July 16, 2015

#1 Example--The Need to Leave our Comfort Zone

The fact that a certain tradition has persisted for a long time doesn’t guarantee it’s healthy and correct. Toddlers and parents are certainly more comfortable not going through the rigors of toilet training. However, would we want to see a healthy five-year old walking around in giant diapers?

As painstaking as the process is, every young child must learn that continuing to wear diapers will keep him from moving forward. Learning to use the bathroom is a crucial part of growing up. It needs to be done. Period.

The child may wish for the “good ole’ days” of being pampered; that kind of thinking is counterproductive.  He needs to reflect beyond his lifetime of training in wearing diapers—the only way of life with which he’s familiar. Even if something’s an accustomed habit, it might not be healthy.  

Civil Rights and Women’s Rights

I just finished reading the wonderful novel pictured above. It is based on the true-life story of two pioneer activists for abolition and women’s rights. These two remarkable women were sisters Sarah and Angelina (Nina) Grimké from Charleston, South Carolina.

What’s truly inspiring is the fact that these ladies were the first to put their lives and reputations on the line in those two areas of reform. Their work began fifteen years before Uncle Tom’s Cabin was published and decades before the women’s suffrage movement took off.

The Background of the Book

The book takes place in Charleston, South Carolina, decades before the Civil War begins. The setting is important because it shows the wrong training of the state. It was grounded in years of bigotry and social repression.

South Carolina held the strongest pro-slavery views at the time of the Civil War. They were the first to secede from the Union. The war even began at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.

Brigadier General William Tecumseh Sherman was famous for his “scorched earth” and “total war” policy in the confederate states. However, he saved the brunt of his wrath for South Carolina. He was so angered by the attitude of the inhabitants that he instructed his men to destroy everything they came across in that state, civilian or military. He didn’t treat the other southern states quite so harshly.

The Grimkés

These sisters were born into the mindset detailed above.  They gave up their standing in wealthy society, their comfortable lifestyle, and their reputation to fight for the two causes closest to their hearts:

  • The Women’s Suffrage Movement--Women were born to support their men only, not be equal with them. They weren’t encouraged to read much besides poetry and religion. The woman’s job was to marry, have children, and run households. Ladies were not expected to have opinions on anything outside of domestic and fashion concerns. Women didn’t win the right to vote until decades later.
  • Abolition--African-Americans weren’t considered to be real people. They didn’t have feelings, wants, and needs.  Slaves were bought and sold as any domestic item. They were also listed as belongings in household ledgers. They were valued only in the service they provided for their owners.

The owners would be as likely to consider their slaves’ feelings as they would to consider the feelings of a china cabinet. For instance, one wouldn’t consult a china cabinet about where it wanted to be placed. The very thought is ludicrous.  The homeowner would place the furniture where he darn well pleased. By the same token, many owners treated their slaves, their objects, as they darn well pleased.

My Conclusion

Every person is the product of their environment and training. Sometimes that’s helpful; sometimes it isn’t. Certain venues are toxic and some guidance is misguided. Our job is to live by our conscience no matter what decades of training may dictate.

What training is serving you well today?

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