Friday, 20 June 2008

Friday 20th June 08

Gill took the boys to school and I got up slowly. I then let Gill sleep for the morning and I did a load of phone calls re Fiddlesticks bookings and preparation for the Northern Green Gathering which is at Lime Tree Farm near Ripon.

Received a comment about the anonymous comment yesterday, from regular reader Annabelecowarrior, a fair comment but once again, if you were a fly on the wall, you'd see how this family works, and there is no way that it is possible to understand that just from what I put in my online journal. As for my son damaging my laptop... what can I do? I left it in a place where he could get at it, I know he suffers terribly from his anger, and regrets it afterwards. Punishing him just makes things worse. I do not want to do anything which exacerbates his negative feelings about himself or increases his anger towards everybody else. He knows he damaged my property, he feels guilty about that. As we do not have lots of toys/gadgets etc, we cannot 'ban him from the X box' (no X Box!) and I'm very loath to put him in his room, grounding him, as this just doesn't work (CENSORED) If someone has no experience of an angry pre-teen, they will just not know how difficult it is. Interestingly, my visitor yesterday was very sympathetic as he has a difficult child who has particular needs and associated behavioural problems. It was good to have that understanding!

Did some gardening in the afternoon... potted up a pepper, a couple of tomatoes, pruned out sideshoots on the big tomatoes, now as tall as me. Then, as usual, all too soon, 3pm came and I had to go to school to pick up the kiddies. Just for once, to appease my critics, I'll tell in more detail than normal what I did re childcare/parenting. My youngest son is very tactile and likes to poke me, push me, and this afternoon I messed around with him, picked him up, gave him piggy-back rides etc. My friend Andy and I chatted, as his daughter and my eldest son are both capable of coming out very late. His daughter came out crying as she'd had a difficult occurrence just before hometime, and so between us we tried to cheer her up. The Green Thumbs Gang stall was in the playground, selling spinach, lettuce, chili plants, and potted marigolds with packets of lettuce seeds. I suggested to Andy's daughter that she come and see the stall (distraction technique) and she fell in love with the marigold/lettuce combo. However it was £2 and Andy only had 60p... so with his permission I lent her the money so she could get the marigold. My eldest son had come out and I took his school bag and asked him to get his lunchbox. Then he wanted to play kickaround with his friends so I asked him to decide whether he should stay and play or come home immediately. He said stay, so I said he could have 10 or 15 minutes, I chatted with a mum and played with my youngest on the climbing equipment.

On the cycle home I chatted to my eldest about his project, which is a pretend business based on coconut products. We had a good conversation. When we got home we continued some conversations about this and other issues. I cooked tea on the woodstove... boiled basmati rice with turmeric, cumin, asafoetidia and home-made sweet paprika, fried the marinaded tofu until tough, as it's nicer that way rather than soft and squidgy, and fried some onions, and grated carrot, added sweetcorn from a tin, peas from the freezer, put the cooked rice with that and added some cubed fresh tomatoes (rescued from the compostables!). So tea, eaten all together, was a bed of rice and veg, marinaded sweet and sour tofu with home-grown oyster mushrooms, garnished with cashew nuts. All of the family loved this and all complimented me on my cooking skills, which was kind of them. Pudding was fruit and ice-cream. Then coffee for Gill and myself and the boys requested a stint on the computer each, we negotiated 40 mins each.

A fairly typical family evening. Bathwater heated on the woodstove, both boys had a bath. I did more apples for drying. I sorted out my sister's bag of dried fruit which she asked for a long time ago. The boys headed for bed. Gill fell asleep and I watched a crap 1970's film.


Aliboo said...

Hi John,

I just want to add my two pence!

Please don't feel you have to justify or defend your life in any way at all. You have a right to include in your blog what you choose and equally exclude anything you choose not to include - and you can give brief details about things without the need to go into huge detail!

To me the web and internet are great and to me blogging is a wonderful way for people to share their lives.

But here is where I maybe differ from other views. Yes your blog, my blog and no doubt millions of others blogs, are in 'a' public domain - but we're not talking public domain as in The Daily Mail / The Sun / Hello or Chat magazine public domain (thank goodness!), as is the case for international A List'stars'.

You don't live your life on the public stage, using/playing the media for your own gain 99.9% of the time and creating a 'public' who feel they know you and and have a right to be involved or comment or judge your life from the sparse details of a blog!

Personally I think you show clear and wise discernment about how you include/portray the people in your blog, like your immediate family and friends, and also in how you don't!

