You read about that once, now what?
6 Ways to Read—or NOT to Read—a Blog
Two different friends, two pots of tea. One dear friend (unwittingly) helped me conclude something that has pestered me for quite some time about how we process new information. The other helped me put words to some things that are right. Both conversations had something to do with information we had extracted from blogs.
When we take in new information and process it, our learning styles and personalities play a major role as to how we will synthesize that newly obtained knowledge. Some of us question everything, some of us question only the speaker, some are too trusting to question at all. Some of us will not retain what is read or heard, or vice versa.
Some will never trust a blog; I once had a doctor tell me “The internet is a sanitized version of a bathroom wall—anyone can write on it and nothing is useful.” I must chuckle at that years later; I was dying a slow death and he could not solve it. It was my own research, ironically via the internet, that led to positive conclusions to my health crisis. Which camp are you, how do you learn and retain information? And, if you happen to believe a blogger or podcaster along the way, to what extent are you willing to incorporate that knowledge into your life?
Stick with me and I will end on a positive note, I promise. But to start this conversation, I think we need to discuss three ways to NOT incorporate everything you read into your life.
Three Ways to NOT read a blog:
1) Medical Advice
There some brilliant bloggers out there that you have come to trust. Me, too. What you might not know is that there are a few private Facebook groups where they can bounce ideas and ask questions from one another. One comment heard repeatedly is this one: “someone is asking me for medical advice, even after I said I’m not a doctor.”
I get why, I totally do.
If you are in a desperate search for answers (something I have been repeatedly), and it becomes evident that someone out there knows what they’re talking about, of course you have questions! Of course you trust them. Gosh, I wish I lived next door to Wardee from GNOWFLINS or Andrea from It Takes Time. Jessica from Delicious Obsessions could invite me over for tea and I’d accept! In fact, the book “AutoImmune: The Cause and the Cure” from Annesse & Kristen (read the blog at Nature Had It First) did more to help me help myself than any singular medical professional I have ever visited. So yeah, I get it.
But this is the thing: unless the blogger has stated medical licensure, they are not to dispense medical advice. They are passionate about these things because they want to help you find answers. They are filling a vital role in the lives of readers everywhere—they are helping you ask the right questions and seek the right medical help. They are encouraging you to change negative lifestyle habits into positive ones…but they have never intended to replace your medical care in any form or fashion. So try the herbal remedy to soothe a baby’s earache but don’t forgo real medical care when necessary. Try a natural solution to stopping hair loss, but consider a full medical evaluation to determine the root cause, also (“root” cause…get it? Snort.).
2) How Do You Know? <or, “Epistemology”>
The first friend, the first pot of tea: she expressed some likely (yet controversial) theories that she had read recently.
“Okay,” I said.
“No, not okay,” she said.
Truth. Act now. My life should be different because of this Truth. The strange thing is that I agreed with what she said as something to be seriously considered. It wasn’t that I disagreed with the statements. I disagreed with the emphatic insistence equally placed on all-things-read. I felt a wave of impossibility at the notion of incorporating all of these great ideas with equal fervor.
Is all truth equal in practical application? We feel so much passion about so many things. Sometimes we face the brutal discovery that we have to choose between things we believe to pick “the lesser of evils,” and sometimes life happens and things are less than ideal. What truth will I live and die by? And will all things I believe to be true hold equal position in my life? Will I allow all beliefs (whether it is about food sourcing, homesteading, or preparedness) equal passion in my life?
We read because we thirst to learn more. We all must fight the urge, though, to insist that others must be learning our lessons as we ourselves are learning them. I think the point here is grace. We must remember to separate theory from fact, to remain teachable ourselves, and to remember that we are all not ready to learn the same things at the same time–no matter how much passion we feel about them.
3) As a Mandate to Feed Your Overactive Guilt Gland
These are the “should” statements. I should check the batteries in the smoke detector, defrost the freezer, change my passwords, and clean the dishwasher. I should. I am not denying that I should. But has anyone noticed just how long that list has gotten these days? Gak.
At Pantry Paratus, we want to encourage you to make conscientious decisions about your food. When we post articles about the unsustainability of palm oil or the ethics of cacao harvesting or even about how to choose healthy and ethical seafood—we are never, ever trying to overwhelm anyone. We want to give you information that will help fuel positive decisions moving forward. We want to encourage you that you can find positive alternatives, to not give up. We hope that you see our blog as a positive motivator that encourages growth and progress.
Three Ways to Read a Blog:
1) Between Friends
Most bloggers want to hear from you, what works and what does not. We want an ongoing conversation with you because we learn from your questions and from your experience. If I could share a pot of tea with you, I would. You bring the scones.
2) Good Ideas
We do not claim to have the absolutely only way to make lard or pickled eggs or anything else. But we do have some pretty good ideas, many of which we learned from you. So if you’re looking for how to can ground beef or for ways to get your kids in the kitchen with you, sign up for a weekly email that simply gives the weekly’s blog titles to you through an RSS feed. You can quickly decide what interests you and never miss a thing. Check the bottom of this blog for the sign-up. While you’re there, sign up for our newsletter, too…that’s usually bi-weeklyish, and will give you the heads up on our latest sales and giveaways.
Second friend, second pot of tea: we agreed that the “should” list can lead to the overwhelming sensation of inadequacy…but contrast that with a kind word from a friend. Those can remind us of the things that are really important. This is a big one for me, and very often the reason I read blogs in the first place. Life is tough, homesteading is as full of heartbreak as it is joy. The precarious balance between healthy food, time management, and the family’s food budget can drain us (see #3 on how NOT to read a blog), and we sometimes need to know we aren’t alone.
Pantry Paratus will encourage you to produce, prepare, and preserve your harvest.
Thanks for stopping by and reading our blog. Do you have anything you would add to our list of 6? Share it with us, and let us know if you blog, too…we’d love to stop by!
Don’t forget the scones,
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Bathroom wall photo credit: TheSeafarer via photopin cc
“Before the Shot” by Norman Rockwell