Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Why I don't crowd-source my parenting decisions

Crowd-Sourcing: obtain (information or input into a particular task or project) by enlisting the services of a number of people, either paid or unpaid, typically via the Internet. (Source: Google)

Recent months have seen a lot of people crowd-sourcing a lot of things.  What to name the baby?  Encouragement to stop smoking.  Funds for people in need.  Prayers for friends who are suffering from one thing or another.  What to send the teacher at the end of the school year?  Where to find good clothes for the kids?  What to feed the kids?  How to get the kids to actually eat what we fix?

I LOVE my friends "in my computer". Really. I have a hard time finding local friends because we move so much, and some of my virtual friends I have known longer than I have been married (which is not-quite-forever, but pretty close!).

I have a LOT of friends I have accumulated over almost 23 years of married life, 15+ years of military life and living in 5 different states, in 20+ houses, attending 9 different churches.

All of those friends have different backgrounds, different life-experiences, and different expectations. 

Most of my friends are quite helpful, and will offer a lot of helpful advice, when asked.  Some will offer it even when they are not asked!!  

I even have a special group of friends that I got to ESPECIALLY for parenting advice.  

It would be (and IS!) really easy to jump on to social media and solicit input from the billions of people available online.  

However, there are some pretty good reasons I do NOT often crowd-source my 1200+ Facebook friends on most of my parenting decisions.

1. Different expectations, backgrounds, and experiences.  
Remember all of the different places I have lived?  All of those lovely people who are my friends? They each have different expectations of their children.  Their backgrounds are different than mine, and influence their decision-making processes in different ways than my background affects me and my children.  

2. Details.
I don't want to get online and give all of the details of everything that goes into WHY my children act the way they act.  There are things my children have experienced that my crowd-source has NO BUSINESS knowing.   And yet, those very experiences play a HUGE role in why I parent my children the way I do.  Additionally, there is no way someone who has lived in the same town for all of their life can understand the intricacies of a life lived in multiple locations, changing schools many times, and having friends spread out all over the world.  I can't expect them to help me make good decisions when there is no way they can know and understand all of the details.  

3. I am the parent.  
The idea that it takes a village to raise a child is a nice one.  It really helps to have input from others who love my children and want the best for them.  But, frankly, most of my friends do not know my children.  They have not set foot in my house (but please, we WELCOME visitors!!), and have not experienced life in our larger-than-average, dorky-crazy household.  They are NOT responsible to get my children out the door each morning to school, or to fix meals for them in the evenings, or to provide a roof over their heads and transportation to their 9-bjillion activities.   
JASON and I are responsible for that, and for all of the other things that come with having children and being adults.  Ultimately, no matter the input I get from other people, the decisions are MY responsibility.  Asking for too much input from others who don't have details, and don't understand our circumstances is just crazy-making.  

So, I do occasionally ask for input from my friends, usually from the small group that has known me for almost 20 years.  And, even when I do ask, I don't always implement everything...not because I don't trust my friends, but because I know my kids, and how our family works...and I know that not everything everyone else tells me is going to work in our household.   

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