Unfortunately this isn't a skill or awareness necessarily shared by all bloggers and as such many individuals aren't protected by their blogging friends and family, in the way you do.

Please don't feel you have to say another word around justifying or explaining anything in relation to your son or you as a father. It isn't necessary and more importantly, it's impossible for the reader to understand without having the insight of comprehensive details, which is clearly inappropriate and no doubt something they wouldn't share about their family, with you!

Whilst I stated you aren't quite in the same league as the 'supposed' international A List celebrities, you still are a visable person. You choose to give of yourself to others by sharing expert knowledge and often practical skills. People who are visable can often become victims of their own success by others feeling they have a right to them too.

The difference is you haven't used/milked the media for personal gain. You have created a public fan base! As I see it the 'you' in the public domain is about bringing the issues of greener and sustainable living to ordinary people.

Sadly, unlike the A list, you're unlikely to get an award. In the same way neither should you have to put up with the way people judge and comment about celebrity lives and then rationalise it by quoting that it's somehow fair play as the celebrant is in the public domain!

John you're like the rest of us, full of strengths and weaknesses. The difference between you and most people is that you're living your green passion - but also holding it loosly in your hands, sharing it freely with anyone who shows interest and wants to learn more.

OK, off my soap box - carry on, you're doing a great job!


Compost John said...

Thank you Ali, this is good to read and I hope other readers do too, as it provides a balanced view.
See you soon

Anonymous said...

To Ali, in that case, I'd suggest John posts nothing about his family whatsoever, so that no comments are forthcoming by people reading his blog and wishing to comment - by the way John says he welcomes comments!

otherwise i suggest john disables the comments.

each and every time someone says anything that is remotely challenging to John's way of life (including the way he parents his sons)there is always an extremely and sometimes irrational defensive response.

It really doesnt matter whether john was an A list celebrity or not, that fact is this is a public blog, like it or not, people are interested in him for whatever reason, why shouldnt we ask questions, for goodness sake? why cant we challenge his views and make comments on what he has told us?

as to his children, well just my view point here - john tells us certain stuff, so why the hell cant we ask him stuff back or suggest things or even criticise? sometimes an outsider sees things the person on the inside does not.
of course we only hear what he wants us to hear so therefore we react to that. whats wrong with that? nothing is wrong with it. but each time we get the same answer from john i.e we dont know the full story and cant understand. ok well then like i have said before DONT post stuff like that in the blog!!!!!

however, if there wasnt stuff about his family in the blog, all it would be about is John's daily rounds on his bike, his attendance at various meetings, his fiddlesticks engagements how long it takes him to get to them - how boring would that get to read after a while????

i think its all very nice and dandy to defend john, but at the end of the day he has a lifestyle that he wants to promote and i think he should clearly understand if he puts it out there he will get responses, some good some bad some indifferent.

i wont baulk at asking him hard questions sometimes, i dont see why i should get slated for it or patronised by being told i dont understand the whole story.


Compost John said...

Annabelecowarrior you are irrational about my defensive attitude and comments about my parenting style.

I never claim to be the best parent in the world, and some of my blog is about family life but it isn't mainly about that... but I choose to sometimes mention it as my blog is a journal. If you prefer not to read about my interesting life of voluntary work, entertaining people, gardening and recycling, don't.

I am defensive when attacked. I have been criticised for much of my life as I am 'different' and have had (and continue to have) difficulties knowing what is appropriate and how my behaviour affects others and I cannot help this. It is part of me. I'd like you to imagine what it might be like if you decided to write about your life and someone you don't know writes in with comments such as you have sent to me, criticising and being kind of 'superior'. How would you react? Would you defend your way of life, your skills, hobbies, relationships? I'm pretty sure you would!

Now I do welcome most of your comments and don't mind you being a bit of a voyeur. However, if you are a genuine 'ecowarrior' you won't learn much green stuff from me because I expect we are equal in our knowledge about how people can behave in a way which reduces their carbon output, treats people and animals and environment more fairly etc etc. I do however have a very low carbon footprint because I've worked hard for 20+ years to be low impact and ethical.

How about starting a blog and letting us read about your ecowarrior stuff? Or tell my readers (and me!) about it in one of your comments to this blog? I'd love that! If you're a parent and can help constructively with tips on how to deal with pre-teen anger, I'd be most grateful.

I do not dislike you for your comments and I will continue to publish stuff even if questioning or critical, if valid which some of your comments/criticisms are!

But the other people's comments are equally valid and if you are as barbed as you are in your response to Ali in all your comments, I will not feel like publishing. Go for a balanced, concilliatory approach please!
All the best,