Is it Judging?

I was a naive child. Usually playing on the playground with the same group of kids every day. We’d played games like tag or tangle. But one day I was playing in the dirt with a different group of kids. And then there was “Dee,” obviously not her real name. She said open your mouth and close your eyes and I’ll give you a big surprise. Suspiciously I asked if she was going to put something in my mouth. Of course not she said. Okay, silly person that I was, I opened my mouth. Guess what? I got dirt in my mouth. I spit and sprayed while grabbing dirt to throw on her. She was long gone laughing all the way. I need to find her and thank her for a lesson that should have been well learned. You know the lesson, don’t believe everything you’re told. People lie. Be skeptical.

I grew up in an honest home. My parents are upfront, trustworthy, salt of the earth people. You could hand them your entire life savings and when you returned to pick it up, you’d get it all back. My mom would drive back across town to return a penny if she was given too much change. Of course it’s also true that if you did them wrong by trying to cheat or harm them, they will never darken your door again. So I didn’t know deceit. Elementary school was a wake up for me. It was my first experience with lying and cheating.

I’ve learned. I can make better judgement calls now and more so as I get older. I try to discern if they are intending to scam me or if they are honest. What I’m uncertain about is if there is a difference between discerning and judging. I looked the words up online since I’ve always thought there was a difference. Judging was something the Sunday school teacher taught that we shouldn’t do. And it was left with that. No talk about it’s okay to decide to avoid people who appeared dangerous, just Don’t Judge. Judging is wrong. Which left us good little girls in a bad situation. If you prevent judgement in all cases then we don’t have any defense to prevent rape, murder, or any other harm. Surely that’s not what they meant. But God protected us. Where was he when the girl put dirt in my mouth or when some boy was pressuring us into sex? Did we have the right to say no?

Being good and subservient does not go well with standing up for your rights. At the same time purity was taught. If you don’t understand the dilemma I completely understand. I’m not sure I do either. There were very few secrets from the all-knowing God or the pastor that God spoke to continually. He knew every evil thought and every judgement you made about another.

Today, I hate and despise these ideals. I don’t believe kids need to sit down and shut up. I also believe they need to learn how to decide. I say eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Eat often. Learn, decide, choose, and be skeptical. We were not meant to be sheep thrown out into the pasture with wolves and dogs. I was unprepared for life and I know that I was not alone. It was a sad trick someone played on us. Dressed up in our frilly pink dresses, we were told to go outside and play, but don’t get dirty.

Maybe I’m just angry. I was powerless and told it was right. Any power I had felt wrong. I worried for years that someone would find out and reprimand me. NO MORE. I’ve worked very hard in my life for freedom. To have the right to discern and judge for myself. I now decide if something is good for me or will do me harm. It’s not based on anyone else’s ideal, only my own well-being. And it feels right.

There are other words. Maybe you can tell if there is a difference.

Discern – discriminate, distinguish, differentiate, separate, contrast

Judge – examine, determine, evaluate, figure out, inspect, interpret

Skeptical – cautious, suspicious, leery, unconvinced, not following

There is No Savior Coming

There is no savior coming. The world didn’t end and the planet is still spinning. We waited. We went to our rooftops and waited. Patiently. We looked up and knew our salvation would come. Our justice. Our time of redemption. Our toils and hard days are over. Finally there was a reward for our long labor. Surely, it wasn’t in vain.

Ha! Nothing happened. But what does that mean? No Santa coming down the chimney? No Peter Rabbit? What about Jesus? Or the Saints? Surely someone is coming. They do know we are looking for them, right?

Why has there been no savior? Where is our hero? Better yet, have you looked at ourselves lately? We are acting like children. We are acting like teenagers whose parents are out-of-town. We have the house to ourselves and we’ve wrecked it.

I was thinking about this in the light of Santa and childhood stories and it dawned on me. What if no saviors are coming because they want us to grow up? It’s entirely possible that if there are gods watching over us, they are using tough love. When the fridge is empty, we might have to go to the store ourselves. We might have to wash a dish or mow our own lawn. Jiminy Cricket! Has it come to that?

Yikes! God can’t be that cruel could he? This is all speculation on my part. I don’t have a divine link or anything mystical like that. I do know child development. When a child is on the floor throwing a tantrum, the most effective method is to walk away. We want, as parents, to grab the child and stop the noise, but that’s not the best way for a child to learn. People learn experimentally. Or, in the words of science, empirically. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Empirical

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We learn by trying. We learn by failing. We learn not to stick our hands on the hot stove because we have done it. Ouch. Hot. Parents that protect their children from failure aren’t really helping them at all. They are crippling them. Children allowed to explore and grow can make better decisions. They aren’t innocent but they are wise. There is a sense of fullness to their energy.

If I were a god, if I were in charge, I would wait. I would not jump in to rescue us. We have not come to the fullness of our learning. We need to experience our own strength. This is not to show us how inept we are or how much we need a big strong god. This is how you grow a strong person. You let them make choices. You let them try.

