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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Facebook Judges...

Something has been on my heart for months and I've debated on writing about it...or how to write about it.  But after talking to a friend recently, I decided I was ready.  She helped me see "God" in it, and that's what everything boils down my colleagues and I joked in seminary - if you don't know the answer to a question - just say Jesus or God and most of the time you're correct ;)

Matthew 7:12
"Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

I have joined many facebook groups here to help promote my parent's morning out program - they are all parent/mother oriented.  I have been shocked at some of the responses to seemingly innocent questions.  I know there are lots of articles out about social media and how it's changing society and people's mentality towards others.  I also know that parents are becoming more informed about parenting issues - reading articles online, how-to books and there are specialists available for consultation in every area of life.

Philippians 2:3
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of [us] regard one another as more important than himself;

As a result of this, many parents, who read up on certain issues, feel as though they are now experts and freely share their opinions to anyone and everyone who wants to listen.  This is fine - if you do it respectfully.  What do I mean by this?  Well, when a parent asked on one FB group - I'm a new mom what are your thoughts on shots?  Good grief.  70+ responses and it got ugly.  U-G-L-Y.   Not respectful.  The same goes for the family bed, crying it out, breastfeeding, cloth diapers, no tv in the house, no video games, food - esp gluten free foods, homeschooling, preschool, sports for littles, and on and on.  These are hot topics and parents nowadays have very strong opinions on these.  If you don't agree with them, sometimes they get hurt and offended.  I support your knowledge and enthusiasm for these ideas, but please, please take the following 2 things into consideration...

Psalm 139:14 ESV

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 

1. Every child is made differently and has a different personality.  They have different "love languages" so to speak.  Every parent's personality is different.  Every financial situation is different, every schedule is different, jobs are different (full time, part time, first shift, third shift, dangerous, etc), values and religious beliefs are different, every marriage is different, geography is different (yes, this matters), every extended family is different.  Every parent is bringing into their "parenting" their personal history - and mixing it with their partner's (if they have one).  Our personal history plays a huge part in who we are - whether you want to admit it not.
Considering all these variables, please tell me you understand that what has worked for you, what you believe is the correct thing to do, may or may not work for other parents.  Please tell me that you are open-minded enough to see that what is working for your first child, doesn't work for a parent of 6.  Please tell me that you understand that the diet your child is on wouldn't work for a parent who lost their job and is struggling to buy food.  Please tell me that although crying it out worked perfectly for you, you realize that it isn't the best option for a mother who has recently experienced terrible heartache.  And please understand that if I don't share your opinion and do what you say, it's not because you're a bad parent or because I think you're misinformed or even because I don't agree with you.   It's important you understand this, because if you don't, then you are going to offend, you are going to hurt and you are going to belittle parents who are doing what they believe is the best for their child.  I understand you feel strongly. I understand that its uncomfortable when you share your opinion and its discarded and I understand that when it happens you feel belittled and put down. I'm not disregarding these feelings, I'm saying they may be a bit misplaced.  These parents who don't agree with you or don't use your idea are not putting you down and they are not putting down your idea. They are simply saying that idea doesn't work for my family.  You are still a good parent, you are still doing what you think is best for your child and you can back away knowing you did a good thing by sharing an idea with someone who asked for help. Whether or not they use it, honestly, isn't any of your business. Parents, we need to ask for help when it's needed, we need to help when asked, and we need to know when to back away.  There is a line and you need to draw it. 

29 Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.

This is what I'm seeing on social media and it literally makes me nauseous because I can imagine this sweet mother's face while reading these nasty comments about why, if she lets her child eat gluten, the child will be doomed forever.  She asked for advice, she asked for help because she's struggling - neither of which you just gave her. Instead, now she feels incompetent, offended and still struggling with the same problem.  Parents like to hear what works for other families, we also like to share, we even ask for ideas - but ideas and hurtful accusations are two different things.  My personality is a nurturer - I love on my kids, snuggle them and then discipline when needed.  Makes me a good preschool teacher.  Others are different - disciplinarians first, nurturers second.  Makes them good businessmen/women.  Makes me run my household with more child involvement and not as strict. Others may run it very strictly...Are either of us wrong?  NO!!  It's who we are and what we are bringing to our own situation.  We need to Accept that.

Matthew 7:1-2
1"Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2"For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.…

   2.  God asks us to not judge, to love others and to help others.  Three basic things that, daily, in our prayers, our morning devotional before school and our discussions during the day, we try and center around with our kids - God loves us and we show God our love by doing the aforementioned things.  This is how my husband and I parent and that is how we organize our discipline.  It's going to be different than yours, but it has worked well for us and our kids are doing fine.  They have faults, just like yours.  If you have an idea that might help, feel free to share, but don't expect me to do it.  I love to get ideas, meld them with other ideas, and make my own.
As I said, we try hard to center our house around religion, my husband's a pastor which means our schedule varies week to week (daily, really), I work 3 part time jobs which means I have to take my kids around to different places during the week (and also makes for a crazy schedule), we live in a high cost of living area, we are an inter-racial couple, my husband brings a background of poverty whereas I bring a background of middle class and I could go on.  Is this also your situation?  It's not?  Then don't be surprised if your idea doesn't work for us.  Share your ideas, then step back and let each parent be the judge of what works for their family...and please respect that.

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