Monday, October 20, 2014

Putting the Reins on Passion

Benjamin Franklin once said, "If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins."  I've thought about passion frequently in the past few days because I encountered it in situations when I least expected to see it.  And when that happened, I had to second guess a few things, ask a few questions and find a way to soothe my hurt feelings.  Franklin adds reason to the equation purposefully--because passion invokes strong feelings that can be difficult restrain.
Most of the time, I consider myself a fairly passionate person.  I'm passionate about what I do.  I love most of my students and I believe in the value of education.  I'm a strong supporter of public education (though I'm not against homeschooling or private education) because I know not every student has the resources to receive education otherwise.  I get my panties in a twist when people (in general) suggest it would be in our best interest to eliminate the public school system entirely.  
I love being a Mommy and I have strong feelings about being a good one.  The problem is my interpretation of "good" Mommy and someone else's interpretation are vastly different things.  I found that out when I joined a Mommy Group.  I know; I know.  I probably should've stayed out of the Mommy Group arena, but here's the deal:  we cloth diaper.  That's not a big deal, but cloth diapering companies give you these wash instructions that encourage you to treat them like they're precious porcelain...the thing your kid poops in.  So when KnickKnack found this Mommy Group that helps tweak wash routines for cloth diapers, I was all about it.
And they have been helpful.  I enjoyed having some insight into this parenting thing.  Then I made a mistake.  One Mommy made a comment that she was having difficulty getting her kid to sleep through the night without nursing him to sleep.  I commented that we used BabyWise and that helped us get our kids on a reasonable schedule so they knew how to react when it was time for night-night.
And then the hail rained down from heaven.
I receive a barrage of comments regarding this book and how it has led to failure to thrive, child abuse and a multitude of other things that clearly indicated I was the world's worst mother.  I felt defensive and upset.  The comments that were made regarding this particular text were far from accurate, and I felt like these women were indicating that my children were suffering at my hands.  After that, I learned that if you stick around in Mommy Groups you'll also learn people are passionate about the following:
  • Breast feeding (Apparently you're a monster if you don't or if you can't--there's no differentiation between the two.  And if you can?  You should until your kid is 10.)
  • Vaccinations (You're a monster if you do.  You're a monster if you don't.  Good luck on that one.)
  • Car seats (Don't keep them rear facing until they're teenagers?  Clearly you want your children to die.)
  • Circumcision (Why would you mutilate your child in that way?)
  • Co-Sleeping/Cry It Out (The latter is also called CIO.  On my Mommy Group, people err on the side of co-sleeping.  Co-Sleepers think all other people are CIOs and don't want a close relationship with their kids.  CIOs or non-co-sleepers think all Co-Sleepers are crazy hippies with no regard for their marriages/relationships.  Again, best of luck to you.)

Basically, on any given day, you're pretty much failing as a Mom and the good majority of these women will be glad to tell you exactly why you're failing as a Mom.
So I've been thinking about where others encounter my passions.  And I've been afraid to think that I've made someone feel like a little less because I feel so strongly on those subjects.
This morning, I heard Selah's "You Amaze Us" and for the first time, I started contemplating what it means for Christ to consume us wholly.  I used to talk about the concept in college, but I don't think I really grasped the enormity of those words.  Truthfully, though, I need something to direct all the passion--for something to hold the reins when I purposefully or accidentally make someone feel a little less than.  
That's where my prayer will start tonight--for Christ to consume me.  Maybe that will direct my passion for my community, my school, but most of all, my family.  Directed passion...what a concept.

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