Thursday, June 09, 2011

Holier-Than-Thou Badges

Perhaps you have a few. Such badges are common where one's interest-at-hand is different from the general population. Here are some examples of Holier-Than-Thou badges, plus an entirely-too-sarcastic-and-exaggerated-and-thus-purely-hypothetical blurb from a hypothetical holder of such a badge. The bolded indicates the Holier-Than-Thou badge.

  • Point-and-shoot cameras vs. SLRs (single lens reflex)
    "Ha, good luck taking any sort of professional grade pictures with that little thing. Do you even know how to change your aperture settings? I would choke if I had to use a point-and-shoot" And further within the photography realm...

    • Manual focusing vs. auto focusing lenses
      "Have fun with your precious auto focus in low light conditions, while my $500,000 focusing screen and vintage f/0.4 lens gets it perfect every time. I could never go back to auto focus."

  • Making your own computers vs. buying pre-assembled computers from Dell, HP, etc.
    "My computer is so much more powerful per dollar because I didn't have to pay myself $90/hr for labor. I would choke if I had to buy an assembled computer."

  • Linux vs. Windows
    "Bow before me, mortals, I am so cool because I use Linux, death to everything Windows. BTW I am non-conformist for the sake of non-conformity.
  • "

  • Traditional board games vs. Euro/German style board games
    "I'd much rather push wooden cubes around in a non-confrontational manner than bleed you dry in Monopoly."

  • Store-bought vs. home-grown vegetables
    "The vegetables from our yard are so much higher in vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant content than your store-bought vegetables. Have fun dying of cancer."

The next few get a bit more relateable to any readers we still have left, mostly because I have/had personal experience with computers, cameras, and gardening and can't think of any others. And BTW, there is a point to this post besides being a vent or a rant; I shall put it after the list which follows.
  • Homeschooling vs. institutional schooling
    "My homeschooler read Cicero's Greatest Hits in its original Greek, translated Swaziland's constitution into Latin for fun during his free time, and built a particle accelerator in his closet and has collected 153g of antimatter so far. What does your public schooler do with his time?"

  • Cloth diapers vs. disposable
    "Cloth diapers are better for you, better for baby, better for life, and a prerequisite to enter Heaven."

  • Avoiding trans-fats vs. Not
    "Avoiding trans-fats is better for you, better for the world, and a prerequisite to enter Heaven."

  • Having many children vs. Not
    "I guess those people just don't view children as God's blessings."

  • Grinding your own grain vs. white flour or store-bought whole wheat flour
    "You don't grind your own wheat? No wonder you're fat and diabetic."

  • Backyard eggs vs. store bought
    "I guess those people just don't view fresh eggs as God's blessings. Oh, and backyard eggs are a prerequisite for entering Heaven."

  • Natural childbirth vs. Not
    "BLARGH epidural anesthesia now, methamphetamine I.V. later."

In recent years, I have become much more sensitive to exhuding a Holier-Than-Thou attitude in my writing, speech, and actions. In discussing the topic with Harmony, both of us agree that our miscarriages and fertility woes were a big catalyst in changing the way we presented ourselves. For the duration of this blog post, I will refer to the period before miscarriages and fertility as BM&I, for "Before Miscarriages and Infertility."

BM&I, it was always my (our?) intention to have more children at this point in our marriage. After all, having lots of children is an indicator of God's blessing on a married couple living in holy matrimony, and we were pretty good people, right? Well. Then June 19, 2007 happened and our lives were never the same again. October 15, 2007 happened and set in stone that our thinking would never go back to BM&I mentality.

Miscarriages and infertility dampened our self-righteous tendencies quite a bit. Pregnancies and children were no longer Holier-Than-Thou badges to be smuggly flaunted, they were more like "oh-my-goodness-what-you-have-is-SUCH-a-blessing,if-you-had-any-idea-what-it's-like-to-not-be-able-to-have-that-you-would-spend-the-rest-of-your-life-cherishing-it/her/him." Viable pregnancies were something to be maddeningly but cautiously nervously grateful for, not casually addressed as "oh another blessing here and on the way, sweet, let's see how many tons of tomatoes we got today."

We discovered that, hey, you know, it doesn't quite feel great to hear people on blogs or blog comments boasting of God's blessings and their family size and implying that smaller families were that way because they actively rejected the blessings, in light of what had just happened. And I'm sure these people (I honestly do not remember any specific instances anymore) did not intend to come off that way, but that's the way I read things during that time. Losing hope for our "Has Many Children" badge humbled us in that area, as well as all the others. If it was that unpleasant to hear self-righteousness in one area, then it must be unpleasant in others as well. After all, who wants to feel like they are being condescended and condemned because of their choice of gardening philosophy or where they get their eggs?

This image meant to convey family size; my proofreader did not understand though, thus the explanationI wish we had not had to endure the post-BM&I period, but good came of it. This is how life is, though - God gives us trials to help refine our character. I cringe to think what my thoughts might be if we'd had a honeymoon baby and easy children born at 1 year intervals after that. "Well anyone who rejects God's blessings shouldn't cry about it when they have difficult children. Well those people [who might have untold fertility issues or whatever, none of your business] obviously are rejecting God's blessings...I mean their first daughter is 2 and the mom isn't pregnant yet..??" You get the idea. Post BM&I, there's a greatly reduced (but still non-zero, as we are sinners) probability that such presumptuous thoughts will cross our minds.

In the end, all of these Holier-Than-Thou badges might come to us. I would, of course, welcome having many children, which is the Holier-Than-Thou badge which has proven most elusive to us. But perhaps God thought that it would be better for us to take the long route there, so that we could be fully grateful for what God has given us, with much less self-righteousness than if He'd given the blessings to us right away. But even if He chooses not to give us any more children, at least we'll be much less likely to be self-righteous, Holier-Than-Thou bags of hot air.

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3 have poured out their souls in electronic text:

  • CappuccinoLife

    Very relatable.

    We have our three, but are in the middle of a long period of I&M.

    And we had thought 15 would be a great number of kids to have. Our beliefs haven't changed, but our experience has added some depth and complexity to them.

    We believe children are blessings and good gifts from God. We never want to seek to prevent or avoid God's gifts to us. But...Any time that belief is twisted so that we think we have them because of some special "merit", that we deserve the number we want, or that those who "lack" are being punished by God, then it's off track and out of order.

  • ruzzel01

    Definitely worlds best! Congratulations.

    cucumber seeds

  • Sherry

    Well said. I haven't read your blog for awhile, but I can tell you have grown over the years you have written this. Not taking God's blessings for granted is always a challenge. May we all realize what God has given us every day.