Thursday, April 19, 2007

My blog, my home

People blog for a lot of different reasons. Some blogs are designed to be a sort of virtual town square - a public forum in which all are invited to climb upon a soapbox and engage in robust politicking, complete with scathing diatribes and ad hominem attacks, in which free speech is valued above all else.

This is not one of those blogs.

In marked contrast to the town-square model of blogging, I think of this blog as my own personal living room. I've chosen the furniture, I've arranged the seating just so, I've brewed the coffee, and I've baked the pie. I welcome you into my home. I'm the mother of a child with autism and in my real life I don't know many other parents of children with autism. In real life, I don't know any autistic adults who talk to me about being autistic. In real life, I have a wonderful but small circle of educators and specialists to act as a resource. In real life, many of my friends and relatives live a long distance away from me. In real life, I don't get out much. But here, in this virtual living room, we can all come together. We can swap stories. We can offer support. We can laugh and cry together. And the coffee is always hot and never overbrewed. This is a good place we've got going.

But here's the thing: My door is open. I welcome visitors. I am anxious to hear your stories and I look forward to our dialogues. But even though we are gathering together here on the Internet, I want to be perfectly clear: when you are visiting here, you are in my home. As such, I need to invoke the tired parenting adage that teenagers loathe, but later adopt when they have children of their own:

My house, my rules.

And my primary rule is this: you may not enter my house and treat my other guests badly. If you walk into my living room and start trashing the place, I will ask you to leave. If you visit my blog and use my comments section to level personal attacks at my other guests or at my parenting style or at my philosophy on life, I will delete your comments without fanfare - without, in fact, so much as a mention.

My house, my rules.

That is not to say that you can't disagree with me or with anyone else who is posting here. To the contrary - I welcome alternate views! I want to know what you believe, and why you believe it. But I ask that when you broach delicate subjects with others with whom you disagree, you do so in the spirit of the moral conversation - by looking for the truth in what you oppose and the error in what you espouse. Be passionate and forceful when you share your perspective, but be respectful - and know that if your comments smack of mean-spiritedness or baiting or disrespect, then they will disappear quickly. What standard will I use to judge? I'll use my own standards, guided by my own beliefs. If I wouldn't stand for it in my wood-and-shingles house, then I won't stand for it in my virtual living room either. My house, my rules.

So, to my friends who have long been making themselves comfortable on my virtual couch but who have been strangely absent in recent days, to those friends and strangers who have e-mailed me privately over the past 24 hours feeling too vulnerable to post their thoughts openly, please come back. There are plenty of comfortable seats left, and I've just brewed a fresh pot of coffee.

Please, make yourself at home.


29 comments:

Moi ;) said...

That is exactly what I've always thought of my blog as. My living room - pull up a chair!

I have zapped several people who got nasty with me. Supposedly that isn't good blogger etiquette. The way I look at it, if you cause me stress, you can Go. Like we don't have enough to deal with as it is...Pfft!

mcewen said...

Have we been misbehaving that we need admonishment? I hope not. I'd happily join you in a coffee but my rule is none after 6 - but I can shake some tea leaves in your direction.
Best wishes

MOM-NOS said...

Mcewen, you've never been anything but a perfect guest.

I'd be happy to brew some decaf, or I may need to duck out for a moment and purchase a teapot.

Lisa/Jedi said...

Hear! Hear! Thanks so much for this well-spoken statement- your very own "Purposes & Principles" so to speak :) I feel exactly the same way about my own blog. Worries about attacting the sort of vituperative comments that showed up in here recently have affected my willingness to speak out more strongly on certain topics in my blog (I'm sorry to say). Thanks for modelling the sort of attitude I need to take things to "the next level"!

Bev said...

Thanks,MOM. I appreciate both the free speech areas of the web and the places with boundaries. It's nice to have a place like this to go when I'm not up to dealing with rudeness and hostility. Thanks for sharing your living room.

Another Voice said...

If I had a blog I would insist on the same code of conduct. I welcome places that don't let the comments section turn into battle grounds.

You have a great site, keep up the good work and thank you for the effort.

KAL said...

You have one of the comfiest couches in the blogosphere, mom-nos. Thanks for keeping your door open and for being an eloquent fair-minded host.

Sam I Am said...

I knew this was coming after the last post's comments. I saw another blog that used the "my house my rules". I agree with you! I hope my house welcomes respectful visitors as well. I hope I can continue to come over. I LOVE your house. I don't do decaf though, I am kind of hard core... dark roast, 2 packets of splenda and one ice cube.

AJ said...

I think I must de-lurk at this point, and admit that you (and several other autism moms) are my heroes. I don't have a blog, and probably never will, because I don't have your writing abilities. But I see my ASD kids in YOUR kids, and I see myself in you, and I appreciate how well you express what I so much want to say.

That said, can I clean up in the kitchen after coffee? Or sweep up around the sofa? 'Cause I'd so like to join in. And people tell me I'm nice....(?!?)

Drama Mama said...

