Cheetahs In My Shoes

living with the imaginary menagerie and all that it entails

Behaving Yourself – sometimes known as “Doing the Right Thing”


Yesterday I was interviewed by an assessor who was looking at the use of ICT in my children’s school.

For those of you yet to embrace this code it means “Information and Communication Technology” and we were talking about all sorts of stuff – the development of the ‘tech’ that the children have access to, keeping up with that ‘tech’ in a home and school environment, the way my children see “ICT” as a positive (well ignoring the fights over who’s going to go on which website first) and how fantastic it is that the school integrates technology into pretty much every aspect of their teaching and learning experiences.

Then she moved onto asking us about e-safety.  I’m fortunate in that the Cheetah Keeper’s sister comes home and is happy to give me a fairly detailed account of everything that they’ve learnt or done that day – sometimes slightly too detailed but I remain delighted in the fact she wants to tell me, as opposed to signing the ‘code of silence’ that most children adhere to from the minute they go to pre-school.

This term in their ICT lessons they’ve been learning about staying safe online – about how not to put your surname on any websites and checking with your parents before navigating away from a site that they’ve said you can go on.  Awesome (although explaining that I have to put my surname on online payments/orders was a tad tricky).  They’ve also been learning about sending emails; not just the principles of putting a name in the ‘to’ box as an email address and clicking ‘send but also remembering that you need to be polite, and use words properly.

Over the last week or so there’s been a fair amount of discussion in the blogs that I read about how people treat each other.  Mammasaurus, I Want My Mummy, BritMums, The Mummy Whisperer, Who’s the Mummy and Rosie Scribble have all written about it (so far) and there are comments pinging around faster than the biscuit packets can be opened.  It’s now part of the curriculum for the under 7’s to learn the very basics of how we relate to each other online – goodness me, do we really need a revolution, or a learning outcome or instructions on how to behave in a civil manner?  Apparently so.  That’s not one saying we need to be a great loved up bunch of folk who agree on absolutely everything – just ones that can act in a way (especially from the comfort of hiding behind our laptops) that is respectful, fair and appreciative that we all have different views and opinions.

Back in the Autumn I was fortunate enough to attend a seminar for work, that was run by Prof. Roger Steare – all about ethics, corporate responsibility and how they can relate to international trade.  Whilst to some this sounds possibly the dreariest subject in the world, ever, to me this was a chance to rekindle my love of the study of business ethics inspired by Polly who (when she’s not teaching ethics, sales, marketing and other business skills) blogs over at JournalRead.

English: Ethicability: How to Decide What's Ri...Prof. Steare has written the book: Ethicability ® (n) how to decide what’s right and find the courage to do it.

I loved the seminar. I bought the book.  It’s my reading material when *ahem* watching my children doing their gym class. I talk about it (probably too much) at meetings.  I try and use it to make judgements in my home and working life – to assess what the values I live by really are.

It fascinates me – his research, the way in which we behave and the way the society leads us to act in certain ways – how old we are, what we do for a living, what we’ve learned over time, what society ‘expects of us’ all affect the way we, not to put too finer point on it, ‘are’.  How we interact with others, the behaviour choices that we make.

If you visit the ethicability website you can explore your own Moral DNA.  In that many of you reading this will be parents (and possibly Stay At Home ones too) I suspect your ethic of care may be on the high side.  Go and explore – it’s nothing scary but it may make you think!

In the bloggerspehere, conflicts arise all the time.  Opinions differ (and what good reading that makes!), principles and values collide.  Throughout the seminar and the book Prof Steare talks about asking the RIGHT questions and personally, I don’t think we need a revolution, I think we need to ask these questions of ourselves before launching into comments, actions or otherwise…

  • What are the Rules (laws, regulations, codes of conduct, anything you must or must not do – in blogging this could relate to use of text, intellectual property or images)
  • Are we acting with Integrity – what are your principles – do they include things like fairness, courage, discipline, trust, honesty and hope?  I love the BritMums “Blogging with Integrity” strapline – their badge on my blog makes me think before I hit publish.
  • Who is this Good for?
  • Who could we Harm?  Do you really need me to explain these two?
  • What’s the Truth? There’s a biggie.  In some cases the truth is very clear cut, sometimes it isn’t.

Considering how others feel about an issue (as a thought, if it’s been blogged about, the author probably feels quite strongly about the subject!) and thinking about how what you’re doing or writing will make them react is a really good foundation for honest, balanced debate.  Writing something that others disagree with is not wrong if you have thought through what you’ve written – not just done something for the sake of the here and now.  We all make mistakes – but if they’re honest ones, where’s the issue?

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I love the blogging community.  It makes me sad when people are upset or hurt by other peoples’ actions.  To be able to put our thoughts, feelings, creations and experiences onto our blogs is skill that no generation before us has been able to learn or take enjoyment from – let’s continue to celebrate our diversity, open up the debate, comment, share the love and all those good things – remembering along the way that those words, pictures and occasional moments of sheer bonkers-ness are created by people with real emotions and feelings.  You don’t have to agree, but think about how you share your opinion.




