Ever been in a group of people and discovered that one person over-rules everyone's opinions? This has happened frequently to me of late. Many of my friends are passionate about their beliefs and decisions. As an opinionated person, I understand strong views. Where is the line between a conversation about different viewpoints and a lecture by someone who believes that any other outlook is WRONG.
Many choices that families and individuals make about how they will live their lives, raise their children, spend their money are not necessarily right or wrong. They are a matter of opinion and priorities. I choose to breast feed almost all of my children for their first year. I believe that breast milk provides optimum nutrition for infants. My oldest and youngest children were strictly bottle fed. Our family situation didn't fit with breast feeding. I HAD to return to work three days after our oldest was born. We had mountains of medical bills to pay and my husband didn't earn enough to cover our living expenses and the thousands of dollars in medical expenses. I had been on bed-rest for over 3 months when our youngest was born by c-section. Physically, I wasn't up to breast feeding and returning to the running of our home.
A friend recently spent over an hour telling me what I should have done so that I could have breast fed Allie. I explained the reasons for my decision, which frankly was NONE of her business. My explanation wasn't acceptable. My friend implied that Allie will be scarred for the rest of her life. The bottom line is that Allie is 6, nothing can change her feeding experience. Eventually, I walked away from my friend, leaving her angry because she hadn't changed my mind. At my age, we won't be having any more children, so does it really matter?
Two weeks ago, I ended up in an email discussion with someone, who felt that my choice to allow my daughter to attend her prom was wrong. The discussion was somewhat heated and the person emailing me used a lot of statements beginning with the phrase "When I have children old enough to attend prom, we....." This person is entitled to his thoughts about prom and appropriate teen behaviors. It's quite easy to make hard and fast rules about how you will handle things before you need to make any decisions.
It's great to think and plan how you would like to raise your children, but until you have traveled that path, they are thoughts that have never been put into practice. After we had our first child, I couldn't understand all the loud, whiny children who wouldn't listen to their elders. Then, we had Katie. My opinion changed and I mentally apologized to all those mother's who I thought were not doing things right. All my ideas were based on my very limited experience.
No one is an expert on everything. Simply having a strong belief on how things should be done, doesn't mean that everyone needs to know your feelings on everything! That's my opinion.