I struggle with extremes. I think this is a trap many idealists like myself have fallen into. I want to do what is right at all times and never falter and if I falter, then…I epically falter. At a mom’s group the other day we were taking about iPhones, social networking, and being present with our children. Many people began discussing the evils of facebook and even the desire to leave it altogether. I’ve thought this before. I’ve considered deleting my page and being free of the negatives that this kind of communication can bring and I’ve also at the same time become entrenched in it – checking numerous times a day, etc. As we were discussing all of this, another mom of a different generation, serving as a mentor to us younger moms, stopped us and told us that it isn’t facebook or social networking that is the problem. She told us that she used to spend a lot of the time on her phone before social networking and back then phones weren’t cordless too. So, if it’s not one thing, it’s another. She also reminded us the good that facebook brings. It can help moms reach out more, give more opportunities for meeting people, and can help you stay in touch with people you might have lost touch with before. The true problem I struggle with is discipline.
This post isn’t in praise or support of facebook. This is just an example. If it isn’t one thing, it’s another. When I took a Facebook break, I found many different ways I battled being extremist with food, exercise, tv, books, politics, parenting issues, the list goes on.
And it’s even okay to be passionate and have convictions but I’ve come to learn that not everyone needs to believe what you do. Everyone needs to be able to live with their choices and in the end it’s between them and God. It doesn’t make you approachable if you are on the defense the second a subject you feel passionate about comes up. Also, ascribing to one idea doesn’t mean you have to ascribe to every specific detail to the ideology from which the idea comes. Like I said, we all have our reasons, and we all have to be the ones who ultimately live with our choices.
I’ll tie this into my job and ministry as of now. I’ve moderated a mom’s group online, have spent a lot of time on mom’s forums, and been involved in “real life” with many moms. When talking to them, almost all of them have been criticized, judged, and felt belittled for their parenting choices. Now, there are some parenting choices that I really don’t agree with and don’t work for me. Does that really make them the wrong choices? Do I really believe that the people who do it differently than I do are bad moms? Of course not! I may have my reasons for doing things my way but it doesn’t mean that another mom might not have her reasons too. Instead of getting upset and tearing each other down, we need to be helping and encouraging each other. It’s hard enough to be a mom, we don’t need to make it harder by pitting us mother against mother.
why do we do this to each other? What do we stand to gain besides negativity, hurt feelings and doubt? Why is it so hard to just listen to another person and just offer encouragement instead of judgment?
And beyond parenthood, there are many choices we need to make in our lives that are important. There are many different paths to take. We need to strive to have compassion for those around us. Realize that there might be more that goes on in someone’s choices than what meets the eye and even if you disagree, it doesn’t mean that your world will fall apart.
I think balance is good. I’m working on this. There’s a difference between my daughter watching TV every once in awhile and her staying in front of it all day long. There’s a difference between laziness and spreading yourself so thin that you make yourself sick and miserable. And remember that encouragement is better than criticism. As my husband likes to say, “DEATH TO EXTREMISM!”