Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Do-Overs

Remember, when you were a kid, how you demanded a do-over when something didn't quite work out as you'd wanted it to?

Yesterday I.'s camp called, just as I was about to feed N. lunch.  It was the camp nurse; apparently I. wasn't feeling well, his stomach hurt, he was hunched over a bucket.  She surmised that it was the heat (it was 93 degrees and about nine billion percent humidity), but suggested I come pick him up and give him a day at home.  So I did.  Of course, S. is away on business.  Because that's when my kids get sick: when it's a federal holiday, or when S. is away.

This morning, I. was dragging his feet about going to camp.  He ate his breakfast, took his usual hour to get dressed, made pleasant conversation.  Then he complained about having a headache.  Which went away.  Then a stomachache.  Which he claimed was better by the time we had to leave.  I took his temperature, and it was 99.  Or 100.  Or 98.9, depending on which time I swiped the thermometer across his head.  Yay for temporal thermometer consistency.  Not.

I hemmed and hawed.  He looked a little under the weather.  But I wanted him to go to camp.  I knew that he'd be bored at home, and terrorize his sister.  I knew he wouldn't nap.  Or lie down.  Or do anything else that would potentially make him better.  I told him that I would be happy to have him stay home if he was really sick.  But that if he wasn't really sick, this would not work.  Then I worried I was guilting him, and asked him if felt OK, for the eleventieth time.  He assured me yes, yes, he was fine.  So, conscience nagging at me, I packed him in the car, and sped up the highway to camp.

And of course, the call came just as I'd put N. down for a noon nap, just as she had gone to sleep.  He'd thrown up all over his group's clubhouse.  Would I come pick him up?

Sigh.  I wished I could do the morning over.  Did I ignore his symptoms because I wanted him to go to camp?  Because it's a little harder to manage alone when the two of them are home all day, when they have such different needs?  Why didn't I listen to my nagging conscience?

    .............

Yesterday, I wrote a post about the Chick-Fil-A controversy.  I weighed my words very carefully, trying to said only what I meant.  I posted, and waited.  JeCaThRe commented, correcting me: that it sounded as if I thought all Christians denounced gay marriage, and that used the words "Biblically sanctioned" for marriage, when in reality, the Bible says all sorts of things about concubines and polygamy.  [Edited later to add: let me be clear, I happen to really *like* JeCaThRe, and respect her observations about language ... this story may have turned out differently if it was someone else.]

I fretted, and went back to edit my post.  Do-overs may not be possible in real life, but it's easy enough to edit something online (discounting cached copies, of course).  I know that not all Christians--not even all Baptists are anti-gay marriage.  I also know that the Bible is full of complication.  I wanted to make sure I didn't give the wrong impression about my beliefs.  I worried a little about whether editing it was OK, but decided to go through with it anyway, because the edits weren't substantial (just clarifying, and I included a link to Cathy's statement).  But it nagged at me anyway.

JeCaThRe deleted her comment, which no longer really applied to my post. One of the things she wrote, which I really wanted to preserve, was this: "We'd do better seeking out companies that match our ethics than trying to play "gotcha" with the companies that don't."  It's a good point.  And it's an approach that's a lot more manageable than combing through the records of companies to find out where they're spending their profits.

But having her delete her comment made me realize I was having second thoughts about do-overs in blogging, especially given my own ruminations lately about truth in our writing.

SO: What do you think?  Is it acceptable to edit a blog post to more properly express what you meant in the first place?  Or do you need to stand by what you originally wrote, even if it's not quite what you meant?  If so, do you need to make disclaimers?  Where?  How?  Is there a certain amount of time in which edits are OK?
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14 comments:

(Not) Maud said...

It's your blog - if you want to change something, you've every right to do so. It's a record of your opinion, after all, so if you feel your words have done you an injustice, you should certainly change them.

On the other hand, if you stand by what you've said and others are getting their knickers in a twist about a matter of interpretation, I think then it might be more appropriate just to go back and add a disclaimer or explanatory note rather than changing things entirely.

I know I just put all that in the second person, but I suppose really it should be in the first person as meaning that's what I would do. But it's easier to type a whole new paragraph to tell you that than to go back and change it now. So much for revisionism.

