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.