Monday, June 18, 2012

Granola Girl marries Country Boy....and then they have children

Suffice it to say, my husband and I are very different people.  Very different.  Somehow, in spite of it all, our marriage works, but it is difficult at times to have very different beliefs on pretty major things.

I am a tofu-lovin' vegetarian, and he is a meat-and-potatoes man through-and-through.

I am a Libertarian, and he's a hard-core Republican.  (So, some things we agree on, but most things, not at all!  I'm not going to get into where we stand on every single issue because you'd be here a while.  But if you want to know where I stand, read through my political blogs.)

I'm musical and artsy, and my husband is more mechanical.

He loves guns, and I want them as far away from me as possible.

He loves to hunt, and I think its disgusting.

He wants a motorcycle, and I think they're dangerous.

He loves country and 80's rock, and I think they're awful.  Likewise, I love reggae and opera and they make him want to wear ear plugs.

And the list goes on and on....

Having dated and gotten married so young, in the beginning it was all love and sunshine and roses, and the differences didn't really factor in a whole lot.  We certainly never argued about politics, or guns in the house, or what dinner was comprised of.  Or, at least, if we did, I don't remember it.

For a while, I conformed myself to my husband's ways of thinking, believing that was the appropriate thing to do for a "harmonious Christian marriage."  And for a long time, it worked.  Sort of.  We had a "harmonious Christian marriage," we didn't argue over fundamental beliefs.  How can you, when you think exactly the same way as your spouse on every level?  But eventually that stopped working.  Through a series of personal events and introspection, I decided that I was going to accept myself as an intelligent woman with a brain independent of my husband, embrace my own ideas, and stick to my guns, regardless of whether that was well-received or not.

The marital frustrations it causes aside, in its own unique way, I think it has actually given us an edge in the parenting arena.  Rather than being spoon-fed a set of "family rules" for beliefs and values, our kids are actually going to have to think and come to their own conclusions about life and their own preferences and beliefs.  And personally, I think that is far healthier than "hand me down" beliefs; the beliefs that are your beliefs because your parents drilled them into your head and you've never bothered to question for yourself.  Our kids are going to have to form their own opinions, and I think that's a good thing.

At age (almost) 8, my daughter has already decided that she would like to be a vegetarian.  She hasn't gone cold turkey, but is slowly phasing the meat out.  I have never pushed her to be a vegetarian, she just prefers my tofu and veggie burgers over her dad's steaks and cheeseburgers.  My 10 year old son, on the other hand, hates tofu with a passion and would take a juicy burger over just about anything.

So far, my son leans more toward my political views than his dad's, but he's only 10 and that may very well change.  And if it does, that's fine. Heck, even if he goes a different route than mine or my husband's, as long as I am fairly confident he made his decisions thoughtfully I'll be proud of him and respect his views.

Musically, both my older kids are pretty eclectic.  My son likes pop, his dad's 80's music, and my reggae.  My daughter likes pop and my indie stuff.

My son wants to shoot guns and hunt.  I fear for his life (though I wholeheartedly trust my husband to keep him safe), but if that's what he wants to do, then great.

My point is, our kids will have to be free thinkers.  We'll tell them what we (individually) believe and why, but in having our own differing opinions, there is no way we can make their minds up for them.  In getting multiple viewpoints in their own home, they will have to come to their own conclusions.  It means our kids will have to be more intelligent and more in tune with themselves and their world.  It means the foundation of their beliefs will have to be more solid and independent.  It means they'll have to research and try things out for themselves.  It means they'll be more well-rounded, having been been exposed to and having experienced more.  And I hope and pray all of those things will make them more tolerant of other people, ideas, and situations.

It will be interesting to watch them come into their own beliefs, and I am excited to watch it all unfold.  They'll be their own people, and I couldn't hope for anything different.  I don't want my kids to be clones.  I want them to be....them.

Do you and your spouse differ on any big issues?  How do you navigate it with eachother?  How do you navigate it with your kids?  Any thoughts?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Going viral

I just have to say, having one of my posts go viral was a very humbling experience for me.  Its made me think a lot about what is in my heart, what I want to share with the world, and how I am going to convey it.

I need to give credit where credit is due.  My good friend, Logan, is responsible for getting my post so many views.  He read what I'd written, and decided it was an important enough message to share with others, so he submitted it to a larger blog with lots of traffic.  He didn't even expect them to post my link!  And of all the submissions that blog gets everyday, we were both totally shocked when we realized the owner of the larger site had seen some value in the content I'd written and decided it was worth giving a broader audience.

I have been blogging for years, and have always hoped something would touch a large number of people in a big way.  But let's face it.  There are probably hundreds of millions of bloggers around the world, the odds of that ever happening were slim to none, and more likely none.  So I changed my philosophy pretty early on.  I decided that it was okay if only a few people ever read my words, as long as whatever I wrote was straight from my heart, and (hopefully) made people think about their world, their views, and the way they treat others.  I wasn't out to try and change anyone's mind, I just wanted to make people think.

I think what was most humbling of all had nothing to do with sheer numbers.  It was that someone believed in me and thought what I had to say was so valuable that others needed to read it, too.  There is something very beautiful in that; having someone believe in you that much.  And it was so validating to know that others actually wanted to hear what I had to say.

That particular post was written out of a place of maternal frustration, pain, and heartache.  I didn't ever fathom it would touch people who weren't parents, much less have them identify with it in such a way that they did.  I guess I didn't give myself - or my readers - enough credit on that one.  But it made me realize that I do have the ability to touch others with what I have to say, and that people are able to make of it what their minds and hearts need.

Out of that post, I have heard stories of others' heartaches with bullying, the dark places they've been, the resulting "phoenix experiences" from the hardships, and just the challenges of being "different."  I don't know if it was healing for others to know that others have been there, too, but it was very healing for me, both as a mother, and as a "different person" myself.  It was good for me to know that I am not alone, and never have been.  And I hope that others knowing they aren't alone was healing for them as well.

I know most of those who read that post will never lay eyes on my blog again.  I'm not going to lie, there is a part of me that is bummed out about that.  I enjoyed my "15 minutes."  (I'm a Type A personality, what can I say?)  But overall, I am satisfied and at peace, knowing that something, at some point, spoke to so many people.  I will continue with the same mindset I began blogging with four years ago, of not of writing for the masses, but writing what matters.