Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Truth About Blogs

Blogs are a strange revolution in communication. They demand honesty and voice. They are a thoughtful diary, and the audience can tell if a blog is honest or not.

The success of blogging over traditional media is that people enjoy the personal nature of them. They want to hear a human.

Then again, when you write human things, you sound human. You miss points or are emotional about one thing or the other.

I think Psalms was a little like a blog. Psalms 3:7 says, "7 Arise, O LORD!
Deliver me, O my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
break the teeth of the wicked."

Was the Psalmist advocating or requesting physical violence? What good would breaking teeth do? Maybe the Psalmist should have thought of what he was going to write before he wrote it.

I've encountered that same scrutiny with the blog. I'm NOT a Psalmist. I am just writing down thoughts and people are reading them. I have not asked anyone to read them and I don't honestly care if people do. For some people, this blog has been a blessing. I expect that my thoughts at times will create disagreement or dissension, but that's the nature of thoughts.

So...if I wanted to start a campaign against a teacher, or a doctor, hospital, or any entity, I would name that teacher doctor or entity and begin a focused campaign against them. My blog isn't a campaign against anyone.

But I get comments like this one:

"Maybe the teacher would be more considerate if you talked to her first, rather than broadcasting your issue on the internet...."

All I can say is: this comment is silliness.

1. I'm not broadcasting. Someone has to physically put an internet address in their browser to get here. If anything, I'm narrowcasting. I'm not ABC. I'm not CNN. I'm a guy writing a blog.

A. And if I wanted to make a stink on my blog, I guess I could. I could name the teacher's name, name the teacher's phone or email, name the high school, explain the class, scan and show you the homework. I could give you her home phone. I could provide pictures of the teacher in case you see her on the street. I could change the name of the blog to "Teacher X - A Threat To Humanity" and make googling her name populated with awful links.

2. I was writing about the issue. I was writing about the feeling. The exhausting feeling of having to tell everyone a story that makes me tired, let alone the tiring nature of having to retell it. With Charter Communications, I had to tell over 13 people that my wife and daughter were in the ICU.

3. I'm tired. If I can sum up the entry in question, this entry, my silence over the you go: I'm tired.

I'm tired. I'm tired.

I'm tired and there is no end in sight. I'm tired of my children being everywhere, not seeing them. I'm tired of a fractured home. Tired of trying to communicate with Jen by phone or messenger because of of the communication challenges. I'm tired and so when I see comments like this:

what about those little boys...i bet they miss their mama and baby sister? i am praying all your kids know they are specially loved by God! and that we are praying for them too

I just throw frustrated hands in the air. Is the commenter wondering about my boys or criticizing my entry because it didn't mention them?

Of course I miss my boys. Of course I'm grateful for their grandma and grandpa who is going above and beyond anything imagined to care for them and make sure they feel safe and loved. For their sacrifice, I owe them a debt I know I'll never be able to repay. But, my boys. Of course they're suffering a strange life.

I wrote an entry about the oldest three kids because their life is so bent out of shape right now. That was not meant to contrast their life versus their brothers' lives. It was a feeling, a peek inside me...a ... blog entry!

I know...if you're blogging you have to have a hide of steel. I have to learn to let comments be comments. The blog is working if you all are moved to write back. It's blogging in its purest form.

But comments evoke feelings too. Which create...more blog entries!


  1. Glad you are back here Greg and hopefully clearing the blog air a smidge. I am praying for all of you guys to be back together soon,under one roof by Christmas is my hope. I want to thank you for being so personal and honest here. It lets me know what to pray for besides the obvious, Miss Zoe, who I hope is healing and resting and getting ready to go home. You write what you want here, I am honored to read it and pray for you.

    Love and Hugs, Laurie

  2. Michelle11:05 AM

    I honestly think sometimes people have nothing better to do than to try and find fault with others to make themselves feel better.

    It's your blog and you can complain and vent your feelings all you want. If other people don't like it then they don't have to read it.

    Keep blogging and just be yourself.

  3. Anonymous11:49 AM

    I thought the same thing when I read that comment. I figured they were being critical of your post because you didn't mention all of the Batiansila children, however, had you only mentioned the boys in a post would they have argued for the big kids? I'm guessing not.

    You know how much of a Christian I am Greg, but this one comment needs to be said, "He who is without sin cast the first stone." So to all of you making comments on the blog that are critical of Greg and what he says or doesn't say, just keep it to yourself. If you're writing something that is out of judgment than keep it to yourself. If you have nothing better to do than be critical than comment on a blog that isn't read by thousands of people who aren't judging Greg.

    I'm tired for you as well, my friend.


