Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thinking Outside the Box

"New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common." - John Locke

The thing is, the opinion, or idea doesn't even have to be "new" in order to come under scrutiny by others.  It just has to have not been acted on in a generation or two, and if you dare nudge your family in that direction, you are setting yourself up for endless questions, comments, criticism, and even down-right hostile encounters.  People are so used to judging, and being judged that oftentimes you can't even offer an honest answer to a question without the questioner thinking that you are passing judgment on them for not thinking the same.
Here's the short list of things I've been scrutinized for:
Staying at home, even before we had children.
Staying at home after we had children.
Having more than 2 children.
Homeschooling (this would undoubtably be the biggest)
Wearing dresses/skirts all the time.
Believing that my husband is the head of the house (and daring to teach my girls the same).
Now ask yourself, are these concepts really new?  Nope, they're not.  Think back a hundred and fifty years or so, and you'll have to admit that most of the things I've listed above were normal then, instead of being "weird".  Schooling did have many variations, even then, but teaching children at home was still quite common.

The next thing a person should ask themselves is:  Is society really any better right now?
I don't think so.  Yes, we have more stuff, and more opportunities, and less people probably die from starvation, and (definately) less people die from easily treated infections; but has that really made us happier?  Again, I don't think so.  People are constantly dissatisfied and depressed, always reaching for more and more, and our families are in ruins.

The above quote uses the word common, and while I think it a better word to use, most people think of things as "normal", or "abnormal" (when in reality they are just common or uncommon).  I don't care about "normal".  When we were newly married, and expecting our first child, I looked around at how "normal" families were doing things and decided that I didn't want that for our family.  It was depressing to see the families struggling after so much stuff (and happiness) and the children turning out to be demanding little monsters that you really didn't want over at your house for fear of the mayhem they would bring.  I could never wrap my mind around the concept of reasoning with a two year old (they don't reason - they want).  I don't agree with the idea of children having rights (as in their right to have the newest/best whatever, or their right to privacy, except when in the bathroom).  They aren't paying for the house, so it isn't REALLY their room - hence - YOU have the RIGHT to know what's in there (and you SHOULD know - no child should have an arsenal, or drugs in their room, and you not have a clue about it).  I started watching the families that I felt were succeeding in raising their children well, and incorporating what they were doing into our family.  After I got saved, I began to see how those things lined up with scripture.  Now, oftentimes, the biggest stuggles come when I try to explain our beliefs to other Christians.

I'll leave this off with a final thought - a really sad event that happened several years ago, in a neighboring county, that sums up how society has failed when it comes to their families.  It was winter (but winter in NC frequently means it's freezing overnight, but will get above freezing during the day) and we had some nasty weather during the night.  It was the kind of day that has the school officals wrestling with whether or not to cancel, delay, or start school at the normal time (it's a no-win situation for them).  In one county, a 17 year old girl died that morning in a car accident on the way to school.  She was driving and lost control of the car on an icy patch.  I am very sorry for the loss that family endured, but as I watched TV that night, a reporter was talking to her mom, and her mother was blaming the school officals for her daughters death.  The thing that struck me the most was the fact that the mother admitted that she didn't feel as though it was safe for her daughter to drive that day, but allowed her to go off by herself anyway.  Why does this bother me?  Because the entire decision was the parents responsibility. When it comes right down to it, it's the parents job to ensure the safety of their children, and if you think a situation is dangerous, you don't put your children in it.  Period!  Parents have become so accustomed to abdicating responsibility for their children, that it has become "normal".  So, all of our hands-on, in their face, know all of their business, the kids are with me all the time type of parenting leaves us wide open for all the comments, criticism, etc. I mentioned earlier.  But that's okay - I'm a big girl, I can take.  

There are times though, that all I can really say to all of this is, "Well, we'll just have to wait and see if we did it right." 


  1. Becky, I agree. We've done a lot of things out of the box also. Parents should listen to their hearts about whether or not a situation is safe for their children. I pray that I will listen to that still small voice also.

  2. That's a prayer we all need to pray on a continual basis! It's so easy to let something slip by.