It’s gotten easier

Here begins the story of a former rule follower.

When my wife and I decided to get married (42 years ago now) one of the spin off issues, right out of the gate was our different spiritual backgrounds. Won’t bore you with all the details, only to say, I decided to defer to her in that department, because she was worth it.

On a practical level, I was just going through the motions.

I hadn’t really given it (the spiritual component of my life) too much thought.

Period.

Until I started to.

I started asking “why?” questions.

The more I read, the more questions. I was like a coon dog on a scent.

I finally had a list of 8 to 10 questions that I needed answers to.

I made an appointment to meet with the guy who was our pastor at the time. Took my questions, along with a few handouts I’d come across along the way. He was a sharp, younger man as I recall, he really listened. By the end of our meeting, I was convinced it was time to move on. The official answers I was given that day just did not add up nor satisfy my intellectual curiosity.

The good thing was, during all of those months and weeks leading up to that meeting, I had been processing out loud. Asking my wife what about this? What about that? So by accident, she too had begun to question some of the fundamental things she had been taught from her youth.

We decided it was time to make some tough choices that we knew might not set well with some of her extended family. But staying where we was not an option.

The fear of what other people think is a snare….it’s called “The fear of man” It is a tough place to live.

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10 years later, I found myself in familiar waters.

(This would have been in the early 1990’s.)

Wife was concerned, even back then, on some of the trends happening in education.

She had heard a program on the radio about home schooling, an interview with Dr Raymond and Dorothy Moore.

My first thought was, no way, no how. That’s just plain crazy talk.

Thing about marriage and parenting is, it’s a joint effort. and over the next while, she continued to read and get more information. She didn’t nag, didn’t talk too much about it, but my lack of support and encouragement, didn’t stop her from doing her own research. It finally came to a head (that whole issue of possibly home schooling our kids) With tears in her eyes, she shared her heart with me. At the end our meeting, we agreed we were not going to just jump because this was not some simple thing. We didn’t know anyone else locally at the time who was doing it. We agreed we would take the next year to learn about it, and then decide.

Looking back, that was one of the best decisions we made while the kids were in the home. Ended up doing it for 9 years. Involved the kids in the decision making process as they got older. I could write a blog post on that season of our life.

Actually I have… here.

Emotionally, those same people pleasing fears were in the air. They were in my head. Especially in the early 1990’s, there were a lot of people who thought we were nuts. We’d stepped off the deep end. We probably thought the earth was flat.

Didn’t matter.

The rule follower in me had already tasted the freedom of making decisions not based on what other people might think, but on what make sense to me intellectually after weighing the information. There are relatives to this day, who probably think we were nuts.

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Got time for one more?

COVID-19 and the plethora of spin off issues and questions.

I like that word plethora. Like how it rolls off my tongue.

I have to be honest.
Up until a couple of weeks ago, I have been intellectually lazy on this one.

Hasn’t meant I haven’t been dealing with stuff, just like the rest of you, because I have. It’s just I’ve not been motivated to learn. So I’ve been quiet.

The vitriol once you step foot in the public square, feels like someone has a wood chipper outside my door. Last thing I want to do is get anywhere close to that sucker.

Then I read something in one of the McGuffey readers I bought for fun last winter… It was an essay on the value of Time and Knowledge

“The…value of mental cultivation is another weighty motive for giving attention to reading. What is it that mainly distinguishes a man from a brute? Knowledge…

Knowledge is power. It is the philosopher’s stone, the true alchemy that turns everything it touches into gold…and opens to us the treasures of the universe…”

Knowledge.

Knowledge is power.

So I have started to peck away at the mass of information on the current virus, the history of viruses, prevention, treatment options, vaccinations, and get a working knowledge of it for myself. My baby sister is an RN, works in a local hospital. She has been a good starting place, and continues to let me ask her hard questions.

This feels familiar. Digging in. Reading, Thinking. Asking hard questions.

I will say this,

Once you step away from the wood chipper, there are some things that just do not add up.

Jumped off the page

Reading through the Parent-Teachers guide of the McGuffey Reader  couple of nights ago, the following jumped off the page:

“The phonics controversy does not need to be an either/or argument;  you need not align yourself “for” or “against” phonics.”  

That thought, “it does not need to be an either/or argument; you need not align yourself “for” or “against…” has broad implications for our day.

The discourse in the public square has turned into a bar-room brawl.

Have you ever experienced one first hand? (bar room brawl)

I have.

It was crazy.

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Pick a topic.

Vaccinations.

I’m not 100% for, or against.

Is there a place in the public square for me to say that, or will I be shoved to the side by the thugs from both extremes?

I absolutely believe there is a place for vaccinations.  (Measles, mumps and small pox comes to mind.)

When our kids were little, (early/ mid 1980’s) they were given a series of 12 shots/ 8 diseases.

Here’s a little chart I  pulled off the Internet:

 

Today, your child will be given quadruple that number of shots.

During that same time period,  there has been an exponential increase  of autism in children.  You probably already knew that.

Could there be a connection?

In simple terms. when our eldest was born in 1980,  the chance of  her developing autism was  one in 2000.

My eldest

1 out of  every 2000 children had a chance of developing some form of autism in 1980.

Twenty years later, in the year 2000,  you had a 1 in 150 of developing some form of autism.

1 in 150.

Today, 2021, that number is now 1 in 54.

From 1 out of every 2000, to 1 out of every 54.

The medical profession as a whole says, “It’s a mystery.”

What changed during that time?…humm….

