a different kind of wisdom

I read A LOT of blogs, mostly mommy-blogs.  (Probably too many, but that’s a confession for a different day.)  It seems that most bloggers today have a liberal slant to them, and the mommy-blogs that I read are no different.  (And if they’re not liberals, then they’re religious fundamentalists, which are a whole ‘nother ball of wax.  I think I need to browse in some new places.  But again, I digress.)  I have had a hard time finding true conservative mommy blogs.

Despite the differences that a liberal vs. conservative mindset creates, I’m always amazed at how many commonalities I find when I read mommy blogs.  Raising children is always difficult, always a challenge, and always requires the best creative efforts of the mother.  I find so much encouragement reading these blogs; they make me feel like I’m not in this parenting experience alone.  There are other moms having the same struggles that I am, doing their best to raise respectful, considerate, thought-full children while also trying to let their innate personalities and unique differences shine through.

And then comes The Post where I realize — this woman is pro-choice.  Or a liberal.  Or supports Hillary Clinton.  And my first reaction used to be one of feeling let-down, a disappointment that “now we can’t be friends because we’re not as similar as I thought!”  I feel almost as if I should now feel guilty for reading this blog, because “This gal is a LIBERAL!”  But nowadays, while I still feel a twinge of disappointment when I realize that an enjoyable blog is written by a liberal, it doesn’t bother me that much anymore.  And THIS (that it doesn’t bother me that much anymore) is a big change for me.

You see, I used to feel like people who were liberals and/or Democrats and/or pro-choice were nothing but loonies or evil schemers or buffoons who only had selfish interests at heart.  (Perhaps I listened to too much Rush Limbaugh growing up? 🙂 )  But I don’t think that anymore.  I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, the heart of Liberal Land on the Left Coast, and, not surprisingly, many of my friends here are liberals.  I read blogs, of which most are written by liberals.  All of that exposure, while it has NOT made me a liberal, has given me an understanding of How the Other Half Lives, insight that I never experienced while growing up in the Midwest in the conservative, Lutheran family.  Don’t get me wrong; I’m not knocking my upbringing.  Not at all!  I am thankful to God every single day of my life for my upbringing and my family.  And if the Lord wills it, I would love to move back to the Midwest someday to give my girls a similar upbringing.  But my Midwest, conservative, Lutheran upbringing was not one that exposed me to lots of different points of view.

But, in the Lord’s wisdom, he’s placed me and my husband and my girls here for now.  Placed us here in one of (if not THE) the most politically liberal places in the country.  God does everything with a purpose, and by his grace, every so often, I feel as if I get a glimpse of why I’m here.  You see, there’s nothing like understanding How the Other Side Lives to help you develop compassion for them and ultimately know how best to share your own values and beliefs with them in a way that they will understand.  Because they’re not all loonies or evil schemers or buffons.  The vast majority are good people who are trying to raise their families well just like me.  They only want the best for their children, especially in politics.  They honestly believe that their politics would create the best country in which us and our children could live.  And I can appreciate that, I can respect that, even while I disagree with the methods they espouse.  I believe this appreciation and respect will only serve me well in the future, not only in my role as mother, but also as a pastor’s wife and as a friend.

It’s easy to criticize people who hold different views than you, or at least to make fun of them and dismiss their views as “uneducated” or “not thought through” or “biased.”  But it takes a different kind of wisdom to listen to those views and try to see what would cause a person to hold those views.  Only when we know WHY someone holds a certain position can we ever hope to be able to change their mind.  Whether in politics or parenting or religion or anything in between, understanding the reasons behind actions and beliefs are imperative if we ever hope to be able to change those actions and beliefs.

I feel like I am learning that kind of wisdom from living here.  I hope I can pass that wisdom on to my daughters, as well as passing on to them my Lutheran, conservative, Midwestern values.  I guess God thinks I’m up to the task, or he wouldn’t have placed our family here.

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4 thoughts on “a different kind of wisdom

  1. (I hope I’m not about to start another argument, but. . . )

    You Said: Whether in politics or parenting or religion or anything in between, understanding the reasons behind actions and beliefs are imperative if we ever hope to be able to change those actions and beliefs.

    Why do you feel the need to change someone actions or beliefs? Is there not room for differing view points?

    With Respect,
    Goon

    P.S.- Good post. Very insightful.

  2. By the way, your last comment, WonderGoon, was comment #100 for me! Wheee!! 🙂

    Enough frivolity. On to your question:

    There’s room for differing view points in non-scriptural matters, but when it comes to scripture, it’s not so trivial. If I care about someone, then I don’t want them to go to hell. So, the way to get them to not go to hell is to point them to Jesus and the cross.

    It’s all about the gospel — again! Just like my husband said.

    Furthermore, there’s no hope of truly changing people’s beliefs and actions without changing them on the inside. It’s interesting that you’re asking a question that leads to a topic that I was already ruminating on posting about today (as I cleaned my desperately dirty bathrooms and mopped my filthy floor. My poor baby’s knees were getting dirty every time she crawled on it!) However, I won’t posting that today. Today’s post will be lighter fare, whenever I get around to finally posting. I just decided on what generally to make for supper. Now I need to head to http://www.allrecipes.com to find a good recipe. Once supper is planned, then perhaps I can get a post written…

    Anyway (I’m not doing a good job at staying on topic today, am I?), if it’s a matter of spiritual “life or death,” then, yes I DO want to change someone’s opinion. But, I’ve learned that you can’t hammer someone over the head with your opinion or scream at them “You’re wrong!” as a way of convincing them. So, if I want to change someone’s beliefs (and by changing their beliefs, I will automatically change their actions), then I first have to understand where they’re coming from.

    And THAT, my friend, THAT is the tricky part. It takes patience and listening and a willingness to be made uncomfortable. But I think it’s the best way in the end.

    And, that’s why I’m thankful to be living out here in Liberal Land. There’s no better place for a conservative confessional Lutheran girl to learn that than here.

    ~ Emily

  3. You Said: By the way, your last comment, WonderGoon, was comment #100 for me! Wheee!!

    Yay! Here’s hoping you have 50,000 comments by years end. (And hopefully they won’t all be me!) 😉

    You Said: It’s interesting that you’re asking a question that leads to a topic that I was already ruminating on posting about today [. . . ]

    Perhaps we are both being guided by our respective Gods to learn all we can, eh? As you know, I’ve been critical of the Christian Way in my blog, so perhaps my Lady is guiding me to you so that I can learn of your ways. I think She’s telling me I don’t know as much as I think I do.

    So, with that spirit in mind, I will listen, if you are willing to talk about your Gods scriptures. And I will make up my own mind.

    And in turn, I will speak of my Lady, if you are willing to listen. And you can make up your own mind.

    Fair?

    You Said: And, that’s why I’m thankful to be living out here in Liberal Land. There’s no better place for a conservative confessional Lutheran girl to learn that than here.

    Well, I hope you learn all you need to learn.

    Blessings to you and yours,
    Goon

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