Monday, August 29, 2011

A Plea for Accuracy

We all have passions.  Sometimes these passions come in the form of a "cause" - something we want to educate people on, and help them learn about and put into practice.  There are MANY of these in the parenting community.  There's baby wearing, vaccinating (or not), delaying solids, breast feeding, car seat safety, water safety, birth choices galore (natural, epidural, VBAC, repeat C-Section, water, home, hospital).  I'm just gonna stop there.

Whatever it is that you are passionate about, if you're going to argue it with people, you MUST BE ACCURATE!  Otherwise you just invalidate yourself to whoever catches you, and possibly your entire cause.  It's kind of a sad reality that we are quick to judge groups of people based on small sample sizes, but it's human nature, I think.  We take what we know and we run with it until we're proven wrong.

Breast feeding advocates: If you tell people that your boobs will cure cancer or that formula is poison, you're going to illicit eye rolls and scowls, and whoever you say these things to is going to assume you're talking out your rear end.  They're not going to listen to you, and they may never listen to a breast feeding activist again, because "they're all crack pots." *

VBAC advocates: If you tell women that the only way they'll ever get a VBAC is using a midwife and birthing at home, that all OBs are just scapel-happy psychos wanting to slice women open at the drop of a hat, you're gonna scare some people off, or at best make them lose hope.  Rather than fighting for what they want, you've convinced them that they have no options, because they don't want a home birth, or there are no midwives in their area.

Car seat safety advocates: If you're going to quote laws in an article you write, you should probably make sure you're right.  Double check your facts.  If you tell someone that a sippy cup is a lethal projectile in a crash, then that same someone may go to Google and search "death by sippy cup" and realize that you're full of crap.  Suddenly, everything you've told them, and everything they've read about car seat safety is seen as a racket, a bunch of bull, totally pointless.  "What else are you exaggerating or making up? Rear facing probably isn't 5 times safer, either." **

I think my point is obvious.  Advocating is awesome.  Advocate to your heart's content.  Shout from roof tops, spam your Facebook with facts and links and videos, write a blog that does or doesn't make money.  Do whatever you want to get the word out.  But whatever medium you choose, BE ACCURATE, otherwise you're hurting the cause for everyone else that actually knows what they're talking about.

* Breast milk is awesome stuff, and it's best for babies if it's available to you.  It has remarkable healing properties, and it's possible that maybe, possibly, theoretically, it can cure cancer. Maybe it has at some point in time.  It's cured pink eye and diaper rashes and eczema, anyways. But it's not the cure that scientists are looking for still.  Also, while formula has caused the death of babies in various circumstances, it's still a valid alternative when breast milk is not.

** Projectiles are a legitimate concern in a traffic collision.  A plastic, soft spout sippy cup CAN and HAS done extensive damage to the heads and faces of small children.  I encourage you to Google it if you're interested, or think I'm full of crap. ;)

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