Respect Please


Its not very often that I express my personal views on this forum. Overall, I try to keep this space very neutral and more of a happy, healthful space. But the past few months the conversations and statements that have been floating around the media, both in the news and throughout social media, have been quite disturbing to me. And at last, I must vent.

When I first became a mother, one of the benefits I valued so much was the sense of community. I felt I was welcomed with open arms into a loving, nurturing, and considerate community. There were so many encouraging places I could turn to for support: my neighborhood mothers’ group,  online support groups, and often times, through my friends on Facebook. I’ve always found all of these forums to be a safe and positive place to discuss serious (and not so serious) hurdles we all face as parents.

But as of late, this feeling of positivity and encouragement has diminished. The most sacred spaces I once enjoyed, are now overshadowed with negativity and hatred towards other fellow parents. Those forums I considered openminded and nurturing, and those friends whose opinions I highly valued, are no longer. I’ve become disenchanted and disappointed by the supportive “parents club” I once so valued.

My disappointment began the day of the measles outbreak at Disneyland back in December (in case you have been living off the grid lately, here is an article posted shortly after the outbreak occurred). This outbreak created fear in all parents, those with vaccinated children and those with not. All parents alike were worried about the health of their children and were looking to their support systems for guidance. But what I found was not a loving, safe place {created by the same parents who hype up this false sense of community}, but hatred and judgement towards other concerned parents.

Many forums I relied on for intelligible conversation became immature and downright degrading. Comments were made from one parent to another that they should be “shipped to an island and left for dead,” or told that they “didn’t care about their children.” Then there was endless name-calling: “stupid,” “ignorant,” and “liars.” I’m sorry, but since when is it acceptable behavior to spew hate and discriminate against other fellow parents (or people in general)? I find it hard to believe that a lot of these people (who are my “friends”) would dare say such disrespectful comments such as these if they were face to face with a parent of an opposing belief.

This post is not to discuss vaccinations, either for them or against. It is about respect. It is about common curtesy. It is to remind every parent out there about what it means to be tolerant and supportive of one another. And it is a reminder to represent the type of behavior you want to role model for your children-one that does not allow hatred and bullying towards others. It is a reminder to practice compassion towards others. And lastly, it is to remind you that you will never understand another parent’s situation until you are in their shoes. With understanding, knowledge, and compassion, I would suggest getting to know them before passing judgment on their decisions.

It is my hope that all parents will take a step back and remember what it is to respect one another. I long for that sense of community I once felt, and I do wish I’m able to find it again.

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