Tuesday, June 28, 2011

On Why We Do What We Do

Wow! It's been a while since I  last posted. Honestly, I haven't had time to do laundry let alone think about my next post. But this post has been mulling around in my brain for a while, and after catching up on some blog reading this afternoon, it was obvious the timing for it was right. (And I'm going to link in a few of my favorite bloggers' posts, too! Thank you Tara Livesay and Gwenn Mangine for the opportunity to work your posts into mine so perfectly. Not that I asked you...)    ;)


Why do you believe what you believe? 

Why do you do what you do?

When I was a kid, I was really naive. I mean....really, REALLY naive. Naive to the point where I believed in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny until I was...well....way older than any kid I knew. I believed my cousin when he told me there was a swimming pool on the roof of our high school (and I went to look for it!) I believed a group of "friends" who told me they were all meeting at a certain time at a certain place after school on the football field and they wanted me (ME!) to come, only to show up and find no one there. 

Yep, I believed whatever anyone told me. You'd think I would've learned my lesson after a few of the above humiliating moments, but no. Everyone was better than me, smarter than me, prettier than me, funnier than me, and worthy of being believed. I gave everyone the benefit of the doubt. I believed everything the priest said, everything my Sunday school teacher said, everything my friends said, and especially everything my mom said....it was all TRUE! 

Fast-forward 30+ years and boy oh BOY was I oblivious (er...uh....ok, more like DUMB!) For the most part, people actively took advantage of my obvious naiveté. But, in hindsight, I realize a lot of what people did say was really them just passing on what they had been taught all their life. In reality, they didn't know half of what they were talking about! (Sorry mom. You got most things right.)

When I was in college, I heard the following story, as told at my cousin's wedding. It put everything into perspective for me, and I hope you enjoy it's message as much as I have all these years. (The story is below. But come back later and click here for a GREAT article that incorporates this story into parenting.)

A newly married young woman, while preparing an Easter dinner for her husband, cut off the end of the ham before putting it in the pan to roast. The husband, intrigued by this, inquired as to why she cut the end off the ham. The young women replied, "Well, I don't know. I guess because it's just the way my mom always did it." 
One afternoon while her mother was visiting, the daughter asked her why she had always cut the end off the ham. The mother replied, "Well, that's the way MY mother has always done it." 
The following Sunday, while visiting her Grandma, the young women asked her why she had always cut the end off the ham before putting it in the roasting pan. "Well," the grandmother replied, "I always did it because my pan was too small!"
This story beautifully illustrates what can happen when we blindly follow tradition without asking the appropriate questions!

So here is where a few recent posts from some women I greatly admire come in! Their posts show the challenges of re-education of Haitian women who have no (good) idea why they do what they do, or why they believe the things they believe, when it comes to their baby's health. Their situation is the epitome of what happens when we do/believe solely based on what someone told us growing up (or, as adults) or how our actions and beliefs were shaped merely by what we saw people doing/believing, leading us down a road of seemingly irreversible misconceptions.

But it's not just about the new moms living in Haiti. We ALL have been misled and miseducated about something (probably lots of things, actually.) I think (personal opinion alert) this could potentially be a main reason for much of the conflict in our lives (and, most likely, in our society as a whole.) 

I mean, apply this solely to what we have been taught (whether actively or passively) about God all our lives! Imagine what could happen if we started on a journey to discover the TRUTH. 

If we are in any position of authority (and we ALL are) we need to be intentional seekers of the truth. Other's perceptions, belief systems, and protocols may depend on it. Allowing ourselves to be misled (or, worse, misleading others by our own uneducated, unresearched beliefs and values) can have dangerous consequences. 

Click Here for Gwenn's post.

Click Here for Tara's post. (Also embedded in Gwenn's post above.)

Go Find Some Truth.