Why I choose to be a columnist

Those of us who write and are published do so for a wide variety of reasons.

We come from different places and have our own set of standards or boundaries that guide our choices of topic, tone and the positions on issues or subjects we take on.

I enjoy writing about my community and in this week of giving thanks I am very grateful for the opportunity to do so. What my fellow local community columnists have to say fascinates me.

I seek out their submissions and follow them from week to week. I also enjoy looking in the occasional window through their writings that allows me to understand just a little behind what makes them tick.

Sarah Smiley’s column this week reminded me of the differences the collective group of us have for doing what we do. Every week I look forward to Sarah’s columns.

The military influence on my family as I was growing up was minimal. My own father’s service in the Air Force was over well before I was even born.

My husband, on the other hand, is a child of a career Naval Officer, so when Sarah writes about the experiences of her own family it helps me relate to what his upbringing must have been like at some level.

Experiences mold us. This means both the good and positive ones and the ones that make us extremely uncomfortable.

I read all the comments that come my way because of what I write even the ones that make me squirm.

I prefer to know upfront what people think about what I have to say and my opinions.

My personal rule is that the day I can no longer take or stomach what comes back at me from what I put forth for public viewing and consumption, is the day I need to stop writing and providing the opportunity for that public consumption and feedback.

I do agree with Sarah that the comments which contain only personal attacks are best left on the floor as the garbage that they are.

They deserve no response, minimal attention and possible removal.

Comments that simply disagree are an important component to the overall discussion. Nothing provides a lesson in humility quite like being told publicly you are just plain wrong, ignorant, misguided or even hated for your views.

Personally, I like to think a significant number of those lessons in humility have molded me or guided me into being more forgiving, tolerant and patient.

They have definitely taught me how to take a deep breath, swallow my own pride to put forth a necessary apology or admission of being wrong on more than one occasion.

Several instances containing certain comments have been an important teaching opportunity for me and for my family that nothing ventured is nothing gained; that living life can bring you the risk of the negative and the reward of the positive but your own personal success all depends on how you handle it and what you choose to do with it.

If you don’t allow yourself to be tested on occasion, how will you ever know how to make the best of it?

I welcome the test. I welcome the constructive feedback.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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