Note bene: I use the second person ("you") in this post. I do this because using the third person ("one") sounds dumb. But I don't mean "you" like YOU... I mean YOU are probably just pausing in the middle of pumpkin gutting, up to your wrists in goop, tapping your tablet with your elbow in your commitment to reading my bloggage. And I love you for it, glorious YOU. ;) Thanks for reading, sharing, and emoting along with me here....)
10. They are likely doing the best they know how. You know, the people we want to criticize. They just might even be doing what God wants them to do.
I once heard the expression, "Everyone does the best they can with what they have." In my experience with other people, it rings true. Right along with "Be kinder than necessary: everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."
What got me on this topic? One word. Homeschooling. And two more words. Public schooling. And me. I do both.
Oh yeah, and like every blog comment war I ever read. Seriously. RIDICULOUS.
Particularly sad when it's in-fighting. I mean, I love a good, lively debate. But the judgmental stuff...We're all trying to live good lives and get to heaven, so why the hell are we beating on each other along the way?
I mean, not here. You guys are nice. Or you're not nice, and trying to say something mean, but you are too lazy or confused by this blog to be my own true troll. ;)
9. Jumping to conclusions is a dangerous occupation. It's something all we humans all do naturally, and well.
Part of it's survival. "That's a bear. That bear looks mad. I'm gonna leave before that bear decides to disembowel me."
Part of it's common sense. "This child's bottom is wet. She has obviously sat in a puddle of water. Please God, let it be a puddle of water."
And part of it's just plain stupid. "You have been married ten years, and have one kid. Where are the other nine? You must be self-centered."
There's this beautiful, under-used phrase. "Benefit of the doubt." (BOTD :) What a tremendous gift that is.
8. You probably don't know what it's like to be that person. No. You don't. There is likely something very crucial about this person that you do not know.
Take my kids for instance, and the well-meaning guilt trips I've been dosed with when people find out that I'm over-sheltering one child in an anti-social environment, while abandoning the other to the completely godless world of government-controlled classrooms.
Here's the thing: I respect my kids' privacy. I'm not going to gab about their shortcomings and divulge their needs anymore than I want them gabbing about and divulging mine. Suffice it to say: I have one wonderful, intelligent daughter who is being homeschooled this year. I have another wonderful, intelligent daughter in public school this year. Both are learning, thriving, and where--I believe--they are supposed to be.
Obviously, I'm counter-cultural enough to dare keep an 11 year old home to learn all year. Obviously, I'm not completely anti-public school.
Obviously (to some) I'm doing something wrong.
7. You probably don't have a degree in whatever is ailing this person. In the case of my education choices for my children: you are not their mother. (Ahem)
And as The Momma, I'm doing what works for my family, at this present moment in time. To put it another way, I believe I'm doing what God wants me to do, right now, for my kids. Like I like to sing to them while dancing around them and pinching their cheeks:
Okay, I just sing the mother knows best part. Not the other stuff. Geesh, what kind of mom do you think I am, anyway... ;)
But seriously, why do some people feel the insatiable need to judge my sanity, love, or knowledge of my kids? It seems it's because they think they know better than me what is best for my kids. Which is, on the one hand, insulting, and on the other, really silly. What is up with the one size fits all obsession? Ehhh...
6. You probably aren't in a position of authority over this person. I mean, if you are this person's parent or personal guru, start thinking about what to say, quick. Otherwise, silence can seriously be golden. Like to those of you who hate how I'm raising my children: thank you for your silence. Especially in grocery store cash-out lines when I break open an about-to-be-paid-for box of goldfish to keep down the chaos. If you had perfect kids who are now in their 70's, or if you never had kids, you really shouldn't be talking. Or you risk spending your purgatory in a long grocery line of scowling faces while you handle shrieking kids trying to gum wrapped candy bars while wailing to visit the RedBox. (Yes, that's theologically baseless. Also baseless are my occasional phantasms of men being nine months pregnant in purgatory. But I digress...)
5. Criticism rarely leads to positive change. Think of the last time a person voiced a dislike for something as simple as an article of your clothing. Did you go home thinking, "I feel so loved and cared for by the news that this dress 'does nothing for me.'" No, it didn't really help. Nor does bludgeoning people over the head with truth, common sense, or whatever you'd like to call the club you are currently brandishing at them in the name of justice and right.
4. The negative thing you have to say is probably not fraternal correction. Let's piece that phrase out.
a. Are you like a brother or sister to this person? To put it a different way: Does this person know you love them like family? No? Then that's where to start: by loving them.
b. Do you stand a chance of actually "correcting" this issue? Is it perhaps best to pray, to wait to glean more information about what's actually going on? (Probably.)
3. The world, souls, and/or humpback whales will likely not be saved by what you have to say. I mean, if you are truly operating under the influence of the Holy Spirit, one little word could go a long way. But if you are feeling really, really smug about it... eh, probably not.
2. Using the Golden Rule, criticism should be extremely rare, and extremely well-worded.
1. You are not divine, omniscient, or omnipotent. Me neither. :)
I am told if the ball bounced against the wall, instead of going into the stands, two runs would have scored instead of one. Unable to contain my excitement, I now will bid you adieu.
"Do not judge, and you will not be judged.
Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.
Forgive, and you will be forgiven." Luke 6:37