I want to thank each of you for your kind words and encouragement after my last post, learning to love. As usual, when I get a little more personal, I hovered over the publish button wondering if I really should. I don’t (or try not to anyway) write for the response but every email, facebook share or message, and comment truly meant so much to me. Thank you.
I always find it hard to follow up my more personal post; it always seems like an awkward…”and now back to the regular posting schedule, here’s a new recipe.”. Maybe no one else thinks of it, but that’s always how I feel. Anyways. This post is one that I’ve been sitting on for a time as I’ve been chewing over some questions related to social media. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject as well.
How do I respect my children’s privacy within the use of social media?
This is something that I have always been somewhat mindful of and I’ve tried to be really careful about how much I share of their lives via my blog or Facebook. Perhaps it is because of my own desire for privacy, but right from the beginning of my venturing into “social media land” I’ve felt this strong conviction that I need to respect the story that is growing in each of my daughters, one that is only theirs to tell. Sometimes though, as I look back on status updates, blog posts, or even photos, I realize just how much of an online timeline I’ve created for them. There are a few that I’ve even removed.
I’ve never talked in depth about discipline or personalities or character because those are things that I feel belong to us as a family trying to wade through this life together. When I do talk about those things, I try to keep it positive so that someday my girls will know that I chose to see the good in them. I’m sure it is probably clear that I find my daughters amazing and delightful but I also try not to over inflate that or paint inaccurate pictures that are not only dishonest to them but that would also only serve to put unfair expectations on them. They aren’t little angels, they are kids who are learning and growing. They have great depth for good and the same ability to do wrong as anyone else. They are bright, imaginative, and gifted while just being ordinary children who don’t excel (or need to) at many things.
Now, my girls are getting out of the baby, oblivious to the world stage and I’m starting to wonder what respecting their space in this next life phase looks like. I’ve been in the habit of sharing bits of our days and snapping photos of them and have thought nothing of something like telling about a broken leg or a birthday activity yet the girls have asked me why people knew it was their birthday or how so and so knew Cecily had a broken leg. Suddenly what didn’t seem like a big deal to me has been put in a different perspective because of how they respond in surprise to people knowing these details.
I’m actually not really sure where to go with it. I’ve been slipping back in time to hikes through the bush with my mom and brother. Or the endless hours that we spent riding with her and the picnics we took together. There are the days that she was teaching me to cook or sew; how would I have felt if she had been blogging those moments or status updating them for all of her friends and relations? Would I have felt like a project or that her attention was divided? I don’t know that I would have but I’ve been wondering.
I do enjoy processing through writing and I like to share that with others. I really think that we can be encouraged and challenged together through our use of social media. I do want to keep sharing about life with my family because that is a huge part of who I am but I also do want to write with respect and care of them; I want to honor my relationship of trust with them. I don’t want my kids to grow up thinking that in order for something to have enjoyment, meaning, or worth, it must be shared in a blog, status update, photo or whatever they come up with next. I don’t want to use my camera or written words to invade time or space that only belongs to my daughters.
It’s been changing how I write and at times keeping what I write in a folder on my computer. It seems to me I’m only just beginning to understand the scope of social media and how far reaching it can be. I find that the blogging world especially often seems to push the idea of “being real” and with that comes a pressure to reveal and share things that one might not generally share. I think it can also cloud my judgment on what I share of my family. Sometimes there are things that I really, really want to write about yet something holds me back. How do I blog while maintaining the sacredness of a family? Please understand, I’m absolutely NOT bashing these ways that we have of connecting with others. I’m not indicating what I think others should do and I don’t actually know what it means for myself. Please, please don’t read any “should” for yourself in this. But I think it really is something worth thinking about and maybe it will be helpful for you too.
Is this something you have thought about? How do you balance social media and the privacy of your family? Do you have suggestions or wisdom that you’d be willing to share?