Whose Life Is It To Share?

We share so much of ourselves these days.

Between Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, blogs, email, and texts, it’s easy to have almost every aspect of our lives spread all over the Internet for the enjoyment of family and friends.

And strangers.

Because so much of what you’re sharing is wide open to anyone anywhere with a computer or smart phone.

But that’s okay, right? It’s your choice to share yourself with the world. If your Facebook posts and Instagram photos are set to “public” or your Pinterest page features personal photos, that’s your business.

And if you write a mom or dad blog, with your personal thoughts about parenting, you have it set to publish to the world, to gain as big an audience as possible. I know I do.

This is where my question comes in. Whose life is it to share? I’m not talking about yours. That’s an easy answer. It’s your life to share.

But what about your kids? Did you ask them if it was okay to share their life with the world?

I started my dad blog nearly eleven years ago, when my kids were 5 and 2. It never occurred to me to ask for their permission. I certainly took some precautions to shield them from fame by not revealing their names, and to not feature close-up photos of their faces.

My kids have always known about my blog. They’ve just never been terribly interested in it. I blather on enough in real life, they don’t need to read even more of my daddy musings. They’ve lived through it already.

Several days ago, however, my daughter decided to read my blog. The first post she saw was about her having a very public meltdown over a spider when she was a 3-year-old.

“Well, that was embarrassing,” she told me. “I hope none of my friends see that.”

I was perplexed. I mean, she was a toddler. It was a decade ago. I asked her why it was embarrassing.

In her infinite teenage wisdom, she replied, “It just is! It’s my life!”

She makes a very strong point.

Now, I’m not going to go back through thousands of posts to edit or delete anything that might elicit a response from my daughter of, “Oh my god, Dad, why did you say that about me, I’m going to die!”

Because I’m confident there aren’t that many of those. Also, I don’t have the time.

But it sure has me thinking about what right a parent has to share so much of their child with the world.

Simply look to Hollywood and the world of former child stars who have struggled with being in the public eye at such a young age. Many of them either had no choice, or didn’t understand the ramifications of sharing so much of themselves with the world.

Will we be seeing a new generation of children angry with their parents for placing them front and center on a parent blog, or a YouTube channel, or anywhere a devoted following of fans can grow on the Internet?

As a parent blog reader, I’ve intruded onto some very intimate moments in some children’s lives. From bed-wetting to kindergarten crushes to pre-teen depression, there are any number of subjects that you wouldn’t normally discuss outside of your family or circle of friends. And yet, some bloggers do just that, whether to seek advice or commiseration or even fame.

As my daughter said, it’s her life. I’ve been careful over the years to maintain her privacy, but maybe not careful enough. For as much enjoyment I receive from keeping this blog, it’s not worth it if one of my kids feels that I’ve broken that unwritten confidentiality agreement that all members of a family should have with each other.

I wouldn’t be very happy if my daughter started a blog and wrote humorous out-of-context anecdotes about my piggish ice cream eating habits, or the unholy mess on my office desk, or the not-so-funny comment I made about the neighbor down the street.

It’s my life, and it’s up to me if I want to share it with the world.

Now go back and re-read that sentence in the voice of your child. If you want your kids to respect your privacy, it’s only fair for you to respect theirs. Next time you post a picture or story to the general public, think about whose life it really is to share.

A New Look

So, after ten years as “A Family Runs Through It,” I’ve made a little change. Or maybe it’s a big change.

It’s really just a name change.

New name, new look, new insights on being a dad.

Let me know what you think. Comments have been few and far between the past few years as everyone has moved their social interaction to Facebook and Twitter.

But it would be nice to know if anyone still reads this blog.

How to Kill Your Dad Blog

I’m in my tenth year of blogging.

Long time readers may have noticed a slight decrease in the frequency of my posts. Like, from 3 posts a week to 3 posts a month.

There are any number of reasons for this, and you might guess that I’ve just become much busier as my kids have entered their teen years. But, actually, the main reason for the slowdown in posts is that I went and did something I never thought I could do.

I became a morning person. Or, rather, I quit being a night owl.

