Posts Tagged ‘reflection’

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Sincere Reflection

May 3, 2017
I am biased. I think the new catch phrase is “implicit bias” and as a new para-educator I am supposed to be looking at that.
I am prejudiced too.
I think I resist even admitting those two things because usually someone will also throw in that I am closed-minded, racist, bigoted, Bible-thumping, hateful and hate-filled.
But I was having a conversation (if you want to call it that) with another parent volunteer the other day and at the end of it, I felt convicted and rightfully guilty.
It started simple enough. I was propping my feet up because they were swollen and hurting and as a responsible and reasonable adult I could not take any meds to allievate the pain and still drive my child around. This began my discourse into my current medical state–a journey that began last December when on the job I picked up pneumonia. This parent I was speaking to had indicated a fairly decent amount of medical knowledge so I knew she understood when I named my condition and the medications I take that weaken my immune system. And I know everyone understands that a school is a cesspool of nasty germs.
My assignment at the time was a difficult one with the most challenging students. I actually learned a lot about myself–that I could do something I never had the intention of doing before, that I could be an advocate even if I didn’t have the license or title behind it, that I had things to offer.
But none of that matters if I say, “This has been a horrible year for illness and THOSE PARENTS, you know, they send those kids to school so sick.”
I think that is the moment I lost all credibilty and respect in my listener’s eyes. It didn’t matter what else I said. Because after she let me ramble on about how the pneumonia turned into three back-to-back sinus infections followed by tonsilitis and now because I couldn’t take my necessary meds I was in the worst flair since I was diagnosed…. she told me she had one of those kids. Not school-aged yet, but she was one of THOSE PARENTS.
Usually I reserve my bias and prejudice until I have multiple interactions to form an opinion. I am an introvert that avoids anything that makes me uncomfortable so I gravitate to what I know. It doesn’t mean I fear or hate or whatever people that are different from me (be it looks or lifestyle or status). It just takes me longer to get to know others and feel comfortable. Often I really have no opinion or feelings either negative or position about people I meet.
But my negative bias, prejudice, opinion, comes from a negative experience. I would like to say often I give people and experiences multiple tries before I write them off or have negative bias and prejudice. But not always. Rather than expressing any kind of sympathy or understanding for THOSE PARENTS, I blamed them for my current medical condition and swollen, painful feet.
Just by labeling them THOSE PARENTS.
And I can’t even say it was the pain talking. I had used the phrase before. While I may have had nods of understandin from those listeners–I wonder how many were thinking, “Wow! I can’t believe she said that!”
I don’t think there is any “politically correct” and un-biased way of saying parents who send their children to school put many at risk without really considering that maybe, just maybe, some of those parents (and children) do not have a choice. I have sick leave that, while precious given my health, I can take and not worry about losing my job. What if THOSE PARENTS don’t? My children are healthy–what’s the phrase “neuro-typical” and in fact are high achievers. I’ve never not known what to do with them, really. Only once post-op did I call the grandparents to come get them because I couldn’t physically take care of them yet. What a luxory!
It is okay to have opinion. It is okay to have and to exercise judgement. It is okay to have a preference for what we like and do not like. But when we do not “walk a mile” in their shoes and we say things to separate ourselves from individuals or groups just because we had an unfortunate experience… we are biased and prejudice and we may not even know it.
And I did not like the mirror held up to me because of my own actions. And she didn’t have to say a word.
I truly hope I learn from this and grow in compassion and understand how my biases and prejudices shape me and influence what I say and do. And I hope that I will be better and set a better example for my children.
*****
My daughters and I have had conversations about race and prejudice. Sure I don’t know what it is like to have anyone look at me in fear and distrust because of the color of my skin but please don’t make a blanket statement that I have to be racist because of the color of my skin. If anything, I’d say I’m “situationally biased”. If I were to find myself in a dark alley–I’m not looking at your skin color; I’d be fearful of anyone I’d meet in that alley from the smallest Asian man to the tallest white woman. I’d even say I’m probably a classist–is that a thing? Again, it doesn’t matter the color of your skin if you look the part. Are you dressed like a homeless person or a contributing member of society? Are you dressed like a prosti-tot or an honor student? Are you dressed like a thug or like a entrepreneur?
And it is these attitudes that I need to temper and soften and give people more benefit of the doubt and stop seeing it as me (or us) and THOSE PEOPLE.
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Thirty Days of Thanks: Week 4

November 30, 2013

Nov. 25 I am thankful for a few days to rest before things get hectic again. Been recharging my batteries so that I can fully enjoy the season and time with family.

Nov. 26 I am thankful for a young man named John. He knows who he is. 😉

Nov. 27 I am thankful that “the sun WILL come out tomorrow.” But I am also thankful for the large fat snowflakes today… what a beautiful sight.

EP: Um – I’m thankful for snowflakes as long as they  DON’T STICK!  😀

Nov. 28 Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. I am thankful that when my BIL borrowed the Chief’s truck, he didn’t let his girlfriend drive his car home because we needed it this morning–so cold that the door locks on my car would not keep the door closed. I am thankful we got to the race. I am thankful to RR for walking with my girls while I ran. I don’t know my official time but I’m pretty sure I beat my time (and I’m pretty sure I beat Matt too :p)! And Happy Hanukkah to friends and family that celebrate.

