Confidential or Private?

Boom as a Toddler

   i am a private person.
  Here is how you will know my family:  MyGuy, Boom (for Boomerang Kid), and Max (for Maximum Smile).  Not exactly full openness, but protects their privacy.  Two of them have webpresences, and both have public and private personae.  Max has confidential school stuff, which is, in this computer age, no doubt stored online.
    What is the difference  between confidential and private?  Theoretically, the two words should mean the same.  i can tell my story, but not theirs.  Our stories are very much interwoven, but they must tell their own stories.
   i care passionately about education, but find i can only speak in generalities.  The school's story, you see, is not mine to tell.  i don't have enough behind the scenes details.  My son's education is vital to me, but i would be speaking from not knowledge if i tried to tell what's happening.
   There's a word for what i do if i tell your story without you, and it's not pretty.   i can come along side you as you tell your story.  That's called advocacy, much nicer than gossip, and it tends to be more accurate too.
   But confidentiality bothers me a little.  Though the two words are theoretically the same, confidentiality often reads as "I'm protecting me while hiding behind protecting this other person."  That may not be the intent, but it comes off that way.
   You may think i'm hiding something too.  That's your right.  i would say much more if i knew you.  As it is, i want to share, but feel bound.


  1. It is a shame that the word and practice of confidential has been abused over the years to have a negative connotation.

    As story tellers it is an art to learn and practice our craft while respecting others privacy that can be so interwoven with our own stories.

  2. Still working on it, Cris. Thanks for all the help!

  3. Well, you *are* hiding something and, depending on the something, there may be nothing wrong with that (and even, as you point out, something very right about it).

    We have a right to hide things which are ours alone. Some things about us are not for others, or only for a group we select, and for others to press us about such matters is rude. Some people don't like that; too bad for them.

    We have a duty to hide such things for others, just as we have a duty to tell when others try to hide that which is rightly public or group property. Some people disagree with our honest judgment in such matters; too bad for them.

    Some people would like these matters to be black or white, all must be secret or all must be disclosed. The universe isn't arranged that way, so too bad for them. It always comes down to judgment in the end.


i look forward to your comments! Thank you for sharing them.