Showing posts with label judging others. Show all posts
Showing posts with label judging others. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Woman in the Background

Formally titled "Walking in Another’s Shoes (or "What Are the Odds?")"

Miranda and her mother live in Arizona.  They had come to Utah to spend the Thanksgiving Holidays.  On Black Friday they found themselves at an Old Navy store in Sandy, Utah.  The two were smiling as someone took their picture, which evidently Miranda immediately posted to her facebook page.  The focus should have been on mom and daughter – to see their happiness.  But for some reason her facebook friends seem more drawn to the woman in the background.  Apparently she wore a sour expression that many “friends” felt the need to poke fun at. 

         I have not seen the photo myself nor read the hurtful comments.  But I’ve been told that they exist - or did.  And with the given track record of facebook, I have no reason to doubt it.  People can be hurtful and mean and put others down without even knowing them or the circumstances or background of the individual that we are demeaning with our hateful words.  We become facebook bullies. 

         I have mentioned my sister-in-law, Sunny and her enthusiasm and her remarkable spirit.  Evidently she teaches the gospel doctrine lessons – which she says is somewhat intimidating, as most of the class members appear to be old enough to be her parents or grandparents.    Sunny always prays and studies out her lessons (or talks or sharing time or whatever her calling is) and always seems to have a fountain of Spirit pouring out of her.  She radiates! 
         Her subject was on the Proclamation of the Family.  Because of the signs of the time and issues in the media, she knew that subjects may be brought up with confrontation and judgment – and did not want her class to become a sideshow or debate.  She did a lot of research and called Corey to ask his approach.  Corey ALWAYS has good advice, as the Spirit seems to be with him ever much as it is for Sunny.

         Sunny ended up writing a huge list before the class had even started.  On her list she had put gay marriages, unwed mothers, child abuse, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, spousal abuse, divorce, temple marriages, civil marriages, single mothers, mixed families . . . . there were a lot.  It sounds like her list covered the entire board.

         After the opening prayer she shared the story at the beginning of this post – from her point of view.  Sunny was the sourpuss woman in the background of the photo.  She has some sibs who happened to be facebook friends with Miranda.  What are the odds?

         After far too many hurtful comments, one of Miranda’s friends contacted her and asked her to please remove the photo with all of it’s comments – for the woman in the background whom the “friends” were bashing was her sister – and it was hurtful to see all those unnecessary comments who had lost focus of what the picture really should have represented.

         Sunny (an enthusiastic shopper and person by nature) hadn’t had a proper amount of sleep and fully admitted that she was not in the best of mood when she returned to Old Navy for the third time in less than 24 hours.  It is quite evident from the photo that Sunny did NOT want to be there - but she is such a great mother she had sacrificed her time to take her fourteen year old daughter and stand in line while Candy found items that she wanted to purchase.  (Sunny is not her actual name.  I call her that because of her normally sunny disposition - which evidently is quite hidden in the photo) 

         Sunny finished relating the events that had taken place and concluded with a plea to not pass judgment.  She pointed to words on her list while saying, “This is my brother”,  “This is my sister”, and “Everybody in this room knows somebody on this list”  
         Sunny said the Spirit had been invited into the room and stayed throughout the class.  She said she felt great about the lesson and knows that others were touched as she received heartfelt compliments.  She really is a great teacher – great person really.  And those in Miranda’s circle would never say the mean things they did if they actually did know Sunny.

         As Sunny shared her lesson and as I later related this all to Roland, I realized that I am guilty of jumping to conclusions long before I try walking in another’s shoes.  May I always keep this with me that I may recognize that all people are a part of the human race – always somebody’s brother, somebody’s daughter, somebody’s parent, somebody’s friend.

         May we all recognize others as our own family members.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Nothing wrong with being Fox or Chick

“What do you like for breakfast?”
Said Fox to Chick one day.
But Chick was silent and frightened. 
He didn’t know what to say.

“I like eating vegetables.”
Fox continued on.
“I like raw ones upon my plate
And I eat until they’re gone’

“I like all kinds, but my favorite
Are the ones that have a root.
I’ll eat legumes to get protein.
Don’t care much for meat or fruit.”

