Hi!
Eowyn
Have you missed me?

Here's a quick salad update before I get to the meat of this post.

We are slowly getting better. I'm still coughing up a lung on a regular basis. We all are. We are living off of Ricola. Every one seems to be healthy otherwise.

The job hunt is going no-where, but we received an e-mail from Faramir's previous employer stating that they may have another option for him. We are waiting to see what that is. He has also applied for him to go full time at his second job place. Unfortunately, that place is a federal government institution and we all know just how quickly the federal government gets anything done.

I have canned much. Yesterday we had a power outage so we went to my MIL's house and made grape jam. In all my food snobbery, store-bought grape jam/jelly is one thing that no-one should every buy! Nasty! Home-made grape jam/jelly rocks the house. But you already knew I was snobbish like that. Today I must do more applesauce, however, between canning and the like my house is a disaster and I must make bread, so the applesauce might have to wait until tomorrow. Laundry and cleaning today.

Since I have so much laundry and cleaning to do, I think I'll write a post.

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"Judge not!" is a frequent topic of thought for me. Recently I've been hit in the head with it again, in a new way.

There are a couple of teenage girls in my ward (local LDS congregation) who seem to have decided to go off the deep end in marvelous fashion. . .

But the story starts earlier than that.

When I first moved here, there was a lady who really caught my attention. We'll call her Mrs. Fixit. Mrs. Fixit is petite beautiful, and, I was to find out later, a kick-boxing instructor, home-schooling mother, and whole foods diet guru. Mrs. Fixit is one of those people who always has things organized and in control. She has three daughters and two sons (one of whom is one of my favorite 5 year olds in the world). The daughters are 18, 17 and 15--I think. The other son is about 7.

I admire Mrs. Fixit exceedingly, mostly because she is everything I am not, organized, fit and in control. And let's not even get started on Mr. Fixit. He's called Mantha Stewert in these parts for a reason.

Anyway, I tried to cultivate a bit of a relationship with Mrs. Fixit, because I like to be with people I admire. That never really went anywhere. She's not really very social, at least in our ward. She seems to always have so much going on that there isn't time for friends.

I also tried to cultivate a friendship with a lot of other people, and it came to me that there were some people in my area who mostly tolerated Mrs. Fixit. They mildly disapproved of her homeschooling her kids, admired (with a bit of envy thrown in for good measure) her ability to stay fit and active, and generally liked her, but were unsure of what to do about her.

A while after I moved here, I was asked by my church leaders to help with the Young Women. When I started, I was working with the 14-15 year olds. Then I was moved into the 16-17 year old crowd. It was fun, but we started having problems with one of Mrs. Fixit's daughters--the 14 year old one. She would talk through class, or be texting her friends. She just wasn't making church time very easy. Then the (now) 18 year old one started making life difficult. She also talked her way through class and started wearing very revealing clothing. It became a real problem for us because we couldn't feel the spirit to teach and the girls weren't feeling the spirit to learn.

I was taken out of the Young Women's program before the problem was resolved, so I have no idea how things are during church.

I feel like I'm typing a huge amount of back story to get to my point, but I promise I'm getting there, and the back story will help you to understand me better.

When we started having problems with these girls, I heard a lot of clucking tongues and "whispered" comments like, "We could always see this coming.", and "It's such a shame, those two girls." And, I'm sad to say, I did my share of tsk-tsk-ing. I fell into the trap of sharing un-thought out opinions. Many ladies of the ward blamed it on the homeschooling, and I unthinking-ly blamed it right along with them.

One day, a couple of months ago, I was watching my kids play volleyball and happened to start talking to another woman in my ward. The subject came around to Mrs. Fixit (I had been to her kick-boxing class that morning--a class that I happen to love). This woman has a daughter who is friends with Mrs. Fixit's daughters and she started telling me of stuff these two girls had done. Pictures posted on the Internet that really should not be posted. Things recorded on cell phones that could get them in trouble with the law, etc. I tsk-tsk-ed. And then the conversation was over.

A couple of days later, the proverbial 2x4 hit me in the head.

I was being an absolute jerk about this whole thing.

The 2x4 thought was "What if it were your daughter? How would you feel?"

And I was sick.

These girls have agency. Homeschooling doesn't make every child go off the deep end any more than public or private school does. No-one could "see this coming" no matter what they wanted to believe. No parent wakes up in the morning and says "Gee, how can I make my kids to make horrid decisions today." I was really being a judgemental snob. Mrs. Fixit is not to blame for her girls decisions.

My guess is the Mrs. Fixit feels horrible that all this is happening, but she puts on such a great show no-one knows it. Mrs. Fixit doesn't come to church any more and I wonder if the judgement that has been passed on her by many of the ladies in this ward is part of the reason.