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All up in the Air with Personality

Waiting on the porch on Mother's Day 2007
Waiting on the porch on Mother’s Day 2007 (Photo credit: leewrightonflickr)

Do you remember the old televisions from the 1970’s with the picture tube inside? It was before digital, so I’m telling my age. When I was young, we had this television that the picture would start rolling up like the credits on a movie. You’d  bang it really hard with your hand on the side to get it to stop. Smack it. Our TV was dented on the side.

A very caveman way of handling a piece of equipment.

Today that wouldn’t work. Our televisions are now electronics, with circuit boards. Hit it like that and you’ll hurt your hand on the hard plastic and knock loose a circuit. Won’t fix anything. You have to know your equipment.

We also had an old Chevy truck. It had a choke that you opened. Just a knob that you pulled out on the dashboard. You pumped the gas pedal to let a bit of fuel into the engine. Then you could start the truck. Oh the joys of vehicles before fuel injection. If you knew your truck, you knew from experience  how many times to pump the pedal. If you did too many, you’d flood the engine and have to wait 10 or so minutes for the fuel to trickle out. Too few and the truck wouldn’t start. In these beautiful days of fuel injection there is no worry of this. No chokes to pull. No cranks to turn. Please don’t pump the pedal. Just start your car.

We have to know our equipment.

Whether it’s a car or a television. Know what you’re dealing with. If you have a classic vehicle it will handle differently than a newer sports car or even a normal sedan. You might not break the thing but you won’t be driving it at it’s best. You probably won’t appreciate it for its own beauty.

LA VATA LOCA
LA VATA LOCA (Photo credit: OrniCosa)

I would hope you wouldn’t treat a newborn baby like a mostly grown teenage boy.  Once when I was teaching 1 to 2-year-old class in a church setting, one of the children came in very distraught. With a red face and tears all pouring out her eyes, she was clinging to her mom. For this little girl it was unusual. Some kids go through this normally but not her. Mom was becoming hysterical herself. She said she didn’t know what to do. That her daughter had started being “rebellious” soon after mom had went back to work. My first thought was Rebellious? The whole thing was so obvious. The girl wanted her mom. Her schedule changed. During the week, she’d been forced (from a child’s perspective) to stay with people she didn’t know and now Mommy was leaving her again. She only wanted the comfortable spot on her mom’s lap.  Rebellion requires a much more developed mind than a 2-year-old has. Even the so-called terrible twos are not really rebellion, just checking out where the boundaries are.

If you know what’s normal, it’s easier to know when things are not right.  If you know what’s normal for your personality it’s so much easier to help yourself in a difficult time. I was once concerned with being too cocky, too proud. I had it repeated in my formative years that God hates a proud heart. Pride goes before a fall. Me, being the compliant child that I was, tried diligently to not be proud. For a compliant child that meant never bragging or talking about achievements. And loads of guilt for thinking anything positive about myself.

Rebellion of the sweets
Rebellion of the sweets (Photo credit: Wimena Kane)

Who of us hasn’t been there? We have to understand who we are. I’m speaking only from my perspective at this time since it’s currently the only one I really know. I realize your perspective is different and I don’t mean at all to leave you out of the conversation. I would like to hear your experience also.

I was sitting on the floor with my favorite yoga lady one day. We were talking about food and books we enjoyed. She remarked that I seemed very Vata-Vata. Basically if you don’t know of the Indian Doshas, Vata is the air-like, ether-like personality. All dreamland and spirituality. My Vata-ness was showing I guess.

I had tried recently and in the past many times to eat lighter. More fruits and raw vegetables. This goes along with the advice of all the super knowledgeable people out there. The diet leaves me cold, physically and mentally. I realize to these experts, lightening up seems right. For me I crave potatoes and cooked carrots. Warm oatmeal with toast and jam. Warm tea. I seldom crave a pop. Occasionally yes it hits the spot but not everyday. Too much activity and caffeine makes my head spin. Energy drinks give me a headache. So when people recommend these things I just nod at them and realize I probably need to do the opposite.

All up in the air.

I often listen to the wrong advice it seems. They recommend that we as people need  more spirit.  More meditation. So I try. They say we need to visualize. Okay, no problem. Then my head hurts. Suddenly, I understood what my yoga teacher had tried to tell me and what others have said, that I’m wired backward. I need more physical not spiritual training. I’m at home in the temple praying. But take me to the swimming pool or the ski slopes and I’ll run away scared. She said I was all up in here (as she waved her hands in the air). I needed to learn to come back into my body. To live in my body and stay at home there.

So when they say I need to control my anger, I have to pause. Back up and reverse. Me, I tend to hold my tongue too long. I think about everything I say. I think twice or three times about all my silly emails and Facebook posts. Things like holding my tongue? Seriously I really need to speak up more, not less.
So now when you get advice, take it into consideration, but also know your own nature. Is it just adding a gag along with the muzzle? Duct taping over the superglue? Redundant redundancy? Or is it helpful?

Here are a couple of places to get some perspective on personalities.
Keirsey.com
Dosha Quiz