Mud Hut Mama said...

Funny - I just posted something similar about looking for companies that I can stand by their ethics rather than looking for companies to boycott on your last post, however, if the information is given to you - you can't take that knowledge away and if I know I disagree with a company's ethics I would rather not support them.

I agree with (Not) Maud - it's your space and you have the right to do with it what you want but I think that disclosing that to your readers, as you've done here, gives you more credibility.

KeAnne said...

I remember that when D was sick a few times ago, I thought he felt warm (he wouldn't let us take his temperature), but he seemed ok otherwise and I took him to daycare because I needed to be at work that day. A few hours later I got the throw-up call and felt soooo guilty because I hadn't listened to my intuition. Bad mommy.

As for do-overs and blogging. I wish the comment hadn't been deleted because I think it's sort of like the "track changes" of blogging. I wouldn't edit your post; I'd write a new post or add an addendum or something showing the clarification or evolution of your thought process based on the comment.

Esperanza said...

Oh J, that sounds like a really tough day.

I don't think you should feel bad about sending I. to camp. Probably he really did feel fine when he went. I know, especially with stomach stuff, that I can feel fine in the morning and then later in the day I feel awful. If he had really felt bad he wouldn't have gone, or you would have known. And even if you really did want him to go, is that such a bad thing? and is it really such an awful thing to throw up at camp? Throwing up sucks no matter where you do it, unless he was mortified by the experience, I wouldn't worry to much about it.

As for the blog post, first off I wanted to say I thought it was a great post. I didn't comment because I was still trying to decide it I was going to post about it myself and I didn't want to write my whole post in your comment section and then rewrite on my blog. I also wanted to put up a link if I did post about it. But then life got in the way and while I left it open in a tab on my browser to remind myself to come back to it, I haven't yet.

I think you can absolutely go back and change a post. There have been times when I have done that, early on, before many comments had shown up. The only time I'd felt it wasn't appropriate was when there were quite a few comments up that wouldn't have made sense with the changes, and in those instances I added an addendum further explaining what I wanted to change (my SAHM mom post comes to mind here).

I also don't think it's really fair for someone to call you out on using "biblically sanctioned" when the people who are against gay-marriage (that you're referring to in your post) say they feel that way BECAUSE of what is taught in the bible. It's true there is a whole lot of everything in the bible and people like to pick and choose the rules they adhere to, but if they say they are anti-marriage because of the bible, it seems fair to explain it that way. And it's true that not all Christians or Baptists are anti-gay marriage but when a group speaks out and says they are anti-gay marriage BECAUSE of their Christian beliefs, people are going to take that make the assumption that a lot of Christians also feel that way, as they also adhere to Christian beliefs. This is one of the reasons I shy away from organized religions, because it's so easy for what someone else who is a part of that faith says to be used to judge me and what I think. I'm just not comfortable with that at all. I believe even the Dahli Lama is somewhat anti-gay (I'm forgetting where I read this or what exactly I read so please don't quote me on this) and I remember thinking, man, there really is no organized spiritual practice that is safe from prejudice, is there? I can't imagine feeling comfortable enough with an organized religion to actually say that I follow that faith, because I'd be too worried of other people misrepresenting me.

Anyway, that became a whole other rant that I wasn't intending, but it has its place here I guess. I hope tomorrow is a better day and that I. feels better. When is this marathon solo parenting gig over? It's been AGES!

Stephanie said...

My first reaction is that I don't think we should edit blog posts and change the content, because it isn`t transparent. I guess I figure that I choose to blog publicly. I can retract, or write a new post with explanation, or apologize...but just changing things without comment seems a bit less honest. (That said, I`ve definitely done it before! And now I write a fluff blog with zero politics, so it`s easy for me to say that we shouldn`t go back and change things.) In the end, it`s your space and you need to do what makes you feel comfortable!

jhl said...

I think I'm agreeing with you all ... that it would have been better for me to edit in text, even, with a disclaimer, than to change it without saying so ... even if it *was* early on. It's not that I wasn't standing by what I said, but more that JeCaThRe knew what I meant better than I wrote it.