I used to pride myself on being able to believe that every one is trying their best, whether I agree with their decisions or not. I was sick to my stomach to think that I had forgotten one of my own cardinal beliefs in this situation.

Mrs. Fixit is doing her best, and has been for years. She loves her children immensely. She's made great sacrifices for the health of her children. She follows the whole foods diet because her children had problems when they were born. She is an extra-ordinary woman who does her best!

I'm sorry Mrs. Fixit. I'm sorry for tsk-tsk-ing with the few ladies in our ward who were tsk-tsking. I'm sorry to all the homeschooling moms out there because I forgot how much I've learned over the years about how great homeschooling is and how much I'm tempted to do it myself. I'm sorry to all you moms in general, for not allowing you to do your best without passing judgement on your every decision. I'm sorry to God for making one of His children's lives a bit harder.

I've made more of an effort to reach out to Mrs. Fixit lately. She's still busy, but she does appreciate the occasional card. I'm hoping that if I can keep dropping off cards her life can be made a little easier because she knows that there is someone out there rooting for her.

Judge not!

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For dessert today I'm going to share a scripture that the Jehovah's Witnesses just left with me.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

16 aAll bscripture is given by cinspiration of God, and is dprofitable for edoctrine, for freproof, for correction, for ginstruction in hrighteousness:
17 That the man of God may be aperfect, throughly furnished unto all bgood works.

KJV

I like the thought that scripture is for our good to allow us to become perfect and prepared for good works. I like that thought.

Happy days.
7 Responses
  1. First of all, glad you are back and glad you are feeling better! Yay! This post is such a good reminder of why we mustn't judge people. As the mother of a child whose disabilities often led to some pretty spectacular public misbehavior, I have been on the sharp end of that stick many times. My belief is that most moms truly are trying to do their very best. We all make mistakes. Sadly, some of the consequences of our mistakes are way out of proportion to the actual mistake. (little mistake, way big bad consequences). This is partly because of the agency of the child and partly just life. We can never know what led to what--though it is natural to try to avoid making the same mistakes in our lives, and useful, too, the idea that those girls are the way they are because of homeschool is, I'm sorry to say in case it offends, incredibly ridiculous. I am amazed and a bit appalled that such an idea even got started. Most kids I know who are homeschooled are better educated, brighter and generally better behaved then their counterparts (this might be partly because the majority of kids homeschooled in my area are deeply religious--not Mormon--other religions) I think in areas where the culture is very homogenized, whenever anyone does anything differently, it can be very threatening. It becomes the thing at which to point the finger. Homeschool is not the problem, here. Maybe a mom and dad who are so busy perfecting their public image has more to do with it (but that would be too judgemental to say about anyone I actually know--but I don't. So I am).


  2. Abra Says:

    I've had my share of tsk-tsking at my expense, being a mother who at one point was lifeguarding full time, coaching swim club, and teaching aerobics. I also have done my fair share of tsk-tsking. It is so easy to get caught in that trap. I think you're absolutely right, we don't reach out, we don't try to find the reason behind the why, we're too quick to judge, and not quick enough to extend a hand.
    Thank you for reminding me of this. I'm going to leave you with an Audrey Hepburn quote (because I absolutely adore her)
    "God gave us two hands, one to help ourselves, the other to help others."


  3. I grew up around a lot of quick to judge people. It never sat right with me. I'm thankful for that. Judgment is something I try really hard to steer clear of. sure, I fail at times, it's a natural human thing to do after all :)

    But I TRY really hard to keep in mind that we're all the same...struggling and failing, striving and starting over.

    Good post :)


  4. Melanie J Says:

    This was thought-provoking. It reminded me that even though I've been at the ugly end of this, I've still had to catch myself to keep from judging others. It's human nature, probably, but that's what fighting not to fall in with the "natural man" is all about.


  5. I love this post. So thought provoking. I have never understood why parents are crucified when children misuse their free agency. The great men in the Bibble starting from Adam onward had wayward children. It didn't mean they were bad parents. It just means we are free to choose for ourselves and we may not always follow our parents and the Lord. The same freedom we exercise when we judge others when we know we should not. I admire you for the self-reflection and the desire to rise above the throng of "judgers". Thanks for the good example.

    I also dropped by to let you know I will be on blog-cation and will not be able to visit and comment for awhile. I will miss your posts but I will be back. Have a great Thanksgiving holiday!


  6. I am glad you and your family are feeling better. Sorry, though, that the job hunt is still not going well. I can relate to that.

    As far as tsk-tsking goes, I need to stop contributing to the problem. Thanks for being so honest and forth coming in this post. I know I can do better about not gossiping!

    As always, thanks for your enlightening words!


  7. Kimberly Says:

    That was so incredibly well put, hun! We get so backwards with our thinking, don't we?