Emily, one and the same

Sometimes when I write things on my blog or facebook I pretend that my grandmother and my liberal/feminist/gay friend are both looking over my shoulder.

It is easy enough to have opinions when you are only going to say those opinions to people who won’t be hurt by them.

For instance: One day I had a brilliant thought. What if all the single mothers who were going to have babies were self-sacrificial enough to give their babies up for adoption? What if they stopped being selfish, and in order to give their child a better life, gave him/her to someone who could take better care of it?

I expressed this idea to a friend of mine, who said, “I was raised by a single parent.”

Did that derail me? Yes it did. I stammered and said, “so, like, how did that go, being raised by one parent?”

“It went okay,” she said, almost confused. “I am who I am.”

It because painfully obvious to me that there was a flaw in my theory. No matter how much I want my cousin and her husband to be able to adopt a child, I can’t go around calling single parents “selfish” for keeping their OWN CHILDREN.

The point of the story is that people have different morals, different things that will offend them, different ideas of how a person should live. Because of this, it is easy to be a different version of Emily depending on who I am with.

I don’t like that.

I like being consistent.

I don’t want to be a Peter, denying Jesus as soon as being Jesus’ disciple became uncool.

If I wouldn’t be comfortable saying something in front of my Grandmother, I don’t want to say it at all.

I want to be consistent.

4 responses to “Emily, one and the same

  1. Yes,
    I think single mothers SHOULD have the chance to raise their own kids…
    there are plenty of other orphans in this world who need a family…they don’t even have *one* parent.
    It’s hard enough to get enough foster/adopt parents the way it is.


  2. it’s sad how people are so often looked down upon for having the ability to change their minds…
    in politics, for example, a candidate who changes their stance on an issue is vilified and called a “flip-flopper.”
    it doesn’t seem to matter that when new information about an issue is revealed, it may broaden one’s perspective on the issue itself. it’s called *learning.*
    there are many, many sides to every argument. just as many as there are ways of life. nobody can see them all. the ignorant person will stubbornly refuse to see any side but their own, and reject or persecute anyone who does not also see their side. the wise person will accept that other sides exist, even those which they may not understand; they will approach the entire issue with tolerance for all involved, making no judgements.

    consistency does not mean being closed-minded; sometimes you need to flip-flop in order to actually be more consistent with your beliefs.


  3. You can’t assume that ANY single mother is “being selfish.” It is a huge struggle to raise a child alone, and it is also an extremely self-sacrificial act. Some people are thrown into circumstances (yes, thrown: due to rape, or death of the father, or the father’s military duty, or any imaginable plot twist that occurs in the lives of human beings, any woman could find herself a single mother) in which they decide, really, it would be better for their child to continue being raised by their own parent, and to grow up with their real family, than to casually toss the child into foster homes or adoption with total strangers.

    And how do you actually know that adoptive parents can provide a “better life?” What if they taught the child a religion their parent was not okay with, or taught them to be racist, or were abusive? Do you know how many abusive adoptive parents there are in this world, really?

    I’m sure there are many, many situations where adoption really does give children a better home than the parent(s) can provide. But that does not mean it is ok to assume, EVER, or make moral judgements about another person’s life choices.

    As you have clearly seen, people who have been raised by single parents (including myself) grow up to be just fine. No deep psychological scars or haunting regrets, no better or worse than anybody else. Maybe a deep feeling of gratitude towards their selfish mothers for doing the best they absolutely could.

    Just because your upbringing does not agree with something, or because you want your cousin to be able to adopt, absolutely does not mean that it is “wrong” or “selfish.”

    Sorry about the rant, but I feel very strongly about this. I agree with m. that it’s important to be open to changing your beliefs in order to be consistent. Truly Christ-like beliefs can be expressed to anyone, grandmother or gay friend, and extend even to single mothers.


  4. what about finding the common ground? Even when people have irreconcilable differences, it doesn’t mean that it’s wrong or evading something to take awhile to appreciate what they agree on. Like, I’m sure both your grandma and single parents want what’s best for a baby. It’s worthwhile really taking some time and remembering that.

    I’m a girl who was raised only by my dad. He wanted what was best for me, and I would have liked to have a mom but things went OK!

    If I overheard two people discussing whether or not the right decisions were made about who brought me up, it would seem detached and unrelated to me and my experience.

    When I was in university we talked a lot about what is right and wrong or logical and illogical, and discussions can get very heated, but people shouldn’t forget that theoretical discussions are isolated and detached events that make more sense in their own context, not necessarily in ‘real life’.

    That isn’t to be relativist! I do believe that having a mom and a dad is best, maybe ‘right’. But again, in my life, I have to say that having just a dad was ‘right for me’. I can’t say that having been brought up with a mom would have been better for me or not, because I don’t know. And that’s assuming she would have been a good mom; some people aren’t very nice as mothers.


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