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Descriptive, Not Prescriptive

Say what?!

 As usual, I was scanning through my feed, pausing to read articles that caught my interest. Two articles stuck out to me. The first, from my dear friend April of First Time Mom and Dad, mused about trying to keep life "innocent" for her little boy by protecting him from the harsh ugly things in the world. The second was a momma blogger / former teacher who was detailing her bedtime routine for her littles.

While both articles enticed me to read them, I ended up deleting the latter from my feed entirely. Why?

Descriptive vs prescriptive. 

You see, there is always a purpose for writing. With an awareness of one's audience, the author seeks to persuade, describe, inform, entertain, solicit information, something. Any blog post has an agenda, even if its only aim is to get you to giggle over your morning coffee. 

The older I get, the more selective I am about what I read. While I can appreciate an odd prescriptive post here and there, my tastes run decidedly descriptive. I am interested in what people's lives look like, but I'm not looking to be told what to do with mine. When the agenda of the writer offends, I stop giving them an audience. That's what happened in this case. I did not appreciate the prescriptive "you should" piece, not so skillfully disguised in "here are our personal experiences" garb. Despite appearing to be describing her family's bedtime practices, the blogger was in fact attempting to impose her views about the importance of an early, rigid routine and dictate what her readers "need to" do with their own children. The underlying implication was that her way was the "better" alternative, and that she was an expert on the matter and should therefore be heeded. The condescending "remember, dear reader" advice at the end of the post sealed the deal for me.

By contrast, the first article I read was deeply personal and even touched on sensitive topics like God and faith, yet remained completely consistent to being a descriptive revelation of the author's thoughts on child-rearing. I didn't agree with everything she believes, but I can still appreciate why she wants to do the things she will do for the good of her kiddo. There's no desire in her writing to convince me to do as she does, nor does she imply that any other approach is less valid than hers.

I know what you're thinking - um, aren't you super guilty of this too, Mrs Loquacious?!?! Yes, I am. I was. I am actively working on taming my quill, and revisiting some of those molehills I scaled like mountains in my early weeks as a parenting fool. It happens to the best of us, I'm sure. The arrogance of ignorant youth and inexperience coupled with an internet connection and Google arms everyone with just enough enough ammo to self-destruct and leave behind a path of burned bridges and blistered hearts. 

But the more I live, the more I learn. And although I am unwavering in many of my positions about raising Little L, I dare not tell anyone else what they "need to" do, nor speak down to my readers as though you were all imbeciles or little children. Scratch that - I wouldn't talk down to toddlers or imbeciles like that either, because condescension is born out of a disrespect for one's audience. 

Anyway, consider this my mea culpa if I have offended you in the past with a particularly prescriptive post. Generally I do try to share only what I believe, not what you need to believe. And in the future may my post's intentions be abundantly clear! If not, feel free to call me on it.


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