Tom is 8 years old and after a worrying and painful time, has been diagnosed with an aneurysmal bone cyst, which means he’ll need an operation.
Tom has decided to blog his way through the experience. He’s been writing about what’s happening to him, and how he feels about it. He thinks this could help other people as well as helping him. People are responding to wish him well and reassure him, and sharing their own experiences and feelings. It’s an amazing blog for an 8 year old to write.
Tom reminded me of two other young people I’ve seen online recently.
Josh was very moved by a Tearfund film which showed how very poor some children are. He decided to raise £60.00 by doing a sponsored run. Josh asked his dad to set up a giving page for him online. Because people heard about it and wanted to help, Josh raised thousands of pounds for his run, which will help a lot of the people he’s worried about. Josh’s comment when he found out how much he’d raised was ‘But I’m only 6!’
Ben was 11 when he decided to write about his experiences of Asperger’s syndrome as part of Autism Awareness Day. He asked his mother to post it on her blog. Ben’s piece doesn’t just talk about difficulties – he points out the good things as well. It helps people to understand how they can enable Asperger’s people fulfil their potential.
I sometimes feel very inadequate about my lack of expertise in this strange online medium I seem to be called to use. At Christmas I nearly dropped out of the online carol service because I felt my lack of ability was going to let the project down. I know gifted people who are doing amazingly creative things and I often feel I just can’t compete.
But Tom, Joel and Ben don’t seem to have been overly worried about the ‘how’ of communicating. Their communications are effective not because of their graphics, or the soundtrack, or the ‘stickiness’ of the site they’ve posted on. Their communications are effective because they have something really important to say and they’ve used whatever method was available to say it.
This has made me realise that communicating online isn’t a competition. I can appreciate other people’s skills but there is still room for me to do things my way. And it’s not all about me, and what I can do, and what people think of me.
It’s about having something worth saying, and saying it.
Thank you, Tom, Josh and Ben!