Much has been written and discussed recently about a diatribe article with JDRF CEO Jeffrey Brewer, focusing on the organization’s focus and direction. Discussion on that article began online and some passionate parents of Children With Diabetes voiced their thoughts and views on the article and overall topic. Some expressed frustration with the direction while others didn’t. The Adult Type 1 community joined into the discussion, and unfortunately the conversation soon dwindled into a name-calling slug-fest onine between some CWD Parents and the Adult Type 1 community.
Here's the thing. I disagreed with some of the parents, and saw that they were attacking another Adult Type 1 about the focus of the JDRF while voicing opinions that it's all about their kids. But instead of simply responding with my views, I posted a comment that was written in the heat of the moment and had sarcasm, anger, and frustration dripping from it like insulin at the end of pump tubing. While I didn’t create the issue or tension that was evident in earlier posts, I fueled the fire and helped lead this discussion into what it became.
I regret this with every ounce of my being, and I apologize for that.
This community and everyone in it has saved my life and fed my soul, and the last thing I want is to see it drawn apart. What concerns me most is that some in this chat have described the Adult Type 1 online community as not being professional, holding the parents in disdain and enjoying the negativity and inflamatory drama.
That is absolutely incorrect. While I only speak for myself as one guy who's been diabetic for a long time, we do NOT have disdain for the parents of CWD. Rather, we have only respect and admiration. I’ve written on this theme repeatedly, as have many many many others.
It crushes me that our community can go after each other like this. I've been reduced to tears more than once about how I somehow was a part of a debate that ended with any parent of a Child With Diabetes thinking any Adult Type 1 thought they are pathetic. That breaks my heart, and I've considered tossing in the blogging towel because of my brief but monumental lack of civility.
But I've thought twice about that, realizing that while I may feel like I'm on the level of a Halle Berry cure-preaching snake oil salesman, this is all in my mind and it's time to move on. Together. So, I'm owning my mistakes and moving on. Hope you're willing to join me.
To me, this highlights the dangers of how we interact in this still-new, ever-expanding Internet world. Just because we can spout off with a few clicks of a keyboard, doesn’t mean we should. We must ALWAYS be mindful of what we are saying and how it’s being said, to do our best to not spark a forest fire where a few flames already exist. Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. Civility is key. Negativity achieves nothing, but destroys everything.
Allison over at Lemonade Life wrote a very balanced and reasoned post on this recently, and others have written similiar posts that emphasize our return to civility and working together against the common enemy of diabetes. Completely agree here, and I'm looking forward to that discussion continuing in that manner - on the JDRF or other issues facing our entire Diabetes Community. We're all in this together.
Reflecting on how this all came to be, I found some interesting thoughts in a recent Mitch Albom column on Jan. 30 from the Detroit Free Press. He was discussing the recent issue about how some NFL players turned to Twitter to voice their frustration after Jay Cutler's injury that took him out of an important game. Here's what Mitch wrote:
"Who knew there were so many closet Shakespeares in there? All they needed, apparently, was a writing tool that fit in their pockets. They've got it now -- iPhones, BlackBerrys, Droids -- and here is where theTwitter/Facebook universe is taking us: All thoughts must be expressed. Filters are for weaklings. Say it loud, say it proud! And never have to look a man in the eye."
He continues, "How cowardly for these athletes to take apart one of their own from the comfort of their living rooms. Apparently people like (those athletes) feel just because they once held a football, everything they say about the game or its players must be accurate."
This transcends into the Diabetes Community, and the embarrasing display of interaction we've had with some our own. The wise Jeff Hitchcock recently noted that people often turn into their evil twins when communicating online.
|Source: Steve O's Embargo blog.|
I'm going to unplug for a bit to find my Inner Chi. Maybe go listen to some #BluntLancet. Eat some bacon. Focus on those glittering unicorns and puppies. I'll be doing my own thing behind the scenes, just not as visibly in the blogosphere for now. Not sure how long, though. Then, count on my being back with the evil twin locked away in the virtual closet.
In the meantime, hope there's steady blood sugars on your end and I'll "see when I see you," or whatever the parliance is for that in this online universe.