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Lobbing Grenades

April 26, 2020
Mk 2 grenade - Wikipedia

There’s an old Country song on a Ricky Skaggs album about a girl who’s outgrown her roots, “high-headed.” It has this line in it: Don’t get above yer raisin’, stay down to earth with me.

I’m not much of a Country Music fan, but I like Bluegrass, and Ricky Skaggs is good at that. I might never have heard this song if Ricky hadn’t put it on the one album of his that I have in my library (which I got because of one of my favorite songs, “Somebody’s Praying”). If I had otherwise heard it, I would probably have just laughed at this song. But when I listened to it yesterday on my walk, it struck me that this might be pretty good advice for most of us as we walk through what’s been called “The Opening of the Country.”

There’s lots of controversy about when and how this should be done. So many opinions. And lots of emotion connected with the opinions. If you’re on any kind of social media or listen to or watch any kind of news, you can’t have missed it. Battle lines are being drawn. Like we needed that. Very powerful political grenades have been lobbed. And, by the way, no matter which side of the isle you call yours, your team has a warehouse of grenades to lob, and they won’t hesitate to lob them.

The problem with lobbing grenades is that grenades don’t discriminate. They just blow up everything in the area to which they’re lobbed.

OK, so what’s that got to do with, “Don’t get above yer raising”? And also, what’s any of this got to do with marriage and parenting? Good questions.

It comes down to what pride can do to inflate opinion. Pride-inflated opinions generally promote grenade lobbing. Here’s what I mean. It’s simple and complex at the same time.

The simple side is that in America, we’re all permitted to have our own opinion. We’re permitted to write about it, talk about it, sing about it, make movies about it. That’s guaranteed by the First Amendment. This is true even if the opinion that’s being written about, talked about, sung about, etc., is illogical and unsupportable. If it’s your opinion, you’re entitled to it. It’s one of the wonderful blessings of living in a free country.

It gets complex when your opinion and mine don’t align. What I do about our differences of opinion is maybe the biggest indicator of my emotional maturity. And what you do with this shows your emotional maturity.

When two emotionally mature people come to an intersection of opinion, they’re able to say, “That’s interesting. It’s not the conclusion I’ve drawn. How did you get there?” in a respectful tone. If discussion ensues, the outcome may be, “Let’s agree to disagree agreeably.” You may easily see that there aren’t that many people who are this emotionally mature.

But when two emotionally immature people’s opinions clash, grenades are likely to be lobbed. “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.” “How can you be a part of what everybody knows is a hoax perpetrated by the devil himself?” “You’re just an idiot.”

If the participants are sufficiently immature, a fistfight may ensue… It may only be a verbal fistfight on social media, but some sort of violence will happen. If the immature people are pride-invested in their opinion (and generally they will be), their level of pride sets the level and intensity of violence. These people usually leave a wake of broken relationships behind their boat.

In a marriage or family, when pride rises above respect, there will be some sort of violence. Somebody’s going to get hurt. Somebody will win and somebody will lose. The problem is, in a marriage, if one spouse loses, you both lose. In a family, the same principle applies, although children need secure boundaries, which sometimes will feel to them like they’re losing.

Pride is what nudges or drags us above our raisin’. It inflates us and our opinions. And it makes us oversensitive to most any difference of opinion.

If you don’t think your state should be opened back up, you’re welcome to that opinion. If you think it should have been opened weeks ago, you’re welcome to that opinion. But, please don’t make your right to your opinion your excuse to lob grenades at people who don’t agree with you. Please don’t judge me because I don’t agree with you.

If you feel you’ve got to convince me to change my opinion, you won’t get there with judging me. The door gets slammed on judgementalism. If you want to convince me to change my opinion, humility and respect will open the door, though.

So here’s what I’m going for. Moms and Dads, model humble respect to your kids. If you’ve got a strong opinion that you believe is supported by facts, good for you. But what you do about that well-supported opinion is actually a classroom for your kids. So teach them well.

If you’re a husband or wife, almost nothing will wreck your affection for each other as quickly as judgmentalism over differences of opinion. Don’t go there. Most of the time you don’t have to. Take the path marked, “Humble Respect.”

Just, please, don’t get above yer raisin’.

From → Marriage, Parenting

  1. Greg Bandfield permalink

    Great Post. Reminds me of a Marshall Rosenberg’s SPEAKING PEACE CD that I have about non-violent communication. Words can easily turn into weapons.

    Thanks for posting.


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