In Parallel: On Gatekeeping and Honoring Others

I have been on a slow and evolving mission to manage the way I use technology and social media for the past two or three years. I’ve had a number of moments of clear conviction that I was frittering my time away, basking in the shallows of other people’s lives and failing to live my own. 

One moment occurred about sixteen months ago as I typed a response to someone in a Facebook group. I had a great answer – I’m sure I did. Then I realized that this person would likely receive about 60+ answers to her question. 

No one needs 60 opinions on anything. No one. Ever. 

Not long after that I had my husband change the password on my account, with instructions to only log me on if I had a specific reason (mostly to list and search on Marketplace). 

I don’t regret this decision, although it’s not exactly revolutionized my life. Turns out, the internet is a big place and there are lots of places to get distracted from my immediate surroundings. I do, however, enjoy the peace that comes from not getting caught up in the frenzied questions, concerns, debates, and discussions that take place in these online spaces. You can argue that by having a blog I still put my opinions out there, but it’s a slower form with much less feedback.

Today I’m sharing two articles that discuss gatekeeping and cliques in groups of (typically) mothers. These articles aren’t specifically about online spaces and apply just as well to in-person groups, but I can identify these less-than-charitable attitudes much more easily in how I have engaged in online spaces – knowing the exact right thing to type, the pride in knowing I had the approved answer, the pride in getting my comments ‘liked’ by others.

To Read In Parallel:

“Would Charlotte Mason Ask Us to Say Shibboleth?” Karen Glass shares incredible wisdom in this older article that I return to time and again.

Narration is an important and valuable tool, but it is the work going on in the mind and heart of the child that is what really matters, and if that is occurring, however it manifests itself, we should be satisfied. I’m not suggesting you give up narration, and neither is Miss Kitching, nor would have Miss Mason. What she is saying is—don’t make a shibboleth of it. Don’t make it a yardstick by which you measure how authentic someone’s practice of Charlotte Mason’s principles is. Above all—don’t adhere to the practices by rote but lose the more vital reasons that underpin them. “Narration” may take many forms.

“Honoring the Mystery” Denise Trull brings similar thoughts, but in the wider context of motherhood.

The damage was done, however. The seeds were sown. She had listened to the ‘experts’–those moms who spoke with such authority, but somehow were her own age. This seems strange to me and has only become more strange as I encounter it. Young moms with such adamant and imperious advice. Young moms who really have no idea if these ‘rules’ they are laying down in black and white are actually going to bear fruit in the future, being as they have not lived them out yet.

How have you experienced either side of gatekeeping in online and real world spaces? In what ways do you limit your input to tried and true principles and people with authentic experience?

A letter from me to you, every week.

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