Author: Jenny

Life, photos and recipes mixed with family life, additional medical needs and a whole load of imaginary friends

20 thoughts on “Behaving Yourself – sometimes known as “Doing the Right Thing”

  1. This is such a well articulated post. They are very good questions that I think we should perhaps ask ourselves daily, and not just when writing blog posts either. Very thought provoking x

  2. Well said! It doesn’t sound like a dreary subject, and a great comparison.

  3. What a brilliant and beautifully written post! Really inspirational.

  4. Food for thought! I think people can find it all too easy to forget that if you name a blogger and attach something negative to them then that really can affect their image and how they feel.

    Would they say the same face to face? I very much doubt it!

    I think promoting better communication is the way forward 😀

    • It’s all too easy to hide behind your laptop and type things you would never say to someone in person (or if you did, you may stand the chance of being thumped!) – if one thing should go into the curriculum I would say that thinking before you press send should be it!

  5. I think sometimes it comes down to peoples motivations. There are some who get a kick out of identifying a soft target and putting the boot in – which leads us to bullying. The majority of us behave with care and consideration. It’s the bullies who like to “troll” for trouble!
    Nice use of the word “Awesome” btw!

  6. Really well said. I would never say anything online or otherwise that I wouldn’t say to some ones face, but I’m a big believer in honesty and I think that is something that should be respected rather than used as a weapon.
    Communication is key!

  7. Thanks for letting me know you’ve blogged about this – both because I loved your post and because it’s a little weird to have people talking about stuff I’ve said, but not necessarily telling me ;o)

    I also find human behaviour, ethics and morals fascinating – I tend to look at it in terms of values, but it’s similar. We’d have fun over a cup of tea chatting about this!

    Just one little clarification which a few people have missed from my post – my campaign isn’t specifically about the blogging community, it’s just starting there to get a ground swell. It’s actually about the fact that I feel that us Mums aren’t valued highly in society at the moment, so we need to feel stronger, look after ourselves, and that we can shoot ourselves in the foot when we do fall out because of the manner in which we tend to do it. One of the ways I was suggesting we do it is have the idea put in Mums heads that when they next fall out with someone they take a step back, try standing in their shoes, and realise that we can stand together with different opinions.

  8. I love this post. The book sounds really interesting, thanks for introducing it to us! I think sometimes it is a lack of confidence–people react (rather than respond) when they incorrectly feel attacked–a different point of view can feel like an attack when you’re not especially confident. They may do a few troll like activities as a result, in an attempt to even the score or whatever. I do think lack of confidence is more prevalent in a stay at home parent community because many women who are not out in a workplace environment don’t have the opportunity for improvement or the chance to get positive feedback for hard work.

    I remember reading on an American blogger’s site that she was receiving a lot of nasty comments after a post she wrote. She changed her profile pic to one of her with her child and the mean comments dried up. She since read that using an image with a child in it makes it more difficult to respond openly negative for whatever reason. Perhaps because people are reminded that there is a real person behind the blog? A parent just like them? I don’t know.

    Thought provoking!!

    • Thank you so much for your insight and feedback – I really appreciate it. I agree that a profile pic with a child will remind people that the writer is indeed human – it’s a shame we need reminding!

    • Michelloui, you are sooooo right about the lack of confidence thing. Have you watched ‘Living with the Amish’ at all – it was fascinating that only when one of the families really tried to push their views on the kids that the kids kicked back. The rest of the time the Amish were so comfortable with their own way of thinking that it made the kids respect them. Maybe that is why the problem appears at times to be more prevalent amongst mothers, as there is both a loss of confidence and a loss of social power that occurs in some of us to some degree.

      I keep meaning to find out where on earth I put my old avatar in for blog comments lol – I might follow your advice and put in one of me with my daughter. Interestingly my post about this subject, all be it written more in my own words without a preface, didn’t get half the rather unexpected reaction that the one on the BritMums site did – and it had a picture of me and Willow!

  9. Thanks for the mention, Jenny, I still remember those tutorials when we were debating ethics, good stuff 🙂

  10. Interesting post, one for me to revisit. Made me think which is always a very good thing. Thank you.

  11. This is a really good post, especially for new bloggers (and some of the old, I might add!). I think the problem is that once it is typed and published it is kind of permanent. It implies that the author has given it some consideration, and really believes it, whereas when speaking face to face flippant comments can be rectified, qualified, or withdrawn more easily. It is difficult to get the balance right, because nobody benefits from bland comments, and readers who don’t speak their mind. The trick is to say what you really believe, but in a constructive way, and that is something that has to be taught – it doesn’t always come naturally.

    • Thank you! It was a post that had been brewing in my mind almost from the very beginning of my blogging – and I’m still learning to write what I really want to say without offending people – although I have mellowed greatly with motherhood. I completely agree that bland comments benefit no-one but a little thought before writing something that will be difficult to recitfy or justify benefits us all.

Thank you for your comments! The Cheetahs and I really appreciate them.

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