AEV:  Happy thanksgiving, SnipeWife. So proud that you ran!!! Awesome girly! You rock!
CN: great job hun!
LMB: good race!
SnipeWife: I did beat my time, only by 52 seconds but I still beat it.
 1408 19/47 SnipeWife 00:03:32 00:34:18 00:37:50 00:34:18 11:02
If I had been racing in my age group instead of weight class, I would have been 69/117 (67/83 if against men in my age group). And that’s 1408 out of 2198 timed runners (Men, women, and children). I’ll take it.
Sadly, no photos at all this time.
EP: Yay!  Glad things went well!  Hope y’all had a good Thanksgiving.

Nov. 29 I am thankful that T, B, & S joined me for breakfast this morning. It always lifts my spirits to start the season off with you guys (extra bonus to be with S on her birthday!). You ladies are the best. Good food, fun conversation, lively energy, laughs … just what I needed. It’s actually kind of fun to see our daughters being old enough to join us. Hopefully next year R won’t have a school project needing to get done before D gets home to help …

TM: great start to the season!

Nov. 30 Today I am thankful for the gift of life … my own, those I love, those that have gone on, for spiritual life–a debt I can never repay. I know who I am, I know my flaws intimately so this time of reflection, not just one day but a month of thanksgiving, is humbling. I have seen in the years that I’ve done this that I am more grateful year-round … not every day and not in every situation (especially not when illness gets me down–must work on that and stop making people think I’m sickly ALL the time!) but I am and will always be a work in progress. So I end with “God bless us, everyone.”

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Best About Both

August 30, 2011

This post is kind of hard for me to write. I made a promise to myself that this blog would not be where I would vent current personal issues but then if you want to know what it is like being a “SnipeWife” and “How do I do it?” then sometimes I might need to touch upon a relationship issue.

I was recently asked what is the best thing about DH being home. The buffer. He’s my first line of defense. He answers the phone when I don’t want to; he entertains the children the first 30 minutes they’re home from school so I can gradually transition from silence to the busiest portion of our day; he takes turns putting them to bed; he loses his cool with them letting me know it is not just me they drive crazy. He’ll say “no” for me and I don’t have to feel guilty.

He cooks. He cleans. He chauffeurs the children to their various activities and rarely complains about how busy we are.

On the flip side I was asked what is the best thing about when DH is gone. I very quickly and candidly answered, “I don’t have to take his feelings into consideration.” I can just get up and go and the children have to follow along. I can stay in work-out clothes and not wonder at the end of the day if I should have tried to “clean up” for him. After all, all those old relationship books say we wives should greet our husbands at the door in a freshly pressed dress, heels, and a cocktail so he can relax from his long day at work. HA! NOT!

If you were to ask these questions two years ago, the first answer would be the same. I’m not so sure about the second. I think if you asked me in two years I would hope it would be different as well. But I can see how such an answer can be a precursor to things I don’t ever want to deal with and places I don’t ever want to go. I can see how such a simple thought as “I don’t have to consider his feelings” can turn into resentment of the times when you do. Once that resentment takes hold it quickly passes to the other partner and it is a downhill spiral many marriages do not survive once the children are gone or retirement from service happens.

My statement right now does not reflect resentment. It reflects what I’ve been going through the past year, the self-reflection I’ve been doing, the “speed-bump” DH and I are going through regarding communication and the stress of his job. We are on uncharted territory with his new position of authority and even here at home with T1 in middle school and becoming a teenager. And it all comes at a bad time with my personal crisis and mystery pain/illness. I do not resent him or resent that I have check in with him, ask him first, or put my plans on hold for the time being–I do all those things willingly, not because he asks it of me, but because I believe he makes far greater compromises and sacrifices for me and the children.

As I said, two years ago the thought wouldn’t have crossed my mind, and I suspect two years from now it won’t either–as long as I rein it in. I’m struggling with having to consider everyone’s feelings right now–church, extended family, the school, the PTA, the scouts, the soccer teams… DH is just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It has been good to look at these two questions. Taking stock of what I’m feeling right now and being forewarned that this tiny seed could become such a horrible festering wound to our marriage is a good thing. I can do everything I can to acknowledge what I’m feeling right now and know that tomorrow will be full of different feelings and circumstances and there is no reason for either of us to resent the other if we are honest and working together as partners in this marriage.

I hope that young couples living “this life” or even military families can read this honest reflection and take one thing: the moment you start to resent anything about your spouse you are in grave danger of losing everything. Keep it in check and communicate because you may be surprised how the other person is feeling too. Armed with this realization about what I’m feeling, I have to do everything I can to make sure DH understands I do not resent him. If I were oblivious of what I was feeling and why, if I were acting and reacting accordingly then DH could suddenly start resenting the way I was treating him. Without talking to him about it we would suddenly create such a vicious circle.

For only having lived together 8 years of the past 15 1/2 years of marriage we’re not doing too badly. And I praise God for the strength of our marriage, even when it gets rocky.

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