Still quiet and bewildered,
Chick didn’t say a thing
The nervous fowl just shuttered
Beneath each wing.

And then they heard the taunting:
“Fox and Chick sitting in a tree . . .”
“Are they teasing both of us?” Chick asked.
“Or are they only teasing me?”

“I’m different,” said the fox, “And so
All the other animals make fun.
They think I ought to be a certain way.
And not the way I’ve done’

“I don’t think the same as most fox do
I don’t fit the stereotypical mold
But it’s okay.  I’m not like them.
Being true to myself I uphold.”

Chick understood. Fox wasn’t the same
Fox wasn’t going to eat Chick
There is something to be admired about
Making individualism stick.


Friday, July 20, 2012

A Reflection about the past and Present

          If I can’t get interested in a movie in the first twenty minutes or a novel within the first ten pages, I usually don’t continue.  That may not seem like I am giving a fair chance – maybe so.  But it’s something I have decided not to gamble on – usually. 

`        There have been too many movies and even more books read where I have sat through its entirety and am quite upset with myself for having wasted my time.  That is why I usually don’t go beyond twenty minutes or ten pages.  But sometimes I do.

          “that’s what I am” was actually kind of a slow movie – one I watched in parts because of several interruptions.  I don’t know if I would have continued otherwise – though I was somewhat intrigued by the narration by Greg Kinnear – it reminded me of Jean Shepherd’s “The Christmas Story” or “Ollie Hopnoodle’s Haven of a Bliss” or Jim Carrey as the Adult Joe Wenteworth in “Simon Birch”

I don’t ever remember seeing any advertisements or even heard of “that’s what I am”.  Evidently it came out just over a year ago – must have gone straight to DVD.  I’m thinking it may not have done well at the box office.  But what do I know?

“that’s what I am” is a coming of age story set in 1965.  But there is more to it than the character of Andy Nichol (the character who narrates the story.)  Observations were made about the supporting characters of Andy’s world.

There is bullying against “the geeks” weeded out mostly on looks.  Stanley is a tall boy with red hair.  They call him “Big G” – G stands for ginger, an unkind word associated with red hair.  I don’t see it so much now as I did as a youth.  Many redheaded kids I had known were either shy or rebellious and often treated like outcasts – I think that’s stupid!

Stanley is smart – very smart.  Mr. Simon is the science teacher (or is it social studies?  I suppose it doesn’t really matter) that pairs Stanley and Andy together to complete an assignment (also hated that; grade me on my own merits, not an assigned partner) and Andy can’t seem to get together with Stanley except at lunch – but Stanley has lunch where the geeks are.  

They have been shunned to a lower class by the rest of the school – and if Andy were to cross the line – well, people might think that he’s a geek, too.  But Stanley won’t give up to doing assignments before or after school – Andy’s option is to be seen with Big G or just let Big G do all the work – easy grade, right. 

When a girl gets bullied (I’m guessing sexually – though they didn’t really show it) Mr. Simons takes action and the bully is suspended.  And so he starts an unkind rumor about Mr. Simons that threatens to put his job in jeopardy if he doesn’t deny the rumor.

It’s an unfair thing for this bully’s accusations to cause sparks to fly – to question the integrity of this man who has taught for many years and brought under investigation because of some bad mouth bully whom the principal doesn’t necessarily believe – but still – he has made an accusation nevertheless and the matter needs to be looked into.

Mr. Simon could easily deny the rumor – whether true or false – and there would be no investigation – but he chooses instead not to answer at all – which of course in grounds for dismissal –

Perhaps in 1965 the denial would have been good enough. But today there has to be an investigation, a suspension, a probation – and some of these accusations turn out to be true while others are just months and years of dragging ones good name through the mud so that the rumor is the only thing remembered and the fact that there is no truth to whatever rumor was started seems irrelevant – which is too bad.

Roland’s ex-wife has made false accusations about everyone she’s known, I imagine.  It’s a sickness on her part.  After a while she believes her own lies.  She won’t let up for anything.

Roland and I were not sealed in the temple until three years after we had married.  His membership was in jeopardy – not once – but several times at her wicked hands. She obviously doesn't know that Roland is in the bishopric or else she would do everything in her power to tarnish his good name and present position.

