUTHOR
9:50 PM delete

Great post Jenn. I so wish that more people would trust that most parents not only love their children unconditionally, but that they are also making decisions that they think are in the best interest for their children. We should be so much more gracious with eachother. After all, this parenting business is HARD work, and we can use all of the encouragement we can get.

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Ali Thompson
AUTHOR
10:34 PM delete

Granted, the opinions I blog about are less personal (not parenting decisions), but I've only had one opinion blog where the comments have gotten ugly. Mostly people post their agreement, occasionally post a polite disagreement (but usually keep their disagreement to themselves).

I blog about my opinions even though it may offend people because I value authenticity. So when I see that authenticity in other people, even if I don't agree with the opinion, I appreciate that trait. And it helps me know a little bit of where the person is coming from...even if I don't agree. At least I know more about that person.

Ultimately, even though I have strong opinions on a lot of things, I know that I don't have all the answers, that not all of my opinions are right. And even though you may not be able to change my stubborn mind, I'm not going to think less of someone for having a different opinion than I do.

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Amanda
AUTHOR
12:02 PM delete

I think you should post what you want! It's your blog but you have to be prepared for others to express their feelings. We Homeschool. I've never built a case for Homeschool on my blog but would share "why" if anyone ever asked. If someone were to post a blog post saying "We do not Homeschool because Homeschooled kids lack social skills", well I would then feel lead to comment because that statement is not a FACT, it is an opinion. That is a common stereo typical comment made a lot about Homeschoolers and it is almost always made by someone who has never homeschooled. It would be like me saying something about "public School" and not expecting my friends who have children in public to correct me.

So I think if you are comfortable sharing WHY you do the things you do, you also have to be comfortable with others not agreeing and not let it offend you. I think I have lost a lot of readers because I primarily talk about my passion for Homeschool, marriage and babies. If I were a single girl or someone who just got married, I would not be interested in reading a blog like mine. Because of my choices and interests in life, I usually hang out with those who are like minded and enjoy the things I enjoy.

Anyone who would be ugly or become offended would probably not be someone who has read your blog a long time. So I say share what you want! Just be prepared for people to not agree and that's okay because we all learn from one another.

Oh and whatever it is you want to blog about, if you are not tearing down someone else style of parenting or choices to build yours up then there is really no reason for someone to be offended.

I think anyone who has read your blog, knows your heart!

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Stacey
AUTHOR
10:22 PM delete

Um, what Amanda said. ;)

Just popping in to say I love you and miss you something terrible! So glad to be home so I can read blogs and stuff again!!!

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