What They Think of You

Friday, September 10, 2010

One of my best friends called me in absolute tears the other day. Two of her younger sister’s, both unmarried, are now in their second trimester. Nobody else in the family was aware that they were pregnant until this week. Theirs is a Christian family devoted to rescuing children from troubled situations. Both my friend and her mother have actively devoted their professional careers to stopping the spread of sexually transmitted diseases in separate ways. Her mother is an epidemiologist, my friend, a humanitarian worker that focuses on getting young women off the streets and out of prostitution, by showing them their value does not merely lie with their talents in bed. But for both of these women, their immediate reaction became a circumstantial symptom of abject failure.

Many families, particularly in more faith-based circles consider it embarrassing or even representative of a familial breakdown when a daughter gets pregnant out of wedlock. And it does evoke whispers among the people who surround that family, but it’s by no means the absolute worst thing that a child can do. Yet, the expectant grandparents often blush at how others will judge them rather than focusing their effort on creating the best family situation possible for the baby to come. I’m not saying that my friend’s family have fallen victim to this fallacy, but I have seen other families in the exact same situation do exactly that.

There is overall, a negative reaction within a family that bases its foundation in the Christian faith when an occurrence like this arises. There is a persistent fear amongst such people that the actions of their adult children somehow imply people are bad parents. Often I have seen parents threaten and even out right disown their children as well as their future grandchildren as the pregnancy in their eyes is the ultimate slap in the face to their child raising skills. Some of the most unchristian qualities actually come from those doing the disowning rather than those being disowned. However, what reflects worse on parenting skills in expecting grandparents refusing love to the expecting mother and child? Surely this is less of a Christian attitude than the act of getting pregnant ever was.

It is the unexpected events in life that cause us to drop our own masks of respectability. In truth, as a society, Christians today seem to care more about how other’s struggles can reflect poorly on them than what they can do to minimize struggling for any and all. When has it ever been morally responsible to even care about what the outside world thinks? Even in the most conservative families, public approval should never act as a barometer for actions or as a means to test what is morally right.

We all know somehow that there is a right and wrong, though we disagree on what exactly the nature of that division is, no one ever says, “I am going to go ahead and do the absolute wrong thing and make my life miserable as a result.” But the best among us sometimes set out to be the least controversial which creates almost a vacuum of morality. The fact that something makes waves doesn’t illustrate the fact that it is wrong and if someone disagrees or turns their nose up at your willingness to create a little trouble in the name of morality, chances are that person isn’t worth the effort it would take to appease them.

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