  4. Dear Mr. Batiansila, (sorry, I'm not sure of your first name.) I'm sorry for negative comments. I've been where you are...and I'm so sorry for that too. Please know that there are people who understand where you are and understand your blog AND are incredibly awed at your strenth and ability to continue each and every day. PLEASE, try not to listen to the negativity of they have NO idea where you are. It is obvious to me, and I've not read your entire blog (yet), that you LOVE every member of your family and the pain that separates all of you. Sheer ignorance allows people to make such terrible remarks. I hope those are not the voices that echo in your head each night. Praying for your continued strength, Michelle

  5. It really irks me that people can sit there in the comfort of their home, behind their computers, sipping their coffee and anonymously attack you. If they haven't walked a mile in your shoes who are they to critique? What makes them think you want to hear it? I am bothered for you.

    But you're right, when you blog you open yourself up to things like this--because as you said, blogging is raw emotion and people get drawn in positively or not.

    I have no idea how hard it is to make your blog a 'register only' blog, but I think that would be the next step in having people own up to their comments. Maybe if they can't hide anonymously behind their computer they'll think twice before they post comments that can be hurtful or criticizing.

    Or maybe after reading this blog entry they'll just realize that you have enough going on in your life right now that what you need is support, not questioning. But I would have thought, after reading a bit, they should have realized that by now.

  6. Anonymous12:38 PM

    I'm sorry you have to get pathetic responses to your blog as you have. People should mind their own... and if they feel the need to express their opinions - then they should start their own blog. Your entire family is an inspiration - and charter does suck. :)

  7. huntsouth1:04 PM

    Hey, a great thing about your getting all fired up about your blog is that you write more! You have a huge job for the Lord to handle. We know you're all worn out, but God can give you joy and then strength in this trial. What is new with all of you? We pray, not just for Zoe and you and Jen, but for all of the warriors at home. Someday, you will sleep enough, but probably not until after Zoe's wedding, 20 something years from now! If I say something controversial, will you write back with a general update?! Here goes---Greg, your feet are hairy! (disclaimer: I really don't know, so do not start a blog campaign about this delicate item.)
    Don't just hang in there--thrive under pressure. Pure gold is tried in the fire.

  8. It is your blog and you have a right to express your feelings. I am sorry that people have to say negative things at such a hard time as when Zoe is in the hospital. Know that we are praying for your family and sometimes we only mention parts of our family especially when we have large families. Also when you have a special Angel in your family, you tend to be so emotional, at least I do. Praising God that Zoe is with you today.

  9. My sister and I have been following your blog for a bit. We pray for Zoe and her family every day.

    Please don't let the ignorance of others get you down. I cannot imagine what you and yours are going thru. You have all shown such grace and love.

    Unless someone has gone thru what your family has gone thru they should not judge or make comments that make them appear crass or just stupid.

    It makes me sad that anyone could say such things to a family in your situation. What they need to remember is to judge not.

    Blessings to you & your brave family,
    Shannon & Lauire

  10. Anonymous3:39 PM

    Greg-I am so sorry. This is a message for you-not your comment section. This issue with the blog is the last thing that you need. You are so correct that it is necessary to develop a thick skin and just let it go.

    I don't think people mean things how they come out....just like the teacher might not have realized all that was going on...who knows. But when you are exhausted everything can seem to be distorted.

    If it makes you feel any better, here is a blog of a man whose wife had a lung transplant (CF) a few days after his daughter was delivered as a micro-preemie. It is an incredible story. The family is very religious. I think that once in a while, this man gets very negative comments-almost scary ones. He wrote about it today in his blog.

    Most importantly, how is little Zoe? I have been holding my breath waiting to hear.

    (annie's mom)

  11. huntsouth5:12 PM

    Dear Greg,
    Please excuse my seemingly jovial attitude about your trials. I am only trying to be a bit lighthearted to perk you up. I know that you're dragging under the load. I tend to do this. We kind of chuckle about the TBI (traumatic brain injury) that my son just returned with from Baghdad. Since we can't do a lot about it, we just hope and pray that it will improve and then we goof around with him about how his brain's always been pretty whacky anyway. He made it back to his wife and new baby, so a perpetual headache seems minor---for now. If I don't joke a little, I sob, so I prefer the former. Hope that's okay with you guys. I know that you grew up in a family like that! Amy Hunt

  12. I understand. I'm so glad we didn't have a blog when our daughter was in for a month! Or for her first 2 months! I'll say just this .. the really, really good thing about you expressing your feelings, the way they are, not the way someone might think they "should" be, is we can relate, and are provoked to pray for you more. The exhaustion you are experiencing is unimaginable, unless someone has been there .. and even then, we can forget, until you open up and we are reminded.

    Your blog is just as it should be. You. I'm sorry for how hard it is to be away from home, for you, Jen, your kids who can't be with you. All of you and Zoe just need to be a family again, and unexamined.

    I think both of you will sleep the entire first day you are home! Better get some of your massive family there that day, to watch Zoe for you!!

    You will be on my mind all day today.



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