Welcome to our home*.
Have you ever had a meal with an Italian family? I’m not talking about the Hollywood inspired Mafia meal with baseball bats lined up against the wall for after dinner “talks” (please try to unsee that!). I’m talking about an authentic Italian family where you have three or four generations crowded around a table and everyone is talking at the same time and you (since you’re not Italian and don’t speak the language) are not sure whether they are arguing politics or just discussing the weather. I’ve had that privilege with some good friends who invited our family to join theirs for a few days under the magnificent peaks of the dolomite mountains, staying in a stone farmers hut in a beautiful valley.
There was plenty of gesticulating going on (the nice kind), animated discussions (without any expletives, that I was aware of anyway!), a lot of really good food going around (the grandmother started cooking lunch right after she finished making breakfast and so it went on – I don’t think she ever left the kitchen except to join us at meal times) all mixed in with plenty of laughter and stories from the past as the children ran around the table and played (we couldn’t get them to sit down long enough to take a proper group photo). It’s possible that you don’t have a positive frame of reference for experiences like this, and probably there are many people that don’t, to the point where I feel it necessary to define what a “good” family should be:
- A place where love and joy abounds (a sense of knowing that we belong, and the safety to laugh at our own shortcomings);
- Honesty is non-negotiable (so we can speak what’s on our hearts without fear of accusation or retribution, even when we are wrong, in which case the wiser ones will step in to help us back onto the right path);
- Security is granted (a safe place of refuge in times of trouble, with no hiding places for trolls);
- We are challenged to grow (helped along the way to maturity to become whole human beings)
Without all these qualities, it wouldn’t be a good family and certainly not a true one. I’d like to believe this corner of the web can become a virtual home where “the family” can have those vibrant (in this case, virtual) dinner table conversations. The objective in this home is not to get tied up in endless arguments and controversies, but nonetheless to table those important “issues of life” that beg for an answer. I won’t be so presumptuous as to assume that I have the answers to everything, but I do hope to provide some signposts that will guide you on your way. This should be a place where you can speak your mind without worrying about being judged unfairly or dismissed before you can finish your sentence – but at the same time you’ll also need to hang around long enough to hear what everyone else has to say in response (true conversations are two-way). Some of the conversations here will be brutally honest and difficult to digest, but sometimes love needs to be tough to be true. Hopefully you’re starting to the see my point: I’d like this to become a true online community where the deeper issues of life can be discussed in a way that allows the exchange of ideas in a conducive environment. In summary, the motto here is simply, “the truth, spoken in love”.
Before we start – and every good home should have these – we’ve got to lay down the house rules. Everyone is welcome here, but everyone also needs to respect and abide by the following:
- With a right to an opinion comes the responsibility to show respect. If you know your rights, but don’t understand or embrace your responsibilities, please go brush up on the latter before you join in the conversation. There’s plenty of other forums on social media and websites where this rule is forgotten or ignored, but this is not one of them.
- You will read things here that you may not agree with or which you might find downright challenging to what you hold dear. That, however, does not mean that you can feel justified blowing up about it or worse blowing someone else up about it (whether that’s using threats or lawsuits or IED’s or whatever).
- Comments are welcome, but bad language, hate speech, disrespect and other such things won’t get published. And neither will attempts at plugging that really cool spandex hammock you just invented (if you spot any dubious “ads” or “comments” that happen to have slip in through the firewalls, please pay for them with Bitcoins. That way the recipient will get something equally useless in return)
- I have a lot of respect for the fact that we’re all busy people with lives to lead. I’d love to reply to every comment, respond to every question or even just read what you have to say. But the chances are near 100% that I probably won’t. Unless you really want to see advertising here, that’s unlikely to change I’m afraid. Please don’t take it personally and don’t assume that it’s because I’m rude. I’ve also got a family, a job, a car that needs an oil change and generally a life to live.
So, enjoy your stay – but have your say! I hope that together we will learn, grow and change – for the better.
* Remember when the words “home page” still had a sense of meaning? I’m not hearkening back sentimentally to web 1.0 (which was about as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike, as a friend recently pointed out – great in theory, but lacking in practical application). Rather I’d like to focus on a quality that someone deliberately wanted to convey when they first called it a “home page”. I mean, they could have called it a “start page” (now there’s an original thought). However, with the advances of web 2.0 (which we have to thank for making this site possible), you can’t get very far without a commercial relationship rearing it’s head (I respect that some people need to earn a living from their blog ads because their day job got outsourced to India. I even confess a tinge of jealousy over the success they have achieved in that regard. The blogs ads, that is, not the outsourced job). However, I want to assure you up-front that you won’t find any of that here. This is a true “home” where you needn’t fear that it’s going to cost you something the moment you walk in the door – other than to listen and to consider. I’m not going to pester you for donations to keep this site running. There will be no advertising (please note I do have a penchant for linking to other sites, mostly Wikipedia, and they might ask you for a donation and if you believe that to be a worthy cause, by all means, please go ahead). I don’t want anything from you except that you linger a while, think about what you’ve found here and hopefully engage in the dinner conversation – with me and others who come to visit.