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.

 

19 thoughts on “It’s Not That Bad

  1. This is an excellent post. I must keep this in mind: we write from our perspective, but readers, listeners, read from theirs.

    It also raises the question: when you write for an audience, what is your intent? If you write for pay you may adjust your writing: you might embellish, or create something that is more on target on the majority on the majority of your readers’ minds than the absolute truth as per your unique perspective. This is different in blogging. If your main reason to blog is to converse, vent, pick the internet’s brain, practice writing skills, connect with others (or whatever) then you write from your perspective no matter what (it’s your blog). The benefit in this self-blogging venture is that you have opportunity to learn something you may not have learned if you had had this conversation at Starbucks with a friend or two, or something. Or the husband. Know what I mean?

    Some of my most eye-opening comments on my blog come from people who don’t even live in the same country as me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally get that comments from other parts of the world are really eye opening (and not Canada….that seems to be similar to US). The expectation level is totally different.
      But yeah….if you monetize, are you beholden to the people that “sponsor” you? I had a convo with a fellow blogger about this. Parts of me would like to make money, but then do I sacrifice my integrity, or what I like to think of as integrity?
      I blog because it’s good practice for my other writing….it’s a way to put words on a page before I actually start to work in my book….warm up exercise. But it all makes you think

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly. (And yes, our countries are sisters, so to speak). I’m not that far away, relatively speaking. Right? I mean, I flew to NY a couple of times in under an hour…could probably drive there in less than a day.

        I love the blogging part to get my writing juices going. Keeping at it, like you I hope!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Several times I have had words or written pieces come back to hit me in the face. I write and talk as carefully as I can, so that no one will misinterpret my meaning. Still, it happens. You will never know where some opinions are formed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s hard, because when we write, we think we are being so clear, yet people read into things in different ways. It can be frustrating when people take things the wrong way

      Like

  3. Our own histories color how we interpret what we read, see, and hear. I tend to to see child issues and domestic problems from the view of my own abusive childhood raised in a dysfunctional home. So I sometimes over react to what others might pass off. We all have things we feel strongly about and causes we champion. I think it is grand your sister and you have each other, and that people on your blog would be concerned enough about the subject of child abuse to ask question. Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

  4. While there can be many problems associated with assumptions, we couldn’t function without that ability. Imagine having to analyze every little thing in life – you wouldn’t get out of bed! (Is the floor still there? Do I know how to walk? Do I know where the coffee maker is and how to make coffee?) 🙂

    Because we have to assume so many things to function, it’s easy to overwork that assumption muscle. It requires care and attention to not do so when we shouldn’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s actually very true, and I hadn’t thought about it from that perspective. We do spend our lives learning how to decode and analyze, so it shouldn’t be surprising when someone does. The trick then becomes learning how to write clearly so the message is straight forward

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  5. I didn’t get the impression that you were suggesting anything serious. Judging from what I’ve come to know about you from reading your posts, I concluded that you are too sensible and level-headed not to have approached your sister if you felt the situation was of a serious nature. So, I figured it was benign.

    Liked by 1 person

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