Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Trying to Relate

Kyle and I had a long talk after that party. In fact, we were still talking about it the next day. Aside from the lady who was burdened by her surprise twins, I got into a long talk with a mom who was genuinely interested in our family story. She was very sweet and very encouraging, but she couldn't understand most of what I was trying to communicate.

For instance, she said: Ok, so your oldest at home is 13, so she's in 8th grade, right?
I smiled and said: Well no, she's in about 5th grade.
{look of confusion}
I explained how it is taking a long time for our Liberians to "catch up" academically.
She said, with much concern: Well, what are your expectations for her in the future? What about college?

At this point, I realized my mistake in even mentioning this. Why did I think I could quickly explain how our expectations are completely different for our adoptees who were malnourished their first several years of life? And that we're ok with where they are.

Anyway, I said: Well, she's our domestically-gifted child. She excels in all skills related to homemaking. Her goal is to be a mommy and she won't need higher math for that.

Her look of pity told me she felt sorry for the poor girl whose only goal is to be a homemaker. Just a homemaker. No college degree. No graduate studies. No prestigious career.

I told Kyle: I know they can't relate since they are on a totally different path, but I wish I could have communicated better, so she could at least understand.

Kyle, in his wisdom, replied: They're not going to understand.


Of course, he's right.


Anonymous said...

And if she wants to go to college?

Ginger said...

The point wasn't whether she wants to go to college; the point was our expectations for her.
She desperately hopes she "doesn't have to go to college", but she does want to take photography classes, which we had to inform her would be at college. lol
Her current aspiration is to take lots of cake decorating classes and eventually own a shop called The Sweet Tooth. :)

Sherrie said...

If she wanted to go to college, the other lady would be able to relate perfectly to Ginger. It's the concept of a young lady not pursuing college that is completely foreign to most mainstreamers.

CK said...

With all due respect to Kyle, I'm not sure that's fair. I read here often and, while my views often differ tremendously from yours, I definitely understand both what your hopes are for your children and why you feel that way.

In fact, it seems like you view her mindset in a way that seem as disdainful and limited as you think she views yours. Thinking she is incapable of learning and understanding seems rather...hopeless and unfair, no?

Ginger said...


Thank you so much for saying that you understand where I'm coming from. You have no idea what that means!
If you had seen this sweet lady's facial expressions you'd know what I mean. She couldn't fathom not having college aspirations for all of my children. She was very kind and very interesting in hearing about our family, but when I got to the part about Maya not planning to go to college, she looked very confused.
I don't feel disdainful at all about her goals for her children; I just have different goals for my children. For most, (in my experience) that is inconceivable.

MommaofMany said...

I didn't think you came across as disdainful. You were lamenting your lack of ability to make her understand in a short amount of time AND her bewilderment at being satisfied (and dare I say even "pleased") with having a daughter who is happy to stay at home.

As for how to handle the situation, I might say something like, "We are so happy to see her thriving and growing as the Lord wills. If she changes her mind and later wishes to attend college, we will support her in that decision. If she continues to choose to stay home, I'll be that much more supportive!"

I like to use the word 'choice', since that is a key word among feminists. I made the CHOICE to stay at home with my family. Do they hate my choice? Yes, usually. But they rarely speak against my freedom to make that choice. They just judge me for not being their idea of what a feminist should be.

Jamie Wooddell said...

I wish that I had been given more support NOT to go to college. I didn't want to go, but it was expected. I knew from a young age that I was meant to be a mom. Nothing else. I do not feel inferior because I didn't earn a degree. When I returned home, I found my husband.
I'm so happy for Maya that she has a family that understands and encourages her desire to honor the Lord through motherhood.

Midlife Army Wife said...

Wow, how to keep this short? I could write a whole post on this myself! I would much rather my daughter learn a "trade" - photography, cake baking/decorating, hair stylist, etc. than I would for her to earn a college degree. I have seen my friends that have these skills be able to work out of the home to help their family income when the husbands were out of work, while still being able to raise their own kids at home. Sure, we prefer the man to provide the income, but things happen. These trades can provide income as well as enjoyment and opportunities to bless others with their talents!
I was never asked if I wanted to go to college (I would have much rather learned a trade), nor was I asked if I wanted to incur debt to do so. Now, I am paying for student loans for a degree that sits in a box somewhere while I perform my dream job as a wife/mother.

Ginger said...

Me too, M.A.M. Me too.

Renee said...

I think I have had this conversation with the same lady before. LOL. I can relate to you about ALL of it.

Thanks for sharing.