There are so many outlets that allow us to permanently etch memories of our children in electronic stone for all the world to witness. You can share a video of your baby’s first steps with your YouTube subscribers, write about the cutest thing your toddler said for the masses to read, and tweet about the award your child just won at school.
Or you can share that your 8-year old is still having accidents at night, and post a video of your 6-year old running around naked while singing. You can blog about the horrible body odor your 13 year old has developed, update your status with details of how your preschooler has been acting like brat, and tweet about what a jerk your 16 year old has been.
In today’s world, we each have an around-the-clock audience, ready to hear about our kids- their highs and lows.
I’m not proposing that we fake it on social media about how consistently wonderful and pleasant our children are, loosing our authenticity. But in an age where sharing the lows of parenthood on very public social media outlets is encouraged and often applauded, I believe that a deliberate effort to honor our kids- both their present and future selves- is necessary. Certainly it’s a fine line to walk, one that I struggle with.
If my son reads my Facebook status updates or blog posts about him ten years from now, will he feel embarrassed and unloved? Or will he feel celebrated and treasured as he looks back on his mom’s writings about him? Or what if you take to Twitter to share that your teenage son’s girlfriend just broke his heart- would he be humiliated or grateful for what you shared?
Dr. Seuss famously wrote, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” The embarrassing, less favorable moments of a child’s life aren’t always meant to be shared. You would respect another adult by not sharing those sorts of moments with the public. Likewise, not everything needs to shared about children.
As I share about my little ones on Facebook and other social media outlets, I am committed to honoring their dignity and personhood, wanting to instead leave a trail of treasured thoughts and memories for them to discover and cherish one day.