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It's Not You; It's Me (Or Maybe Them)! Wednesday October 22, 2014

I remember writing this time last year about Apple Day, when a group of six local families, with children aged 5 to 15, got together with more apples than you could shake a stick at - or indeed, a whole tree - and chopped, milled and pressed for a whole day to produce an incredible amount of apple juice. Most of this apple juice would, naturally, become cider (and incredibly delicious it was too!)

This year we did it all again, with even more apples, but this blog isn't about the day, or the fun and comradeship or the immense glow of satisfaction we felt (together with blistered hands, aching shoulders and sore feet from standing all day) at our accomplishment. No, this is about something less pleasant.

You see, those among us who do Facebook, had, naturally, posted photos of the day and shared our plans for the apple juice. One of the team (I'll call her Susan) received some negative comments from a so called friend. This friend posted some remarks about the general undesirability of "normalising alcohol" for children.

Well, Ouch!

Now, everyone has their own views on this, ranging from the "They're not touching a drop until they're eighteen!" to the "The French have got it right; it's a part of the meal; just water it down for the youngsters." And nobody likes to be criticised. My friend was, naturally, rather hurt.

But, just hold on for a moment. I polled my own children (12 and 10) about this. Were we "normalising alcohol for them"? I asked - and was met with blank stares. "Where was the alcohol?" asked the youngest, baffled; "It was apple juice!"

"Huh. You grownups all had beer and wine afterwards." sneered my 12 year old. "But then, you always do!" (She declares she is going to become teetotal just as soon as she's old enough.) "I know you're going to make cider with it. I only hope fermentation comes up for a science project because then I can study the process and get top marks." (Hmmm – unlikely school topic, Sunshine!).

So, discussing it with Susan, we came to the conclusion that this criticism was not about Susan and her choices; it was about the sensitivities of her friend. The best thing to do was to take a deep breath, consider the different cultural values and life experiences this person might have for them to hold those views and, if she posted anything back at all, just to say that they could agree to differ on the subject.

Because sometimes criticism isn't valid: it's not you, it really is just them.

A Moodscope member.

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Sarah Wed, Oct 22nd 2014 @ 8:51am

Mary enjoying a fun filled day with adults collecting apples is teaching children social skills and team work. Loneliness and not knowing how to reach out is more likely to cause people to drink than knowing your parents made cider. Asking their opinion shows you respect and value them. No child likes to be ignored.

Anonymous Wed, Oct 22nd 2014 @ 10:38am

Super post Mary. And I agree with Sarah above. What a lovely day everyone had and negative comments should be ignored. I follow another blog where a lovely lady crochete and shares her pictures of every day life and what she is making...and the easy patterns. Recently, her blog included a reference to her mother being ill. She was lucky enoug to get hundreds of lovely thoughtful comments about her mum but included in those were two or three comments running her down for her choices of not going to her mother to look after her (three hundred miles away) visiting a show in London which she was booked into with her craft; and when she retorted back with comments asking bloggers not to be unkind as they don't know her circumstances, she got even more 'tellings off'!!! Why can't peeps just be kind and think that maybe such a way might not be how they would react to different circumstances....but not vent their nasty thoughts onto the shoulders of people who bear heavy burdens already? Sorry, I have gone on about this!

Anonymous Wed, Oct 22nd 2014 @ 11:21am

Thanks for sharing. Super sensitive people, including myself, often take criticism too personally and so it was great to have a reminder that sometimes we just have to brush it off and leave it where we should.....An apple day sounds a lovely idea and I'm looking forward to half term and doing some ridiculous things with my kids, no doubt including trick and treating....glad you enjoyed yourself and your kids sound very level headed and cool.

Suzy Wed, Oct 22nd 2014 @ 11:46am

Me too, way too sensitive. A grand post for me. Thanks Mary. Splendiferous, as always.

Anonymous Wed, Oct 22nd 2014 @ 11:57am

A lovely post.What a wonderful way to look at the situation! Perhaps the negative comments came from one who was actually jealous or envious of the good time and socializing Mary was enjoying.

Anonymous Wed, Oct 22nd 2014 @ 1:25pm

Excellent advice Mary! I swear that one of my greatest growth moments occurred when I finally understood that other people's stuff is just that - their stuff, not my stuff. Meaning that I didn't have to feel bad or feel guilty about someone else's issues. It's for them to worry about and I can just separate myself and think, huh, it's interesting that you think that. Nice post!

Anonymous Wed, Oct 22nd 2014 @ 11:11pm

I remember your apple post last year! :-) I love seasonal markers xx.

I'm sadly thin skinned and so this type of thing it would linger with me. But it shouldn't! Everything about the apple day is entirely positive, vibrant, inclusive, energetic, and I just simply wish I could be there! Love ratg x.

Anonymous Thu, Oct 23rd 2014 @ 2:32am

Criticism is ALWAYS about them (the ones doing the criticizing). We have a choice whether to agree or disagree.

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