Recently, I stayed at a place that wasn’t my own. It was only for one night, and I had been there before. I will refrain from naming this place, mainly because I like to respect people’s privacy, but also because I’d rather not cause any static. Not that what I’m about to say is a secret, or that it insults anyone.
You may have noticed in some of my previous posts that I am a father to three beautiful, intelligent, wonderful daughters who never cease to amaze me and make me proud. Well, recently, the two older girls came to me with a request that has me bursting with pride.
“Daddy,” they said, “we were talking about it, and we want to start a blog. We’ll write the articles ourselves – they’ll be about fashion and book reviews and that sort of stuff.”
Pleasantly surprised, I said, “Wow, that’s great! But, you know, you have to be careful not to say anything about yourselves specifically. You need to keep your identity from random crazy people.”
“We know – we already talked about that. We’re going to come up with fake names and write stuff like, ‘Hi this is Blah, and I was thinking….'”
Wow. They already figured out that they were going to use pseudonyms, and how to use them. “But we need your help to start it, because we don’t know how to set up a blog, or where to go to do it.”
“OK,” I answered, “I’ll talk to Mommy about it, and if we think it’s OK, we’ll go ahead with it.”
Blogging is relatively new to me, at least as far as my own experience is concerned. I have two blogs, both less than a year old, and a far cry from anything close to even semi-known. But, like most bloggers I presume, I write because I want and like to write. Of course, it wasn’t too long ago, in college even, that I hated writing. Even a few simple paragraphs were enough to have me pulling my hair out in frustration. I do not want my daughters to feel that way, and this is one way to foster a love of writing in them at the early ages of nine and eleven.
But, I am concerned about their safety. The last thing I want is for them to be in the spotlight personally. The pseudonyms can be there, but that’s their purpose. If we allow this blog idea to happen, I will take every last precaution to keep them safe.
Another concern of mine, and you may not know this, is that people on the Internet can be not nice, even downright mean! I swear – it’s true! Now, I do plan to mitigate this by turning on comment moderation and filter the comments myself. Also, I plan to set up anonymous e-mail for contact, and be the only one to read that, at least at first. But, I admit, the mean people don’t concern me as much as the crazy people. I plan to explain this to them, and use it to teach them how to handle criticism. This is a lesson they should learn earlier in life rather than later.
So, what’s the result? Well, I’ll be honest – my wife and I haven’t quite decided yet. Like I said, I want to nurture in them that love of writing, because I know it is a skill that will serve them well in life. I also want them to learn to live with criticism, and to use to to improve themselves. But I don’t want to expose them to any dangers, either.
In the meantime, they have been bugging me to make the blog already. I love their enthusiasm, and am proud of their tenacity. I know that we have to decide soon before those fires die down.
How about you? Do you have or know of any children who write their own blogs? What advice can you give my wife and me? How about for my daughters?
A short post today, consisting of a reaction I had earlier.
It occurred to me that there are so many things that divide us as a species. Every one of us can look at another human being and easily see what is different. We so readily define others as “What I am not.”
Gender. Gender ambiguity. Racial identity. Sexual orientation. Religion. Faith. Religious denomination. Economic status. Nationality. Political affiliation. Sports. Sports teams. Diet. Body shape. Physical ability. Physical disability. Eye color. Eye shape. Sickness. Health.
All of these, whether apparent or not, are ways that we, as human beings, separate other human beings from ourselves. I believe this is the source of many conflicts between us. “You are different from me!” Anger, loud words, war, oppression, and many other evils arise from this sense of “other,” or “unlike me.”
But then, I thought of two things, only two things, that we all share. No matter the divisions between us, we all can claim them as our own. This is part of our human condition. What unites us. What no one human can deny.
Birth. Every human has a birth.
Death. Every human will die.
Every human will experience joy at experiencing the birth of someone close to them.
Every human will grieve for the death of someone close to them.
As the two universal experiences, I go out of my way to acknowledge them with anyone.
I will purposely stop and wish someone a Happy Birthday when I know their birthday is near.
I will purposely stop and offer congratulations to someone who is expecting or has had a birth in their family or close circle of friends.
I will purposely stop and offer my condolences to anyone when I know they have lost someone dear to them.
I will purposely stop and offer a sympathetic ear to anyone who is near their death.
I try to focus on what we, as humans, have in common. From there, I believe, we can build a better relationship with all people.