Today, we’re sort of blending two recent posts- when I debated giving parenting advice to my sister, and when I talked about people might interpret things differently than you intended- and I’m giving a weird sort of follow up.
When I was talking about giving my sister advice, the situation I was talking about was not life threatening. It was not dealing with abuse of any variety. I just thought she was making a stupid parenting decision. I was reluctant to give advice because it was a situation that didn’t really have a right or wrong answer. My sister might have the right instinct, and I might be totally wrong. Conversely, I could be right on target and my sister could be off base. There was no evidence as to which way was better. So I’m keeping my mouth shut.
But a few of my blog friends had a different interpretation of my blog: these readers assumed the situation was one of abuse, and it was necessary to get involved.
So, what did I learn?
Well, though I know that children are abused, I am a little naïve as to how often it might happen. I have never had a sense that a child was being abused in any manner, so it’s never the first thought that comes to my mind. Thus, when I wrote the blog, I assumed that everyone would get that I was speaking of a relatively benign matter.
I’ve gotten used to my in laws having comments about every aspect of my parenting. There is not a choice that I have made that hasn’t been commented on, so I’m used to people having opinions on trivial things. My perspective is that people often comment/advise on silly things, so I assumed that everyone would get this.
The Bottom Line.
I write from my perspective: the reader reads from their perspective. I’m beginning to think that we can’t help but interpret things in this manner. It’s very hard to separate yourself from a book: sometimes you sympathize or relate, or sometimes you cry foul, and say something isn’t believable or realistic. Neither way is right, or wrong- it’s just how one interprets it.
We all know that assuming is bad. Yet we always do it, both as readers and writers. I’m going to try to be clearer in my writing, and clearer in my reading. If I don’t understand something, I’m going to ask for clarification. Communication is faltering in our society, and I’m really going to try my best to get better at it.