I know that there have been many who have lost their careers due to scandal – whether in the armed services, law enforcement, education, and what have you.  It happens.  There are those who have had to face up to their wrong doings and there are some who have basically had to start over because of the tarnished mishaps that often seem to haunt them.  Some move on with regret – others choose to move on and make the best of it (if that is even possible).

There are some people who are sour grapes and will remain that way no matter what.  I recall once being on a cruise line in which one particular couple would complain about their purser – giving him a bad rating – which of course would come up for investigation.  Each group of people who happened to have the same purser made it a point to complain about the couple and defend the purser.  I don’t know what the results were.  I hope the cruise line realized that the problem was with the couple and not the purser.

          I think the things I enjoyed most about “that’s what I am” happen at the finale, after the bully receives what’s coming to him.  And Mr. Simon went out with a blaze of glory.  But the best was at the very end – because there really is more than one correct way to mow a lawn.  It would be so nice if everybody could see that.  If it’s getting done, don’t harp on how it needs to be done.  Who decides what makes something politically correct anyway?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

What makes Dr. Laura so high and mighty anyway?

Many people see the world as black and white.  No shades of grey.  Definitely no color.  Everything is absolutely wrong or absolutely right – there is no room for individualism.  We all need to be these perfect cookie cutter molds that would never dare venture out of the box.

          Dr. Laura – to me- sounds like a very black and white person.  And of course her way is the correct way.  No ifs, ands or buts.  Why is it that folks even call into her program?  Is it their wish to be humiliated on the air and given a “duh” speech and still not understand that they’ve been slammed?

          I don’t actually listen to her program intentionally.  Roland always tunes the car radio onto talk radio, and sometimes I just happen to be in the car when Dr. Laura gives common sense advice to her mostly pathetic callers.

For the most part I do agree with the advice she gives – but not necessarily the way she gives it.  Her tone often matches what I am thinking in my head – though I doubt I’d ever talk to a total stranger that way:  “why in the world are you even in this position when you are obviously too stupid to figure out what it was that even brought you here?”

Her answers are short, direct – never sweet.  Seriously.  Why are there callers who only encourage her to stay on the air?  After only three calls (if that) we are done.  If Roland and I have not arrived to our destination by then, I will change the station.  Please.

I copied this from a blog quite recently.  Love the message.  I wonder how many people get it though.

“Dear Dr. Laura:
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination… End of debate.
I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God’s Laws and how to follow them.
1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?
2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is, my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath.Exodus 35:2. clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?
6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination – Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination?
7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle- room here?
8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?
9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.
Your adoring fan.
James M. Kauffman, Ed.D. Professor Emeritus Dept. of Curriculum,
Instruction, and Special Education University of Virginia”

I did not get Mr. Kauffman’s permission to reprint.  Nor did I get Dr. Laura’s.  But I do think it is something that should be shared.  And has been (as it was not Dr. Kauffman’s blog where I first read it.) 

(Now at this point Dr. Laura would tell me that I shouldn’t even have a Blog – as I am too stupid to figure out the gadgets and insert here to refer to another post.  And I really shouldn’t just let my feet dangle in the water unless I can prove that I can swim)

Scriptures have been used to prove and disprove certain lifestyles.  Take slavery for example.  Both north and south used supposedly the same set of scripture to oppose or endorse slavery.  Why God was for it.  Why God was against it.  I don’t believe the Bible is black and white.  It’s not complete.  There are oodles of grey. 

Where are the actual writings of Moses or Joseph or Methuselah?  Do we really have all the epistles that were written by Paul?  And what about the Apocrypha?  I would gander a guess that it is not even included in most Bibles.  And the Songs of Solomon – really?  Grey. (Or is it in colour?)

Pharisees were so busy living to the letter of the law, they didn’t take time out to understand why the laws were even given.  A parent who has a variety of personalities among his/her children knows that one method of discipline that works on one child may not work on another.

For example grounding Patrick to his room was treacherous punishment. But Corey and I actually preferred our alone time.  Banishing us to our rooms was actually quite preferable.  Whereas forcing us to go outside was torture – or so we believed at the time.  Actually forcing me to go outdoors in reality contributed to my becoming a more well rounded person.

