by Annmarie Worthington
I heard something today that got my dander up. It was a comment someone made about another person. I know neither the commenter nor the commentee, I simply overhead them in the grocery store. I was struck by their complete arrogance that they knew what was best for this other mom to do, in a situation I suspect they had very little actual information. So, in today’s post you will get to hear from the snarky, sarcastic Annmarie. (You lucky duck). Then, I will once again step down from my soap box.
We’ve all been guilty of judging the way other families do things. Some people are offended that they let their children watch PG-13 Harry Potter episodes. Other people think it’s wrong to let your children play outside on the Sabbath. Or maybe we feel they don’t discipline their children correctly. “Well, if my child did that I would….[fill in the blank]” Why do we do that to each other? Is it not possible that God put those children in just the family He wanted them in knowing the personality of the mom and dad?
My family experiences this too. I’ve chosen a different path than many people. Being a single mom who homeschools is no easy feat. However, I am CONVINCED it is the right path for my family. I’ve prayed and fasted about it often. Anything else doesn’t feel right to me. Does that make life challenging? You betcha! But, my children are worth it. I do, however, get a lot of people who seem to think I’ve made the wrong choice. They don’t say it outright (except for one or two). It’s more subtle hints. Many people seem to think that all my problems would be solved if I put my children in public school.
There is a joke in my house, because of the amount of people that have negatively commented about my decision to keep homeschooling. Anytime something goes wrong, we say, “Well, you know if I put you in public school this wouldn’t have happened.”
Are the biscuits burned? Well, darn it, I should have put you in public school. Is my paycheck late? Guess that wouldn’t have happened if you were in public school. Maybe it is snarky of us to laugh at it, but it sure lightens the load sometimes to have fun.
This post isn’t actually about my homeschooling choice, so if you happen to be one of the people that has said something to me about it, there really are no hard feelings. Besides, I’m sure I’ve judged you too at some point. It’s what we humans seem to do best.
My actual point is, we don’t know what Heavenly Father has told other families. My bishop and I had a quick talk about this once after a comment someone said to me about homeschooling my children. The bishop told me that God wouldn’t even tell him how I was supposed to educate my children. I am the leader of my home and I am who God will tell.
I have to remember that as well when I am tempted to judge another family’s choices. I am as guilty as the next person of inwardly scolding someone’s choices. We all have strong opinions when it comes to child rearing. It would do us good to remember that most parents truly have their children’s best interest at heart, and know their children better than anyone else. We need to have the benevolence to not feel we always know what is best for others. We need to let God lead them. If they unintentionally actually make the wrong decision (as we ALL do sometimes), let’s come up beside them and help.
Sometimes families do make poor choices. Even evil ones. What do we do then? Let’s say a family is falling apart because of drug use, or some other equally foolish behavior. We could all gossip about them and talk about what horrible parents they are. Because, you know, that will really help them heal their family. Why is it religious people so often shoot their wounded? Instead, why don’t we come alongside them and love them. Let them spend time with you and see the fruit of parenting according to scripture. Not in a preachy, “see how much better my family is” way, but just live your lives around them.
I think if we spent more time loving and serving one another, instead of judging each other’s decisions, we would be a much healthier nation. There would be less burdens weighing people down, and happier families. Where there still are burdens, sometimes because of bad choices and sometimes because life isn’t fair, let’s lift up the hands that hang down. That’s a lot more helpful than wagging our tongues and shaking our heads.
There….I’ve said it and now I am officially off my soapbox.