my lovely narrow way

It’s hard being the only one who’s right. I’m the only moderate where moderation is truly appropriate, the only one who stands on principles that actually matter, and the only one who is flexible about the real gray areas.

You folks who make your kids cry-it-out, you’re monsters. You other folks who still bedshare with teenagers, you’re freaks. My parenting choices are the only sensible ones. And it’s so obvious!

You folks who use cloth toilet paper and make your own hemp underwear are extremists. You other folks who buy individually wrapped bananas and never wear the same outfit more than once are ridiculous. My level of greenness is clearly the right level — not too much, not too little. Self-evident.

I could, but won’t, go on — about food and diet and exercise, about spiritual things, about relationships, about vocation and hobbies and work and leisure…

Theoretically, I understand how ridiculous this sense of rightness can be, and how no one and no organization will exactly match my principles and preferences… and it would be nice if some day I reacted a little less to disappointing differences. If I felt comfortable enough with my own ideas to be less defensive and less aggressive about them. To know when a principle matters enough to take a stand even in casual conversation with a stranger, or when not taking a stand isn’t tantamount to denying the truth.

Today, it was lovely to run into someone I haven’t seen in a long time, and to talk about church and parenting and stuff. Two things she talked about made me cringe; who knows to what extent what I said made her cringe.

But I’m right. πŸ˜‰


It is hard to have the courage of conviction at any moment, knowing that you used to think differently, and could possibly think differently in the future.

And yet, sometimes you DO feel strongly about a conviction — you DO think it’s right, and not just for yourself but universally.

It is hard to act wisely when interacting with others who don’t share your current conviction. You don’t want to express your position weakly as if you really don’t feel sure it is true. But you don’t want to browbeat anyone either.


I think cry-it-out is wrong.

I think talking to children about sin is fraught with danger and must be handled very carefully.

I think individually wrapped bananas ARE ridiculous.

I think kids need to have open-ended, unstructured fun and play without reliance on gimmicks and packaged entertainment AND without reliance on strict rote learning and physical constraints.

I think the Food Pyramid is wrong.

I think children are neither miniature adults nor incapable stupid fools.

I think expressing things in terms of obviously distasteful extremes is an ineffective and unfair approach to promoting my lovely narrow middle way.

I think it’s time to start making dinner.


8 thoughts on “my lovely narrow way

  1. Did I ever share with you that at one time during a phase in my life, I warned my little children about the ‘Anti-Christ’? I told them that if mom and dad should disappear, don’t let anyone put any marks on your forehead!!!
    This was in a casual conversation while I was giving them their afternoon baths in Indonesia.
    I honestly can’t believe what a fanatic I was. But, I really “Get” the point of your blog!
    We live and grow! But, how to maintain balance in what we believe now???
    God surely guides, but many of us truly believe…and what about those child abusers who molest their children while “reciting the Lord’s prayer”?
    Extremes can become really ugly, can’t they?
    As much as lieth in me, let me be at peace with all…but, what if they are “WRONG”?

    • Mary, do your kids remember that? I remember one English class, I forget what time period but it included Rousseau, Augustine, DeFoe, and others. The prof organized it around the theme of confession. And I remember Rousseau talking about how his neurotic aunt got him all neurotic about sin and introspection and stuff in confusing, not-age-appropriate ways — stuck with me.

      I often feel torn between the urge to stand more strongly by my convictions and the urge to be more open to the possibility that other people’s ways might be okay. It’s especially hard when important things like kids and eternal destiny are involved!

  2. This post tickled me. πŸ™‚

    One thing I’ve learned over my years as a parent? How I feel TODAY may not be how I feel TOMORROW. What I believe wholeheartedly TODAY, well, it may be completely opposite of what I believe in ten years! Therefore, I try not to get all up in anyone else’s business, especially parenting-wise. As with all things: you live, you learn, and hopefully, if necessary…you change. πŸ™‚

    • Glad the humor comes across. I was thinking of Emerson as I wrote some of it — I forget the essay, but one maxim was “Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,” with the idea of boldly speaking the truth you know today even if it’s completely at odds with the truth you boldly spoke yesterday. I’m still not sure to what extent I agree with him!

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