Sometimes I wonder if I make you sick when I write; mainly about remembrances and memoirs dedicated to my children. Here's why I wonder:
I never reveal the dark side.
Most of the time I'll disclaim perfection lest a reader think I'm declaring my babies walk on water–goodness knows if they didn't know how to swim, they'd sink! But you'll never see me pointing out their flaws or calling them out unless it's funny, and even them I weigh the benefit versus the cost. To them.
The internet is a forever thing and I think sometimes we forget that. Not just bloggers, but anyone who has an online presence via Facebook or Twitter or whatever. My kids can read what I write, their friends often read what I write (a surprise: some read more often than they do!), and future employers can discover things about them through what others publish (including their own updates).
But more important than that, words mean something.
I realize to a writer words mean A Whole Lot and to someone who's not a writer, maybe they mean less, but for everyone they carry power.
A single word can affirm or defeat. Kind words have the power to change the course of not just a day, but a life! Cruel words can bruise the spirit and bloody the heart leaving an invisible, scarred trail.
I want only to speak life and goodness into my childrens' lives when I write; I want them to hear some of the things impossible to say in ordinary conversation. I want to capture memory and moments.
But I never, ever, neverever want to make any reader feel less than by somehow painting my children or my relationship with them as "ideal." My imaginary good friend, Glennon, wrote about why she and her husband don't brag on their kids; and while I don't agree with everything she said, this much is true: I don't want to make anyone feel less than about their relationship with their children if they happen to perceive my written affections as "better" than their own.
And maybe I'm thinking too much about all of this, but I know from experience if someone is gushing online about how GREAT [blogging opportunities or book deals or friendship or marriage or YOU fill in the blank] is, sometimes I've allowed myself to feel less than because I haven't achieved that level of "success" in the particular area.
Am I making sense?!
I know you're good people whose mamas pressed "if you can't say something nice don't say anything" into the very heart of you, and I appreciate that, I really do, because that's as golden as Rule. And while my posts generally don't call for action I sometimes wonder if the crickets are singing a song I need to attend.
Kids are amazing. Mine, yours, all of them. Find a way today to let yours know.
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So in case I haven’t told you already I want to be you when I grow up. And not because you are a perfect mom or wife or person. Mainly because of posts like this 🙂
Perfect timing Robin in so many ways! Thanks.
I have never felt “less than” by reading your blog, Robin. I love your posts about your children! It is encouraging to me to see a mother speaking well about her children. It seems that so many people don’t have good things to say about kids and teenagers. Children are often seen as a burden, not a blessing. And while I’m sure your relationship with your children isn’t perfect (what relationship is?!), it is obvious that you love them, enjoy them, and are thankful for them. Oh if there were only more mothers like you! Thanks for being a good example to all of us.
Hey Robin, I came over tonight from (in)courage to check out your Bonhoeffer wisdom. 🙂 Lurking around your blog here and found this post… which I absolutely LOVE. Like, a LOT. Thank you for writing it. Our words over our kids’ lives are so incredibly powerful… and their hearts are so precious and WORTH protecting. 3 cheers for a mama who gets that!!
Really like your heart. Thanks for sharing it.