For the first 8 years or so of this blog, I wrote my posts late at night, after the kids were asleep. I’d been active at night for as long as I could remember. Then, suddenly, it all changed when I looked in the mirror and noticed I was old, and old people have to go to bed really early, right? And they eat dinner at 4:30. And play shuffleboard.

No, I was just tired. Unbelievable exhaustion had set over me for some reason, and I realized that going to bed before midnight might just be the cure. It worked, and my late nights were over, and I became a morning person, and the blog posts withered in my mind as I lay my head down on the pillow for a good night’s sleep.

However, this blog is still here, and I’m still writing on it. There is still some value here for me. And maybe for you.

I’m not ready to kill my blog, as so many of my fellow dad bloggers from long ago have done. In fact, I was recently looking through my Google Reader Dad Blog subscriptions, and was surprised to see how many of them were gone, disappeared from the Internet as if they never existed.

But that’s a post for another day. It’s 10 o’clock, time for bed!

Lost

I’m not entirely sure what happened, but for a few days last week this blog was lost.

As in, completely gone, right off the Internets. Nine years of musings lost forever.

A part of me wasn’t too upset that I might not have this blog anymore. Life has been far too busy this past year to write on a regular basis.

But I was quite disturbed that all of my writings may have vanished into thin air.

I know, back up your files! Well, I’ve backed up everything else that was important: family photos and music. I hadn’t gotten around to making copies of my blog posts.

Luckily, I discovered that Google has kept a cached copy of my blog feed for the past 1000 posts. Good enough, I thought. But then, after three days of head-scratching, the technicians at my host company were able to reset the database on my site, and everything was back to normal.

Now to back up those blog posts properly. At the very least, I think my kids might want to read back through them some day. Just for giggles. Or for parenting advice.

I’m glad my blog isn’t lost.

Where Did I Go?

“Did you stop blogging?”

“Are you dead?”

“How come you aren’t giving more stuff away?”

All of these questions were not asked by anyone. In fact, nobody seems to have noticed that I haven’t written a blog post in three weeks.

Should that worry me? After eight years, and thousands of posts, does anyone still regularly read this blog?

I’ve been away because, for the past month, I’ve been involved in a massive fundraising activity for my son’s Scout troop. Well, not massive, but relatively big. Bigger than anything I’ve done before.

We just finished selling nearly $8000 worth of honey, BBQ sauce, and honey mustard. This involved a lot of standing around outside grocery stores pleading with people to buy our cute little honey bears. And they did, almost 700 bottles of the stuff.

It was a wonderful day when we packed up the signs and tables for the last time. The phrase, “Would you like to buy some honey to support my scout troop?” will forever echo in my memory.

Now I can tackle the to-do list that has been building for four weeks. And that includes quite a few unwritten blog posts.

To answer the questions:

Yes, I stopped blogging. But only temporarily. I have no intention to give up this blog just yet.

No, I’m not dead. I just need some sun.

In fact, I do have some cool things to give away. Watch this blog in the next few days for a contest from Wendy’s!

They Got Me

I am flummoxed, perplexed, and bamboozled.

The hackers got me, and there seems to be nothing I can do about it.

For over ten years, I’ve maintained various web sites for hobbies and interests. Actually, they haven’t needed much maintaining. A couple of them showed previous updates in 2003.

In the last few days, hackers hit them with a strange little code that connected to several porn sites. Not only that, but music and sound effects would play over top my pages.

Luckily, my blog was safe. For over seven years I’ve kept this blog and had little problem with it, first at Blogger and now at WordPress.

But then, just today, another very odd thing happened. As you can see if you scroll down a bit, roughly 4 months of posts are missing.

This is what has me perplexed. Where did those posts go? And how do I get them back? I really have no idea.

Thankfully, there are no porn links or strange sounds appearing here on A Family Runs Through It. Just 4 months of my family’s life missing.

Those old web sites I can delete. I don’t need to worry about the cats and the hats and the Seinfeld Quotes. But I do like my blog and want to keep it going.

The hackers have wounded me, but I’ll recover.