Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.I was sitting in the waiting room of a doctors office earlier this week, picking up a friend from an appointment, unrelated to me or my pregnancy. An elderly lady across the room asked, "When are you due honey?" I replied, "Three weeks." and I'm sure I added, "Or less!"
She smiled and asked, "Is this your first?" and I said, "No, it's my fourth." She pleasantly replied, "Well, how nice!" She continued to chit-chat with me about my other children and told me she could predict what I am having from calculating my age at the babies conception, plus the birth month the baby is due in. Supposedly the very mathematical total of those two components could then be converted, if the number was even, I am having a girl, if odd I am having a boy. To which it didn't add up correctly and we laughed!
She was very positive and encouraging, when she asked what the sexes of my other children were and I replied, "Girl, boy, girl and now a boy!" she said, "That is just wonderful!" And when the nurse called her back for her appointment, she kindly bid me good-bye and good-luck with my new baby.
This may seem like a rather strange thing to be blogging about, but it didn't occur to me until a day later, how good this conversation was still making me feel. I am asked repeatedly, especially since I now look like the piggy bank, Hamm, from Toy Story, questions pertaining to the number of children I have. And nine times out of ten, I am not exaggerating, the response is negative. "You just wait 'til they're teenagers!" "You don't know what you're in for!" "How can you afford all those kids!" "Are you crazy?!" and the one we hear more than any other, "Don't you know what causes that?!". I think I've gotten used to these kinds of remarks, I've learned to smile and go on. I've become so accustomed to these responses I guess I've come to expect them, and this is why I was so touched by this lady's genuine happiness for me.
Who do these people, most of them perfect strangers, think they are to give me their opinion on my life or be such downers. This is an issue that crosses all types of people, friends, acquaintances, wealthy, middle class, churchgoers, non-churchgoers, people with one child, people with three children, divorced, married, single, working moms, and stay-at-home moms, I've heard it from people of many types of lifestyles.
I know that they are speaking from their own personal perspective, their own experience or lack of experience with having children. But does anyone ever say to a stranger, or a friend, "Can you really afford that car? You just wait until it breaks down, it's not gonna last forever, you know!" or "What are you thinking living in such a big house? Don't you think there is a better way to spend you money? That's gonna take a lot of money to upkeep!" I have never heard anyone ask these kinds of personal questions, or make negative comments to some else's joy over a new possession, but when it comes to children that is a different story. And really, is there anything better to invest my life, time and finances in then the lives of children?
I am not opposed to people inquiring why we choose to have 4 children or if we plan to have more. IF, they do it in a sincere and loving manner. And this post isn't supposed to have anything to do with defending why we have four children, it's supposed to be about the power of our words. I know that we all speak before we think and share our opinions far to quickly. For myself, most of the time it's for nothing more than to defend myself and my life.
I really do want to come to the place where I do not care what others think of me, or feel the need to make others like me, to make myself feel better. I want to be a better listener, and better encourager, even if it's to a perfect stranger! And topic aside, I think we all can agree that eye contact and a friendly smile go a long way. How many times does that happen at Wal-mart? That's a rarity in and of itself!