You are one classy dame. Thank you for your hospitality.

MPJ said...

Thank you for allowing me to lurk around your living room. I'm also the mom of an autistic child and have been greatly enjoying my quiet visits to your home. I'm coming out from behind your lovely curtains to stand next to the edge of the couch and smell the coffee, and thank you for that lovely post. I couldn't agree more!

Steve D said...

Ummmm ... would it be inappropriate for me to ask for a shot of Irish whiskey in my coffee?
Perhaps McEwen would be willing to provide :)
Seriously though MOM, I don't have any idea what occurred to prompt this topic, but of all the people I have "met" on the web, you are least deserving of negativity in your personal space.

lizziehoop said...

I know how you are feeling about having someone 'act up' in your house. I had the same problem on a website I have. I am too nice and I let the nastiest go on for too long until I wrote a nice long rant that I emailed to my entire list of 600 members and completely shut out the offending person. I hit the delete button and they completely disappeared from my site - and I asked them never to return. No one sits on my leather sectional with a sharp object and no one enters my site with a sharp tongue. Thank you for letting me into your home and thank you for the offer of the coffee but I don't touch the stuff. I'll take some water - bottled if you have it.

Liz

kristen said...

Well said, and handled with grace. It comforts me to know that you are keeping a light on for those of us who need a warm and welcome spot to chat and share ideas, and a look out for those who don't.

Jennifer said...

I agree, well said. I have always seen someone's blog as their own space. My own doesn't get nearly the traffic you do, and I haven't yet had to delete anything other than spam, so I feel lucky. I figure if I'm putting my thoughts out there for the public to read, I should expect all manner of opinions - but I also expect them to be said respectfully.

Decaf for me - just a drop of milk please.

mumkeepingsane said...

Well put. I've been in my own little world so have no idea what's been going on but...good for you!

I say there's enough negativity in the world and there's no need to accept it into your virtual home.

Oh, and I'll stick with water too...if that's ok.

for what it's worth said...

Thank you for being our "hostess". I would love to bring my peppermint tea and pull of a cushion on the floor. Thank you for sharing your home, your thoughts and youself with all of us.

Club 166 said...

Hear, hear, MOM!

You rock, and you always will (and will always have a special place in my heart as the first person to ever comment on my blog).

I've always been in favor of common sense, and common courtesy.

Having been the object of attacks on another (not autism related) listserv years ago, I know what happens when things get out of hand. I've always enjoyed your hospitality.

I'm a lightweight nowadays, so unless it's early in the morning, I'll have decaf with lots of cream, please.

Steve said...

as always - perfectly said.

We'll bring dessert!

Phoebe Gleeson said...

I'm the same way.

Way to go.

Redhead said...

I love it! I was wondering how you were going to handle some of the conversation from your last blog. I knew something was "brewing" on that and I expected a brilliant response like that from you. You are so funny.

Looks like there is another "kristen" out there so I guess for now I'll be "Redhead". I am too computer illiterate to give myself a blog or webpage or anything.

Mommyof3 said...

Thanks, Mom-nos. I'll bring my Larry's "Frank Sumatra" beans.
Mommyof3

Kim Stagliano said...

Hello. Popping in! I do love coffee. Day, night, doesn't matter. I agree - civil discouse is important and our "community" has a way of veering off the polite path. I count myself among the occasional detourers (is that a word?) I have a piece on Huffington today decrying the autism = psychopath line that will be drawn. I fear for my girls. I fear for all of our ASD kids. But, what's new about that?

Peace,

Kim

MOM-NOS said...

Hello, everyone! I stepped out for awhile to re-stock the pantry and I'm just delighted to come home to a crowded living room.

Just so you know, it's serve yourself around here. I've expanded the options - we've got all manner of regular, decaf, and flavored coffees, with cream, milk, half-and-half, sugar, Splenda, Nutrasweet or just plain black; tea - English breakfast and herbal; bottled water, spring and sparkling (or for you purists, feel free to drink from the tap - we live in the country); there's some soda in the fridge and even a few glasses of Chardonay kicking around (and a shot of Irish whiskey for Steve D., of course). Cheers!

AJ and MPJ, no need to stay in the corners. You can sit right in the middle of the sofa and put your feet up on the coffee table, even if you'd just like to listen quietly to the conversation.

Kim, I'm delighted to welcome you! Your Huffington post is terrific - and very sorely needed in the current climate. Thank you.

Agent M said...

Beautifully said, as always. :)

kristina said...

Stopping by here, I always know the chairs will be comfy and the conversation bright.

Professor said...

Oh beautiful. And what a lover-ly button. I like it.

LauraR said...

Hi, would this be an appropriate moment for a lurker to introduce herself. I have a 3 year old boy who definitely has speech delay/echolalia and may well have ASD (waiting to see a paediatrician). I found your blog while googling "echolalia" and keep checking in on it, it's impressive, friendly and informative. Look forward to chatting to you further.

the end of motherhood said...

Excellent house rules...