May 8, 2013

Road blocks

I'm not sure where the misconception comes from that when one is a proponent for non-judgment among moms, one is taking a "side" or shutting down communication. But I am tired of the criticism that those who promote a positive, supportive environment for moms are trying to create a Pollyanna-like environment where no one ever talks about tough or touchy subjects.

That is not a fair assessment.

Here at The Mom Pledge Community, we advocate for civil discourse on the issues that impact mothers and children. We promote tolerance, solidarity and a sincere desire to understand different positions on an issue. There are important topics moms should be talking about. We work to provide the tools and environment to facilitate doing so.

Here are some actions that shut down communication:

  • Judging other moms. 
  • Taking on an air of superiority. 
  • Entering into a debate intent on forcing everyone to adapt to your position. 
  • Attacking any and all who have different opinions or beliefs. 
  • Ganging up on and demeaning others.

When people do these things they hurt their own cause, alienating those who potentially need to hear their message and may have listened had it been delivered in a more positive way. Often times, those who purport to be helping and supporting moms actually - whether intentional or otherwise - can do the opposite.

Instead of reason, many engage with emotion, and that is where communication breaks down.

There is perhaps no other area of our lives where we are more passionate and emotionally invested than our kids. That can rob us of the ability to be objective and open-minded. In order for civil discourse to occur, for true and productive dialogue to take place, one has to set passion and emotions aside. Discuss issues calmly and rationally. 

It is not at all easy to do. And not everyone cares to try.

Some people are not simply not interested in other points of view.They just want to be "right." They think if they scream the loudest, they "win." They have no interest in an actual exchange, preferring instead to talk to or over others, not with. They accuse others of putting up road blocks to effective communication when in fact they are the ones standing in the way.

The sad truth is the biggest road block to real, valuable communication between moms is not the media. Or corporations. Or government. Or society as a whole. It's women. Individuals and groups who routinely work to suppress, silence or slander mothers whose position they don't agree with.

The virtual lynch mobs regularly forming online today are reminiscent of the Salem witch trials. And they are perpetuated by women against other women. Zealotry is not an excuse. The end does not justify the means. Regardless of what you may stand for, if those are the tactics you choose to engage in, the cause you champion and are so passionate about suffers.

What is needed is for more to be part of the solution than are part of the problem. I can only speak for myself, but I'm not on a "side." I'm for moms. Not just the ones who are like me. Who do what I do. Believe what I believe. But all of them.

I launched The Mom Pledge over two years ago because this is how I believe it should be:

We're making progress. But we still have a long way to go...

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