It’s been awhile since I blogged about one of my Grandma’s sayings so today is the day. This was one of her favourites. Judge not lest ye be judged. On the surface it sounds good. But when you really think about it, it is much more complicated than it appears. Judgement is a very important part of our world. If no one ever judged, nothing would ever change.
Let’s take this woman for example. In 1849 Harriet Tubman escaped slavery in the American south and returned more than a dozen times to help others do the same. She was the creator of the Underground Railroad leading more than 70 slaves to freedom in the north. Harriet did a lot of judging in her day. She judged the “status quo” of the time which made it legal to own and enslave human beings. People often rely on the argument that ”it is legal so it must be okay.” I guess it is a safe wall behind which to hide but in reality just because something is legal certainly does not make it right.
Here is another who dared to judge. And a child no less. At age 4, Iqbal Masih was forced into bonded labour at a carpet factory in Pakistan. He escaped at age 10 and started to speak publicly, denouncing child labour around the world. Sadly, Iqbal was shot under mysterious circumstances at age 12.
How about John Newton? He used judgement in one of its most worthwhile forms. He judged himself. He was a British sailor born in the early 1700′s often spending his working hours on slave ships. Much later in life he published his Thoughts Upon the Slave Trade in which he apologized for being ”an active instrument in a business at which [his] heart now shudders.” John Newton helped to campaign against the slave trade and lived long enough to see the passage of the Slave Trade Act 1807 in British parliament. In the most fortunate (for us) of twists, John Newton collaborated with the poet William Cowper and published a number of hymns. Among them was “Faiths Review and Expectation“. I bet you never realized you knew that hymn, did you?
Sorry Grandma, this is another one that I just can’t buy. I realize there are harmful forms of judgement and for the most part it is best to do as my cousin likes to say “live and let live”. However sometimes judging is not only necessary but it’s desirable too.
Better late than never. Another one of my Grandma’s little gems. I am on the fence about this one. I am not convinced it is true in every situation. My mother was famous for her tardiness. Her five sisters are no strangers to being fashionably late either. I assume their mother, my Grandma, must have possessed the same habit hence the perpetual use of the motto “better late than never”. For much of my life, I was the most punctual person on Earth. In fact, the thought of being late for something - especially school – made me break out in hives. In my younger, quieter days I had genuine anxiety if I was running late for something. But just like my weight and youthful good looksthat changed as I approached middle age. I developed a more laissez faire attitude. There is part of me that doesn’t like the habit of being late. It seems a bit rude – like your time is more important than anyone else’s. So I try to compensate. I can not run away from my genetics but at least I can try to reconcile this ‘late’ thing and the desire to be considerate, not rude. As I was reading the newspaper this morning and drinking tea (one of my favourite activities EVER) I kept a close eye on the clock. My son swims every Sunday and I needed to give myself enough time to look presentable to the world before we had to leave. As I was finishing readying myself my husband was putting on his coat in the front hall. I did a quick mental calculation. Now keep in mind my son uses a wheelchair so getting into the van is not a quick event. If you ever want a lesson in patience, spend a week with someone who uses wheels instead of legs. How long would it take for my husband to accompany our son outside, use the remote to eject (slowly) the Bruno seat, transfer the boy over, push the chair to the rear of the van, use another remote to release the mechanical arm and lower it, buckle it to the chair, raise the chair up and into the back of the van, go buckle the boy’s seatbelt and shut the side door. I had just bought myself another 5 and a half minutes. Could I say “I’ll be right out!”, check Facebook, take a vitamin D, give my dog a treat, compose a tweet, put my coat on, add a matching scarf, check myself in the mirror and make it outside on time? Of course I could. And that is exactly what I did. I have always believed that if life is working properly then eventually we mature to an age where we realize our parents were not perfect – just like everyone else in the world. If we find we possess some of those – how shall I say it? - those qualities or habits that really were not that admirable then the best thing we can do is to try to do better. Seems much healthier than simply blaming our parents for everything. And so that is what I attempt to do. I recognize the rather laid back attitude I have developed towards being ready or being on time and I am trying to do better. For the record, my timing was impeccable this morning. As my husband got into the driver’s seat and pushed the button to lower the tailgate I opened the passenger side and calmly climbed in. Unfortunately though, I think he may be on to me. As I buckled my seatbelt he smiled over at me and said “Good thing all you have to do is get your a#$ in the car.”
Finally. Something my Grandma used to say that I can totally agree with 100% of the time. There truly is a sucker born every minute. The gullibility of the general population never ceases to amaze. Today I saw an infomercial to end all infomercials. Winter got you down? Feeling the effects of the February blahs? Ladies and gentlemen let me introduce you to the yumalite. The apparatus looks similar to the eye-glasses type thingie that Jordy wore on Star Trek: The Next Generation ……
……except it fits up on the forehead rather than over the eyes. So the contraption is similar to a visor you would wear when playing golf. On the underside of the visor are lights that can be turned on and off. The lights shine happiness on to your face. Come on. Really? Yes. Really. Even better, the yumalite can be worn anytime, anywhere. What they neglect to mention is that you are going to look like you have lost your f^&*ing mind when you’re wearing it. If you invest in a yumalite, I have a feeling depression will be the least of your worries. Watch the clip. http://youtu.be/7NT5tZClmR8 In the words of my son “facepalm”. I rest my case.
With all apologies to my late Grandma, I have learned after 46 years on Earth that she was quite wrong about something. Blood is not thicker than water. Somehow this belief gets ingrained into people’s heads and it takes a lot of life experience to unravel oneself from it. Along with this belief are associated feelings of guilt when one finds themselves in crisis with another member (or members as the case may be) of the family. “Oh dear, it’s FAMILY.” And somehow we lose the nature-given ability to use common sense and reason. If someone makes you feel terrible about yourself, if someone is constantly putting you down, if someone has an overall negative outlook on life, if someone is so sick that their illness begins to upset your life, if someone can not see the forest for the trees so to speak, then……….give them up. Even if they are family. And, by the way, don’t feel guilty about it. There I said it.
(sorry Grandma, but as I will learn from your strengths so too will I learn from your errors)