Oh yeah, that blogging series I promised you all about the converstation pitfalls we fall into in blogging. Okay, as promised, here is the next installment.
Camps. Sides. Fences.
You know, those things that divide us. Label us. We label ourselves, we label others. And then we tell ourselves we have nothing in common and will never understand ‘the other’. They must be mistaken. They must be crazy. They must be…. wrong.
This is another aspect of debate and discussion which I find very counter productive. People don’t fit in boxes.
I understand why people label themselves. They want community. They want a way to identify someone who may share similar views. They want to know who is safe to talk to and reduce the risk of sharing their thoughts with someone who will respond with hostility. They want to try to connect.
I get that. And there are good aspects of that.
But it also divides us. When we label ourselves we give ourselves permission to ignore the other side. Because they aren’t like us. And they won’t understand us. And when we are faced with an alternate view, we can dismiss it, because ‘they are from the other side.’
The truth is that we all have something in common, especially as parents. We have all felt overwhelmed, frustrated, burnt out. We have all felt proud, awed and totally in love with out kids. We have felt judged, misunderstood, and hurt by our peers.
And more the that, we have all done things as parents we wish we hadn’t. We have all learned lessons and changed our points of view as we go along. And we all want to do the best thing we can for our kids. So why are we so divided? Based on one choice, one practice, one thing that worked for us, one mistake we made?
Why can’t we work together?
In particularly, I wish that the those who are breastfeeding activists and those who wanted to breastfeed but ended up formula feeding could get on the same team. We waste so much time and energy arguing with each other. And we all want the same thing; for women who want to breast feed to be successful and for the babies to be fed.
The problem is that we don’t listen and hear what each other side has to say. The activists are trying to set women up for success; the reluctant formula feeders have a very clear idea of why they weren’t successful. You think if we heard each other out we might be able to really make a difference. But often we just lob insensitive arguments back and forth at each other over the fence. Why?
Why do we like to debate and argue so much? Why not focus on what we have in common and what we can agree on. Use that as a basis for moving forward with the strength of numbers. Instead we fall divided.