On love... and privacy
So you may notice that this post looks a little different than it did originally and that's because I deleted it and the subsequent Instagram and FB posts that went along with it.
You know, I like to think that I’m pretty wise when it comes to what I post about my kids online. I share my challenges in motherhood, I share the funny things, and I share what's happened to us and what we are doing. I had not yet shared my kids' Big Feelings and things they pour out to me from their heart in private, in the very safe spot I wrote about having for them. I confess I’m still navigating what writing about my children looks like as they get older. I don’t have it figured out, this balance of what to share and what not to share. But my children's confessions are their own, and they are not for public consumption. I made a huge misstep today. By writing about something one of my children told me in confidence, I suddenly made the safe conversation spot unsafe for them for the future. I’m figuring out motherhood as I go but because I do write about my family, I need to be more cognizant of what’s precious for JUST us versus what’s okay to share among this wonderful and weird community we have together on social media. Most days I’m winging motherhood (can’t you tell?) and lots of times I make mistakes. This one is one that I can, thankfully, correct.
I stand by what I write and what I originally posted was thoughtful and had the purpose of sharing wisdom with my mom tribe. I will figure out how to say what I want to say in a way that respects the privacy of my children and walks this very fine line well.
SOME THOUGHTS FROM CHRIS:
As we create massive amounts of data on the internet, we should consider the future. The internet doesn't forget [examples: first tweet, fb timelines, archive.org, criminal mugshots]. When our children become the topic of conversation, we are creating for them an unrequested public record. How will they respond to this? We can't know, but we can make some educated guesses. How would I respond to knowing that my childhood crushes or private conversations with my parents were recorded for the world to see? A clue as to answer this, we can ask ourselves how we feel when reading in Luke 8: 16-17 that "nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light." While the immediate context of this is with respect to final judgment, consider what it means for anybody to have instant access to past conversations you've held in confidence. We should not confuse guilt with embarrassment, but we should be grateful that everything is not public.
Therefore, although Indiana's original post was a nice post, it could ultimately truncate the very thing for which it is appreciative: open and honest conversation between a child and parent. We are both amazed that our oldest child is now seven. Where has the time gone? I recently had a conversation with a fellow father friend of mine and remember him getting teary as he discussed having a child on the cusp of his teenage years. We should treasure these conversations. While our children are young, I hope that we can lay a foundation of trustworthiness for the future. In doing so so, we may still be able to to discuss the issues of life when they are far past young crushes.
To be clear, I am not saying we should censor ourselves to try to be friends with our children. Nor am I saying everything is off limits. For the former, we must acknowledge that our role is to protect and guide our children rather than to be chummy with them. For the latter, we must draw lines around what is fair game for public consumption and what should be held in confidence. In order to answer this, we should consider the original content and forum. This can't possibly cover all situations, but I believe this provides a good starting point for considering what to share.
One final consideration for OUR hearts as parents is to resist the temptation to view life as a series of tweetable / IG moments. I'm not a luddite. Far from it. In my work, I'm focused on helping companies adopt the latest networking technologies to advance and improve the world we live in. At the same time, I maintain a relatively low profile online out of a considered eccentricity. I spend considerable time thinking about the consequences of everything that we, as a society, are building. Melvin Kranzberg, a historian of technology wrote six laws of technology. The first is that technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral. As we continue to adopt new technologies, we should consider the legacy we are leaving for our children and future generations. As we use them, we should do so in the context of pursuing the summum bonum.