Isn't it interesting how life isn't the same for everyone? How we all make our own choices? And how what works for you may not work for me but it does work for you so it's all good?
Last night, I was thinking about the different families I know and the different choices these families have made. I know I'm not on the inside of these families so there is no way for me to know if all are truly happy with life as they've chosen it or happened into it. But it's fascinating to me to see how something that really wouldn't work for me can be such a good thing for someone else. And that because we have all these different ways of raising kids and have all these different family dynamics, we end up with such an incredible array of personalities and gifts in the world.
And then I started to wonder why a situation is seen as more acceptable in one instance than it is in another.
For example, a family where dad travels often.
In family one, Dad is a soldier and is deployed to Afghanistan. He's on his second tour. He is obviously risking his life while he's away on a tour that lasts 6 months, 12 months. While he's been away, he's missed birthdays and anniversaries and even the birth of a child. His spouse has struggled to keep the family going as a single parent who deeply misses that soldier and worries about that soldier's safety.
In family two, Dad is the head of a high powered company. He travels globally for business and is often gone for a couple of weeks at a time. When he is home, work often keeps him at the office late and might even keep him busy on weekends. He works hard to provide a lifestyle that guarantees that his children will never go without the best education, food, clothing, and opportunities. He's missed his kids' birthday parties, his parents' 50th wedding anniversary, and doesn't have a connection to people in his community or neighborhood.
How different are those 2 situations?
I think there is a tendency to see the soldier as self-sacrificing, putting his own life at risk, and therefore his situation feels different than the guy we see as choosing money over his family.
But do we know the background? Do we know enough to make any conclusions?
Of course not.
Maybe that soldier is volunteering for deployment. Does that make it different? Maybe he's not active duty anymore and he's actually going overseas as a contract employee. Does that make a difference?
Maybe that CEO grew up poor and will do anything to guarantee his family never knows how that feels. Maybe he has a plan where he will get to retire within the next few years and will then be home practically full time.
And all of that got me thinking about the Mommy Wars. We fight about every possible choice a mom can make. Breastfeeding, formula feeding, disposable diapers, cloth diapers, store bought baby food, homemade baby food, sleep schedule, natural sleep patterns, private school, public school, homeschool, unschool, gentle discipline, disciplinarian, 1 kid, 15 kids, working mom, stay at home mom, Christian mom, Muslim mom, Jewish mom, Pagan mom, Atheist mom.
It's never ending.
Isn't the bottom line the same? As long as a child isn't being hurt... as long as those kids are loved and cared for... aren't we all doing the best we can with what we have?
I'm sure there are people who look at my life and have plenty to criticize. I don't clean house often enough. There's too much clutter. Our yard isn't the best on the block. My daughter's hair isn't always brushed. I work full time, as does my husband. I go out with friends, I am busy with church, I run and do active things and rely on my husband to take care of our kids when I do those things. He's a gamer and takes a weekend here and there to go out of town, he takes a week each summer- all away time for his hobby. We eat out more than we eat at home. We are often overwhelmed by a busy schedule. We watch too much TV and enjoy our smart phones and laptops and cable.
Even the things that can be seen as good to some can be seen with criticism by others- raising our kids in a church, focusing our diets to include fruits and veggies and controlling sugar intake and avoiding fast food, consistent bedtime as regularly as possible, teaching and practicing compassion and giving.
What on earth is my point in all of this rambling?
We all make choices. The majority of us are doing the best we can with what we have. Every person has goals and dreams. We all have unique backgrounds and experiences. We all have different talents and gifts.
And if we'd all make an effort to focus our energy on developing ourselves and making our own best choices, there would be a lot less energy to spend on criticizing others and judging others and questioning others. Do something positive with your energy- self focus and improvement- and you automatically put out positive energy to others. You will end up inspiring someone, helping someone, connecting with someone.
Isn't it interesting?