Lessons from a Five-Year-Old: Take Two

With 58 comments and counting on a parenting blog, Heather wonders what kind of community are we?


Parenting is so much more than 500-700 words, which is all you can really write on a Patch blog. Some people found it funny, and some people didn't. But that's what makes the world go 'round--some people love chocolate ice cream, some people love pistachio. Me? I REALLY don't like pistachio--but I can still get along fine with people who like pistachio. In fact I married one!  

I think it's kinda human nature to connect with people who are interested in the same things. That's why people join clubs like Kiwanis, because they want to get involved in public service in their community, or they go to the library for a talk about gardening because they like to grow plants, or they join a church. Many young parents have found that they like to connect with other young parents online, through Twitter, blogs, websites--it's become an extension of the playground or PTA or playing field sidelines. People are just gravitating together online. 

As the Internet not only opened a whole new world, but exploded our sense of community, people said, "Hey, I've had that same experience with my kids as that blogging mom wrote about on her blog. Maybe I can do that too!" Yes, there are lots of mommy bloggers, lots of car bloggers, lots of political bloggers...we gravitate toward the ones we like.  Some Patches have pet bloggers, and people who want to talk about, read about, or even just eavesdrop on talk about pets, can do so--or not. Again, that's what makes the world go 'round.

What comes with the territory of blogging is that sometimes people don't agree--but just like the "gravitators" found the Internet made it easy to share, it also made things easy for the "disagreers" to share. And maybe that's another lesson from a 5-year-old--perhaps we need to learn how to share nicely.

It's tough when you're putting yourself out there by revealing personal experiences in your writing, and suddenly people not only disagree, but they tack on the judgement. "What kind of parent are you?!? Your kids sound like they're gonna be spoiled brats!"  When I started writing an opinion column, the first time I got virtually hammered by someone who didn't agree, boy did it feel like a literal hammer. It's hard to hear negative criticism and not take it personally. Perhaps readers who haven't had the same experiences as the writer feel somewhat judged as a result, as if the blogger has said, "My way is the better way." 

Suddenly, that's another thing the "gravitators" and the "disagreers" share: feeling judged.

So that's one of the not-so-nice parts of the Internet. Judgement is there for the making, and it's a really easy place to make it. And sometimes, you have to learn to take it, too. Oooh, another 5-year-old's lesson: Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names will never hurt me. 

The good thing?  It's a big sandbox, and there's a lot of space for everyone. Just because the Internet made it easier to see who brought the buckets and shovels and who brought the Tonka trucks to knock down the sand mountains, doesn't mean we have to stay on opposite sides. 

Another way to look at it? Perhaps there's one more lesson from a 5-year-old we can learn. The gravitators might love chocolate, and the disagreers might love pistachio, but in the end,everyone loves ice cream!

What do you think? Tell us in the comments! You can


Mary Jane June 23, 2012 at 01:36 AM
Bjorn, you sure can spin for the sake of an argument, I'll give you that. First it was "18 lessons." As several people saw it for what it was, self-absorbed nonsense, it then morphed into, "I was trying to be humorous." Then the best, "it's sattire." What you found interesting, the rest of us found ridiculous.
Bjorn Olsson June 23, 2012 at 02:12 AM
What I really found interesting were the personal attacks and wide-ranging assumptions some fellow readers felt compelled to post. A blog post clearly written to entertain suddenly became a symptom of a multitude of ill afflicting society of today, such as over-permissive parenting, not beating your kids enough, suburban gentrification (!) and goodness knows what else, from mostly anonymous posters.
Lanning Taliaferro June 23, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Bjorn and all, you raise interesting points. We definitely want to follow up with an article about the cultural issues expressed here and on the original blog post about suburban parenting.
Janice Landrum June 28, 2012 at 02:19 PM
OK, you asked. I did not comment on the original column, but when I read it, my reaction was: this is the way to raise a spoiled brat! Throw a tantrum and you'll get your way every time. We agree on at least one thing: raising a kid is the hardest thing in the world -- and one of the things that makes it hard is that moms are never popular at the moment they set boundaries counter to a kid's desires. We agree on another thing: it's so important for a kid to know he or she is loved entirely (which sometimes means keeping a kid safe from his or her momentary whims.)
CarolAnne June 28, 2012 at 11:34 PM
What's astonishing when you read this woman's blog, especially that graduation entry, oh my, it is so clear this is a self serving "look at me, let's log the little darlings life on line," self centered woman. Her lack of perspective is really quite amazing. The apple never had a chance to fall far from this tree. "Spoiled brat" is a guarantee.


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