I think you can absolutely make a case for parents who are leery of pumping there precious child full of vaccines.

Instead of deriding all  parents who have questions about vaccines as “anti science,” I believe it is still we the parents, the mom and dad, not some federal government bureaucrat  that has the final say….but for how long?

Someone recently asked… Do I plan to get vaccinated?

No I will not voluntarily chose to get the vaccinations that have been “safely fast tracked.”

That’s my choice. Not imposing that on anyone else, or think less of anyone else who chooses otherwise. These are hard, personal, intimate, potentially life and death choices.  We have to start giving each other the freedom to make these decisions without mockery.

I am not anti medicine.  I love my local Doctors, absolutely love them, my urologist, my local hospital.   My sister is an RN.  She and I talk about all things medical, all the time. I am not anti medicine.  Having said that, the only medicine I am currently on is coffee. Just coffee.  My job is physical, I sleep like a baby, have never, ever had a vaccination for the flue before the flue season.  Made that choice, years before COVID-19 was in the news.  Do you think I’m going to change my mind now, just because the CDC says it’s safe?   What do you think….

 

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For years, there has been a similar debate in the public square about the link between Roundup and various cancers.  Round up and honey bee loss.  Round up and…..

Monsanto (the corporation that owned Roundup) did all it could to discredit any nay-sayers.

My neighbor Paul/ the one who used to plow out our driveway after a snow, died five years ago, in his mid 50’s from a rare blood  cancer.  As a farmer, even with the proper protection, he exposed himself to a butt load of toxic chemicals.  I heard later, the Doctors  suspected, that maybe there was a link to pesticide exposure and his rare cancer.

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Language is powerful.

Thugs have taken over the public square.

I shake my head.

I really, really would love to interact with some of you on a host of topics, without snark or sarcasm, but probably not in an on line comment thread.  I don’t do on line debates in comment threads. There is so much that I don’t know. Maybe via e-mail, or in person….

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This post could just as well be about sexuality…

Stewardship of the earth, of which climate change is one piece,

Mr and Mrs Potato Head,

Election integrity, National sovereignty,  or twenty other topics.

I have decided I can no long sit on the sidelines and stay completely silent.

Honestly I do not know how much longer we who live in the middle will have the freedom to speak our minds.

Until the bees came out…

It’s been a couple of years now….

I have a policy, I refuse to argue about current events, religious debates, cultural stuff, etc.

Doesn’t mean I don’t have  opinions, and doesn’t mean I won’t talk about them with you,  it’s just, 95% of the time those interactions are fruitless and drive people apart, rather than result in something positive, ie. like mutual understanding.

On top of that, I simply do not have the time to be conversant on every current “issue.”

Most of the time, the other party is not interested in understanding, they just want to vent.

I’m not doing it. 🙂

Last time it happened, I learned my lesson.

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In the   25  23 years I’d known this woman, there had never been any tension in our relationship/ ever..

Until that one day….

Something on the news had gotten her agitated.  I could sense she wanted to vent.

I listened.

Finally told her, I didn’t want it to degenerate into a conflict. (She already knew she and I would look at things differently.)

But she kept going/  prodding, poking, snipping, mocking.

Felt like someone taking a stick,  banging on my bee hive.   I was just a bee, minding my own business, doing what I do, making honey and tending baby bees…

And then, things went South.

Fast.

The bees came out of the hive.

I saw a side of me, I prefer to keep in check, and I saw a side of her I’d never seen.

It took weeks, to shake off the negativity of that morning, even though we both apologized.  It was like we opened Pandora’s box and all sorts of nasty’s came out.

Taught me a lesson.

All of us have within us a dark side.

Even the kindest, gentlest, sweetest soul you’ll ever meet.

All of us..

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The other memory I have on this issue happened when our girls were 11 and 12.   We were in the middle of the home schooling chapter in our lives.  A new brother-in-law joined the extended family, and it wasn’t long before I  got wind of him grilling, (and subtly mocking) the two older girls. He had his own baggage when it came to faith/ a domineering mother, etc) so I  chalked it up to him being triggered…and then it happened.  It was just he and I, and he pounced  (on me) spoiling for a fight.  Sixty seconds into his rant, I looked at him and said I wasn’t going to debate.  I wasn’t going to go there.  I valued my relationship with him and there was no way, he and I were going to come away from that pissing match in a better place.

Pause.

He smiled.

His countenance changed.

It was like a heavy weight had lifted.

We agreed, that was probably for the best.

That was 25 years ago. We still get along. I can still see that knowing twinkle in his eyes.  We have  an understanding.

Now if he would have been in a different frame of mind, (open) I could have told him about my journey from total opposition to the idea of home schooling, (wife’s idea/ not mine)  to coming to a place where all of my concerns (socialization,   extra curricular activities, how could we teach subjects we ourselves as parents had struggled with, etc)  had been addressed head on.

I was now excited about home schooling as a viable educational model.

None of that came out, because it couldn’t.

He didn’t have ears to hear.

Now 20 years later, I would add home schooling is not for every family, nor even every child in the same family.  But to completely write it off, well you do not know what you are talking about.

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Ruth Stout.

Ever hear of her?

She is my role model when it comes to dealing with differences of opinion.

Her claim to fame is how she gardened.

Amazing story.

Completely bucked the status quo, and the fruit of her gardening proved she was onto something.  Eventually, people tried to put her on a pedestal, but she wouldn’t have it.  Wouldn’t let them.

Refused to tell people what to think, but let the results speak for themselves.

That’s me.  DM