I get scared to write stuff sometimes. Once it is written and out there, it’s gone and can’t be taken back. I once wrote about a vision God gave me about a cracked pot versus a perfect pot each with a candle in each. I used to strive so hard to be the perfect pot until God showed me that the perfect pot shines finitely. It’s brightness comes out the top of the pot. The cracked pot shines brighter because of all of the holes in it.
I stopped trying to be perfect that day and let His shine come through all of my cracks.
At that point in time, I thought I had discovered all of my cracks. I thought that by that point, all my cracks were clearly defined and there weren’t any more to be added.
I was wrong.
I’ve never verbalized this to anyone. I have heard it said before only once in my adult life but I didn’t truly co-sign to it when it was said then. I believed it but was afraid of whom I would offend by declaring it aloud as my own thought. What I have to say goes against the grain. Most would say it is extremely unkind, dispassionate, and un-Christ-like. Of course I disagree. It is the truth, relationships are messy, and just because a thought isn’t popular doesn’t make it wrong.
It is possible to be friends with a peer and not like that peers children. (It is also possible to enjoy someones child and not be able to tolerate that child’s parent but that is not the scope of this post.) Notice I said it is possible and not that it is successful. In our culture, we are all or nothing. If you say you are my friend then, in our culture, that automatically means you like my children. By like, I mean you are willing to watch them when that peer needs to be elsewhere without her children, and that you are willing to engage family to family and not just one-on-one. Here is where it gets messy.
If I met a peer at work or in any other arena where you just see me, all we would do is have one-on-one interactions. Family mingling would be rare and both parties would be okay with that. When you deal with SAHM, homeschooling families, or any other family dynamic that has a would-be-peer in constant touch with her children, family to family interaction is the only way to go without having to jump through hoops to get some alone time. Trust me. I get that completely. My point is that because it’s an all-or-nothing culture, if I don’t like ones children, or I don’t like them around my child, then, usually, I am deemed at fault for not being more sensitive, kind, caring, considerate etc etc.
Welp, I’m done with all of that. I am not saying there is anything wrong with how peers, or would-be-peers raise their children, interact with them, discipline them, or love on them. I am saying that something about the whole family dynamic rubs me the wrong way where I don’t need to be around the children or the peer + children combo for more than 5-15 minutes before a bad taste sets in my mouth and I need to remove myself.
Now, to be fair, I have no problem if another peer needs me to be their one-on-one peer and not a family dynamic peer. If you don’t like my child for whatever reason (even though I, like most parents think she isn’t the one with the problem, you are) I’m okay with that. Why? Because if you don’t like Jazmine, I don’t want you to be around her either! Duh!
We can peer-to-peer interact on the phone (mostly) or whenever we are able to get out and interact face-to-face. Granted, our friendship may not develop as deeply until we are able to get past the fact that inter-family mingling is not a positive for us. However, if both peers grow through that, there could be a lot more friendships on the horizon.
I am truly blown away by how many women base wether or not someone is a good friend on if that person watches their children. What kind of malarkey is that? Being an encourager on the other end of the phone, or a jokester, or your WalMart running buddy isn’t enough unless you provide childcare when needed? Nope. Not okay but, I understand that that is the acceptable norm. I’m just not buying into that anymore.
I know I am not alone because of that brave sister who, only earlier this year, voiced the same thing. Our culture would have me to believe that we might be the only two out there who understand this but I don’t think we are. I realize that this adds yet another crack to my pot that I did not know was there. So, of course, since this entire train of thought goes against the grain, I seem even more defected. Oh well. Jesus can shine through this crack too 🙂