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religion & spirituality

It’s All About You

Thinking

Thinking (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

I was raised to think that my first thought should be, “What will other people think?” when I did something.  I grew up thinking that “other people” were more important than me.  Yes, my parents were included in that important group of people that I should always defer to; but even my parents were not as important as “other people” were.

This continued on into my adult life as long as my parents were alive.  This was the main consideration my mother had when I told her that I was going to get a divorce.  She was more concerned with the stigma that being divorced would give me among her friends and family than she was with my well being.

Back when I was first married, I remember coming home to visit my parents by myself and I was wearing a brand new bright red maxi coat which I dearly loved and when it became time to go to church the next day, my mother said, “You are not going to wear that,” and she actually expected me to wear instead one of my old coats that I had left at her house.  I stood up for myself and I told her that I was not going to church if I couldn’t wear my new coat.

When I remarried and had children and we were visiting my mother and the other grandchildren were coming to visit too, my mother would become critical of my children and not the others.  We were glad when we could leave and escape being found wanting when compared to the rest of the family.  Oh, believe it or not, later after she died, my cousins told me that she secretly bragged on my children when we weren’t there.  I know she was raised to think that way and her growing up experience was not easy as my grandmother (her mother) was often sick and withdrawn from the family leaving her and her sister with the help of their father who had to work to  fend for themselves.  I am sure she didn’t know what to tell other people when they asked what was wrong.

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Rash Judgment?

A Different Church Building

A Different Church Building (Photo credit: justshootingmemories)

When my three children were very young, just toddlers, I had trouble controlling them in church as I only had “two hands” and I brought them to church by myself (and sat at the back of the church so as to cause the least amount of disruption).  After church I was shanghaied in the women’s restroom by an older woman from church (of course I still had my children with me)  and told how when she had brought her children to church when they were little that they sat still and were very quiet like she had taught them to be.  She said that her children had also grown up to be extremely successfully linking her having kept her children quiet in church to their growing up that way.  Another lady even joined in and agreed with her.  I went home feeling miserable and like not going back to the church after being treated that way.  I felt that nobody there saw that bringing them to church at their age by myself was an accomplishment in itself.  That afternoon, the lady in the restroom, who contributed her comments when I was being criticized by the other lady, called me up and sincerely apologized for any upset she might have caused me.  I did go back to church after that.  This could lead to another discussion on forgiveness; but I think I am done.

Patience that day was in short supply not only on the other woman’s side, but also on my side as a mother.  Both of  us were easily riled.  For me it started while I was trying to get us ready.  It never failed, but at least one of us would require a complete change of clothing before leaving the house.  This was after everybody had gotten dressed once for church.  Toddlers are also notorious for doing something “bad” while your attention is otherwise directed, in this case, by two other toddlers.

The lady in church was a little-bit short-sighted and also lacking in patience.  I understand that it is hard to hear the sermon when babies are crying and toddlers are screaming.  Should mothers of young children stop going to church until their children are bigger?  Children also can also be a distraction when they head down the aisle towards the altar on their own.  Do you abandon the other children?  Capture him or her and take him or her out of church to be chastized?  I remember it well.  Now it is my grandchildren doing this.

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