I'm appreciating the feedback!

inBetween said...

edit, I don't see why not. Life is too short to not take advantage of do-overs when you can.

love, inB

Kathy said...

I could so relate to part one and your son being sick and you not being sure what to do and the regret... I have been there a few times and it really taps into that mother guilt. But as we say in a support group that I go to, "we make the best decisions we can, with the information we have at the time." Remembering that makes me feel better when I question myself about my choices, epescially related to parenting.

As for part two... I only just now read and commented on your post and purposely waited to read/comment on this one until afterwards, when I skimmed it and realized you were referring to that in this. I get what others are saying about editing, but I think it depends on the situation and why you are revisiting what you wrote.

Two years ago after I "came out" about my (already public) blog to extended family and friends, I realized (the hard way) that some loved ones were hurt by how open I had been about them or things related to them over the years. I had the best of intentions, but in the end went back and edited three years of blog entries to remove or make more general any references to the people who were uncomfortable with what I shared. For the most part it didn't change the content of the posts, just how the people I was writing about were referred to. I also took out some details that were for the most part irrelevant to the main reason I was blogging, but seemed important to me at the time.

Now when I blog I am aware that these people may be reading and don't share things that I know now they wouldn't want me to. They weren't reading back then or I likely would have never shared it.

So I think, as with most things in life, there is no clear answer here and you have to take each instance as it comes and decide what to do based on what works and make sense to you.

I know its rare that we get real "Do-Overs" in life, but our blogs, are our blogs and I believe that we can and should do what we want with them.

Beth said...

Oh dear, I remember those days with small children, and never knowing if I was making the right decision. It really sounds like you tried your best, and we can never have perfect foresight. Hope everyone is feeling well today.

And you've made me curious about your earlier post -- must check it out.

Liddy said...

When I have had to make edits or an addendum, I have always made a new post.

An ICLW Visit from #63
liddy @ the unfair struggle (mfi, speedskating, 1st 2ww)

Adele said...

Poor I, and poor you. I don't think you should beat yourself up about it. To be honest, I kind of admire the fact that I was so stoic about it all...there are a lot of situations where you do just have to muddle through, and, okay, maybe you'd do the morning differently. But the fact that you have such a hardy kid is pretty good.

On the blogging front, it's hard to say. I think first and foremost, I agree with the fact that this is your space. Also, I think you are absolutely ethical about things (and very honest) and - what's more - you create dialogue/discussion around these very topics (as you are doing now).That's a good thing. As far as editing - blogging is a very specific format because it IS possible to wipe the slate clean. And unless someone has printed out hard copies, the previous information is gone. For example, I've gone back through my blog and removed certain identifying information, retroactively. I know it's not the same thing but I guess what I'm saying is that anybody who is here - and who is familiar with blogging - knows that it's a much more malleable form of written word than anything which appears in "hard copy".

Stupid Stork said...

I think editing a smidge is fine in some instances.

Like you said, if you looking back decided "oh crap, I should've made it more clear that I wasn't talking about ALL christians" then I think it's awesome to go back and edit to make that more clear.

As long as, ESPECIALLY with something like this where you're basically standing up on behalf of other human beings, you don't SILENCE yourself.

And, you know, for the possibly-being-offensive record, I am completely disgusted by chick-fil-a (and to think, for something other than their food!) I have a sick love for Muppets to begin with which has now been strengthened. ;)

I also think, for the record, and as a person who is admittedly happily without religion, I think the Christian's that DON'T think like this are BADASS. Particularly because they probably have waaaay more pressure to be otherwise.

In short, I heart Kermit the Frog.

Jjiraffe said...

Editing is the blogger's call, I think. And, disclosing it if it's a major change: another way to do an edit is to put at the top of the post in question "Edited Below" with an explanation at the bottom in bold font of the edits. I've seen that on a few posts, and I like that method...

I'm so sorry I's sick. Also: this: "Because that's when my kids get sick: when it's a federal holiday, or when S. is away." ME TOO!!

Detour said...

I like the idea of adding and "ETA"-type disclaimer. I've struggled with this before, too. I wouldn't worry too much about tiny changes, though!

I'm sorry about all the camp/sickness stuff with your son. I would have taken him to camp, too!

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