The point is that individualism isn’t black and white.  There are several shades of grey.  But more importantly there is color.  Lots of color.  And what a blessing it is for us to have those rainbows in our lives.  And for those who will accept the rainbows and appreciate that not everything is black and white.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Unstaged Reality

I don’t much care for reality shows.  As a whole, I think so many started out as bogus – though there are some really good ones now.  I don’t watch the Biggest Loser, but that is at least believable as being real. So many of the first reality shows introduced were “staged”.

          Over five years ago TBS advertised one called “He’s a Lady”.  I would roll my eyes every time I saw the commercial.  And yet, I must have been intrigued.  Must have had some sense of morbid curiosity.  Why would a guy subject himself to follow in a woman’s footsteps for 6 weeks or two months or whatever it was.  How about a quarter of a million prize money?  Or the “false” advertisement which drew them to enter in the first place?

          There were at least eleven candidates who had applied for “The All American Man” contest – prove to the nation just who was the most macho.  Some had envisioned physical competition.  Some thought their knowledge of “man power” would win them over. Others may have had something else in mind.  No one expected the rules would have them dressing up, making themselves over, and doing their best to imitate woman such as their wives and girlfriends.

          Some might have bailed upon hearing the truth of what the contest entailed.  But there were eleven men picked to start off this new reality series.

          I was rooting for Rick.  I didn’t know him.  Perhaps it was his charisma or that he was a dad of five children or because he was the oldest of all the contestants.  I don’t know.  Something.
  But Rick was let go after the first round -  along with three others.  Some disappointed that they had been dismissed so soon but at the same time relieved not to have to endure more humiliation. 

          Mike and Albert (or Scarlet and Alberta) definitely made the prettiest females.  In fact Albert actually made for a more attractive woman than he did as a guy.  David (Wynona) was definitely NOT attractive – and actually quite awkward about trying to pass himself off as a woman.  

          At the end of each episode, the guys got to select one among them that might be voted off the show and the final decision was given to the judges.  Mike had been selected at least three times.  Mike (Scarlet) was beautiful.  He also had attitude.  If the show had been solely about beauty he might have won.  But there was a lot more to it – though I don’t know that the contestants really got it at first (if at all).

          David was never selected to leave the show.  He was gawky.  Not a potential threat to any of the other contestants.  Surely having David in the group would just increase the chances of any other to win the quarter of a million dollars. 

          It wasn’t just the contestants who found David’s behavior as a woman non-realistic.  He’d get stares from men and woman alike shaming him because he was homely, or clumsy, or obviously not a women or whatever.  David sensed it and it was uncomfortable just to have to present himself as a woman – but to have others treat him as though he didn’t matter made it even more difficult.

          I rooted for David.  I didn’t want to because I can never pick a winner.  Whether it’s a painting or photography or food selection or a person – whenever I show an interest, it (or he) is always eliminated. The judges never like what I like.  They often vote for what (or whom) I don’t.

          David showed great compassion and felt emotion both as David and as Wynonna.  He was getting it.  And each day he understood it more.  Women DON’T have it easy.  Sometimes men are pigs.

          David went on to be one of the three finalists.  He had a shot at the quarter of a million prize – and for the first time he realized he could actually win.  Before the final judgment, each of the contestants answered the question, “How has being a woman helped you become better at being a man?”  David gave the most awesome answer ever.

          “. . . men’s obsession with external beauty can be hurtful when the greater beauty inside is ignored . . .” he had learned greater respect.  He had established friendships and had learned lessons that were far greater than the prize money.

         I was crying.  David was crying.  His wife was crying. The audience was crying.  The former contestants who had returned for the finale were crying.  The judges were crying.  Even John Salley who seemed too macho to even want any kind of involvement in the silly exploitation was crying.  I still cry whenever I listen to it.

It was David’s speech that won him first prize.  And there were cheers and tears.  It was so awesome.  The judges had actually picked the same person that I had.  That has NEVER happened before.

          I have watched other reality shows since.  But the only ones I think are worth watching are the ones that make me cry.  Undercover Boss, the Locater and Secret Millionaire come to mind.  All great at building up and fulfillment.  I’m grateful to these positive reality shows.