Have you ever been appalled by a story someone told you about the behavior of a co-worker, or neighbor, or friend?
So appalled in fact that you shared the story with others (who were equally appalled) only to discover that when you heard all the facts – the context for said behavior – you realized the person’s behavior wasn’t horrible after all?
Does A Conviction For Rape Mean You’re A Rapist?
An example that dramatically highlights the importance of knowing context and all the facts, came from the movie a Time to Kill, based on the book by John Grisham.
Matthew McConaughey’s witness, a psychiatrist, was discredited by the prosecution because he had been convicted of rape 20+ years earlier, although the record had been expunged.
But as McConaughey explained in his closing argument:
” The truth has become lost….Let’s take Dr. Bass for example, obviously, I would have never knowingly put a convicted felon on the stand, I hope you can believe that…but what if I told you that the woman he was accused [by the girl's father]of raping was 17 years old and he was 23 years old and she later became his wife and bore his child and she’s still married to the man today.”
Oops. Big oops.
As this example so clearly points out, you need to know the whole story before you start making judgments.
I know that.
I thought I’d learned that maxim well after making many mistakes throughout my life when I had jumped to conclusions.
Well, I jumped to a conclusion yesterday and it’s biting me today.
TIME Magazine And The So-called “Mommy Wars”
Without reading the full TIME magazine cover story myself, I still supported an on-line petition to “stop media outlets from trying to fan the flames of a false, outdated ‘mommy war.’ ” It was a request to “get as many people as possible to contact TIME and hold the publishers accountable.”
I believe the media often tries to inflame its readership and have seen it happen previously with what they’ve coined as the “mommy wars” (obviously an incendiary phrase). So when I received a request to support holding TIME accountable, my bias took over my good sense.
I signed the letter although I’d only heard some comments and seen the cover (below) of Jamie Lynne Grumet breast-feeding her 3 year old son and read the annoying article title of ARE YOU MOM ENOUGH?
But today, at my local library, I read the whole article.
I don’t think the article was written in a way to purposely flame the fires of the so-called “mommy wars”. It covered the history of Dr. Bill Sears, the “father” of attachment parenting and told the stories of women who follow this child-rearing practice to one degree or another.
To my way of thinking some of the mothers’ child rearing practices are extreme and I wouldn’t choose to follow them, if for no other reason than they would make me exhausted:
- Not allowing a baby to cry at all – “attachment parenting dogma says that every baby’s whimper is a plea for help and that no infant should ever be left to cry.” (I believed in soothing my sons most of the time and never could stand letting them cry for too long. But sometimes I needed to get away from a crying baby held right next to my ear and stick a pillow over my head for silence).
- Having the baby sleep in the parent’s bed or in a bassinet alongside the bed (I didn’t want my babies in bed with my husband and me for: 1. fear of rolling over on them and 2. I didn’t see the value in both my husband and I losing sleep when our sons awoke during the night since I had to be the one to get up because I was breastfeeding).
- “Baby wearing” in which infants are literally attached to their mothers via slings. (I pretty much did my variation of this, although there weren’t slings then).
So yes, the article talked about the origin of child-rearing practices that not every mother follows but, again, I didn’t see the author blatantly flaming the fires of war. Therefore I would not have promoted that petition if I’d done my due diligence, as I should have if I am to support anything.
I am repentant and reminded again not to jump to conclusions or let my biases impact the study of new information.
It would be interesting to know if you feel that I’m flaming the “mommy wars” because I stated what my practices were and what my beliefs are.
It’s certainly not my intent to inflame or to criticize a method of child rearing that is different from mine.
I did what was right for me. You need to do what’s right for you. And some day our adult children will meet and probably like each other because they’ll all be good, responsible human beings.
How easy or difficult is it for you to accept another woman’s child-rearing practices that are different from your own?