Making the most of my "Dash"

Posts tagged ‘Parent’

Begin Rant

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I have had this rant in my head for a while.  It may not make sense, it may be unresolved at the end, but I must stop the words from swirling in my head, keeping me pissed off.

I have long contemplated how to if I should write this post.  It is really difficult for me, because it most likely will offend some people.  I have wondered if maybe the offensiveness may not exactly come from the fact that I wrote it, but rather themselves?  Then I tell myself that sounds fairly judgmental, and it is not a nice thought.  But, I must be honest with the fact that the thought is there.

I’m about to say things that I am not supposed to say out loud.  These things are not supposed to have their “covers pulled”, so to speak.  They are things that some people say, but never really do.  And, it delves into family and religion.  Are you about to hit the red X button, since I mentioned the word religion?  If so, please wait. I’d ask for your indulgence, and for you to stick around for just a bit, as I’m not about to get all preachy on you.  Just state some observations.  About families. Possibly about religion.  But mainly about “religious” families. But first, I have to talk a bit about my background…

I grew up in a conservative baptist home.  So conservative, in fact, that Southern Baptists are viewed as being too progressive and broad-minded.  I wasn’t allowed to visit any other churches, should my friends invite me to theirs.  There were two exceptions, and I’m fairly certain it’s because my parents were tired of hearing me ask if I could go to a church that a friend invited me to.

I grew up knowing one thing as an absolute.  If you did not do what God wanted you to do, he would take away something you loved to “get your attention.”  That particular belief followed me into adult hood, and was my motivation for anything church related.  If I missed any church service, then I would figuratively cross my fingers and hope that I wouldn’t get into a car accident that harmed my children.  I would also get a phone call from the parents on Sunday afternoon, asking making sure I went to church that day.  If I hadn’t gone, and didn’t have a justified reason for non-attendance… well, lets just say a bit of a talking to ensued as well as guilt for possible harm to my children.

Given that particular “belief” as a guideline, I did everything I was supposed to do as a “christian” woman.  I also knew what roles my parents wanted me to have in church, and so I did those as well.  I’m a people-pleaser, and the people I wanted to please most were my parents.  It was easier to keep them happy than to deal with their disappointment and guilt.  It was a life of people (parent)-pleasing service to the Lord.  And, boy, could I fill bunches of those church roles well.  Go, me!  The “perfect Christian!”  Exactly what God wanted from me… Um… no, not so much.   A couple of years ago, as I was going through a separation, I realized that I was doing it all wrong.  It dawned on me that if I believed God has given me a free will (I did, and do), then why on earth would He punish me by harming someone I loved for not doing what He wanted me to do?  Doesn’t that take the very essence of “free will” away?!

Here’s where the family/religion stuff collides.  For some reason, some families will not accept other family members choosing to live life their way in a different way.  This is so unacceptable to them, that they feel it necessary to interject their beliefs in whatever way they can.  Whether it’s appropriate or not.  Whether it’s hurtful and undermines other family members in their role as parents or spouses.  And I get pissed off when I see that happening, as I’ve been there, done that, got every damn t-shirt on the rack. I hate to see this kind of behavior rearing its ugly head again, in another place, trying to get people I care about to collect these same t-shirts.

WHY do people do this to those they “love”?!  Why do they feel they have the right to undermine a parent in the way they raise their child?  Who gives them the right to step in and then say, “well we did it for their own good…” after hearing that their actions were inappropriate?  And, when called on their behaviors, why do they make lame excuses instead of saying, “I’m sorry.”  Not, “I’m sorry what I did offended you.” or “I’m sorry you viewed what I did as inappropriate.”  Just… “I’m sorry.”  Which means… “I will not do it again.”

I don’t get why, with our families, we can be hurtful, insulting, mean, and then justify that with, “I thought I was doing what was right.”  We would never dream of walking over to the neighbor’s house to straighten out their kids’ beliefs/actions/thought processes when their parents went out for an errand, so why would we do that to our own family members?!  Why do some people feel their way to raise children is the ONLY way; and if you aren’t doing it right, we’ll make damn sure we fix it when you’re not around to stop us.

I could go on and on with my rant, and these are not exactly the things that have happened in my life.  But, the manipulation is the same, the intent is the same, and so is the attempt at guilt…. “You’re not doing it the way we want.  We have to fix it, because we can’t fix you.  So, we’re going to get away with fixing as much as we can (in your children) until you call us on it, and then we’ll all be so hurt that you saw what we did as malicious.  And we’re sorry you feel that way, but we really know best.  And…. if you wouldn’t have said anything to us, then there would be no problems between us right now.”

Since I stopped going to the churches I was raised in, I have gained a much different perspective on religion.  I was sucked very much into the ritual of doing things the way others said I should.  I lived my life according to their standards, and I did things so I did not have to deal with any judgment, manipulation or their attempts to guilt me.  Sadly, I’ve seen better “christian” behavior from others outside of those churches. Don’t mistake me, I know that not all people attending the churches I grew up can be categorized that way. I know some amazing people, who are incredibly kind and loving to me and others, because they live what they believe.  But I’ve been exposed to a lot who are sadly lacking in the “live what you speak” category.

I remember Mister putting a rather blunt comment on my FB page when I was going through a lot of the garbage with my family.  He’s rather blunt, never side-steps issues, and has no hesitation in calling people on their behaviors.  He basically said that he was sorry my life had been exposed to people who were not behaving in Christian ways, despite their claims otherwise.   A few days later, he told me he got a notice that there was a facebook message from a particular family member. (To keep this in context: At this point, all family members were no longer speaking to me, nor was I speaking to them.  None of them had ever met, spoken to, or corresponded with Mister.) I told him that she was one of the greatest Christian women I knew.  Then he opened facebook and read this message:

Subject: My mother raised me to believe if you can’t say something nice about someone say nothing.

[Body of Message:]  “Nothing.”

Mister and I just looked at each other.  Clearly, my opinion was wrong.  He said, “I’m NEVER setting a foot into one of those churches, if this is what they call “Christian” behavior.”  I agreed one hundred percent.  How could I argue with that, given the result of behavior from someone who lived their entire life attending that kind of church?!

Some family members will always feel they have a right to be harsh, and mean, and manipulative if it serves their wants and needs.  All of these experiences have made me realize the kind of “christian” woman I do not want to be.  The kind of mother I do not want to be.  The kind of family member I do not want to be.  I want to love God, love my family, and treat them all with respect.  If I disagree with someone, I disagree.  I will strive to not make my way the only way.  Because we’re all different, we’re all human, and we all make mistakes.  And we learn from them.  And we certainly don’t need some family member trying to live our life for us.

</rant>

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I am Thankful

Several of us who have pages on Facebook have decided to post something everyday in the month of November that we are thankful for.  Diary of a Not So Wimpy Mom started this, and so many of us loved the idea we decided to join her and do it as well.

For November 1st, I posted that I was thankful for Mister, and November 2nd I posted how thankful I was for the people who have joined my  Facebook page.  However, today’s post was going to be a bit long for a Facebook status, and it is something that I really felt the need to blog.

For November 3rd, I am thankful for the fact that my kids love their Step-Dad, and that he loves them in return.  Anyone out there who has a blended family knows how amazing this is.  Introducing a new person into the kids’ lives, and making sure they understood that person was NOT a replacement for one of their other parents was quite a feat.  We worked very hard to make sure they knew that no one was going to require that they have any kind of affection for Mister, as well as letting them know that it was ok to have more than two parent-type adults in their lives.

Now, they all don’t outright say “I love you” to each other very often, but you can tell they feel that way.  Every night the kids give us both Goodnight hugs, and sometimes the younger two will give him a little kiss on the cheek too.  As they skip off to their rooms sometimes they’ll holler back, “Love ya!”  to both of us.  And the other day when I was introducing Mister as the kids’ step-dad to someone, Josh threw his arms around him and said, “And I love him SO much!”  That just melted my heart.

Mister & the kids at the Grand Canyon

I know how much Mister loves them, simply by how he treats them and helps to parent them.  They know it too.  Megan, the teenager, considers him her ally when she feels I am being unreasonable.  They all go to him with any serious questions or concerns.  There was even an incident about 6 months ago when Megan had finished a conversation with her Dad and immediately asked if she could speak with Mister and I afterwards.  When we asked her what was going on, she turned to MISTER, told him her issue and what her Dad had advised her, and then asked him what HE thought of it.  The kids all know that he is reasonable, fair, and they all know that he will give them an explanation if they ask for it (and many times even when they don’t!).  We never say to them, “Because I said so” although sometimes I am sorely tempted to!

I could not have asked for a better relationship between the kids and Mister.  I am so glad that they all do care for each other so much, and that they all respect each other.  I know all of that has come from no one feeling pressured or forced to “like” the other person.  It also comes from the kids having the knowledge that they have the freedom to say what they think and feel, and that they may respectfully question us, and our rules, and we will respond to them and their concerns just as respectfully.

I am thankful for this family!!

Our Family

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