Many of my 'regular readers' know I have been working on this post for some time...it may well just be deemed 'a work in progress'...
As I write this, I am sitting in the cafe of the pediatric hospital where my daughter was healed - six times - of heart failure. It's a friendly place - a hot air balloon that at one time featured free rides from the Lower Level to the Mezanine of the cafetieria silently watches patrons below its retired, though lofty precipice. Whale-topped weather vanes and whispy wire butterflies stretched with silky tulle soar above the room. A dull hum of conversations around a half-dozen tables drowns out the faint, tinkly sound of Muzak...yet I hear a familiar tune of Mozart and my childhood orchestral memories break through the low drone, spinning thoughts through my head...
I recently joined FaceBook. Almost immediately, one of my best friends from high school contacted me. Then, his little sister (previously a cheerleader in my graduating class) sent me a 'button' proclaiming that I am "a COOL band geek." After receiving this gift for my 'wall' (more FB talk), I reconnected with one of the 'smart guys' from my graduating class. It's all gotten me thinking...thinking about stereotypes.
Most of the day today I lamented about the historical decision our country made yesterday in terms of its next president. I felt sad that my personal political party of choice has come to exude such a negative emotion and impression from so many of my fellow Americans. Let me say that I am thrilled that we have elected a president of Euro-African decent. I am not thrilled with his politics. But, the country embraces him. The world embraces him (edited: I said, until I read this...). And I pray he can make the positive changes in our country of which he speaks so eloquently.
But what do we say about these 'stereotypes' - about stereotypes, in general? Am I, at the age of 35, a 'band geek?' A 'cool' one, at that? Is my friend's little sister a ... (gasp!) cheerleader! Or our classmate Greg - a smart guy? I begin to wonder about my own kids...one with a sporty bent, one with a calm, intelligent demeanor...the diva...the fussy one (destined to be a public defender??).
Before our children were born, my husband did not desire a stay-at-home wife. I never planned to stay at home with my kids - I have a Master's degree. Why would I go through 6 years of higher education to stay home, barefoot and pregnant, taking my kids to McDonald's for unhealthy lunches, eating bon-bons and watching soaps while they play, unbathed, in the corner of our dirty home? Why would I choose that unprofession when yet even today, so many negative connotations are conjured up in our minds with the term 'stay-at-home mom?' Just like those images of 'the band geek, 'the brainiac,' 'the cheerleader.' The Republican.
Are stereotypes beneficial? Are they detrimental? How is it that some can use stereotypes without regard to their offensiveness, yet others are 'closed-minded' and 'hateful' in using their own? Aren't stereotypes no more than one person's value judgment in the short term, yet God sees us for eternity? He admonishes us in John 7:24 to "Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment."
In light of the time I have spent trying to adequately put into words the thoughts I entertained last week as I sat at a table, alone (without kids!), in a place that held so many poignant, life-changing memories for me...let me direct you to this Biblically articulate man. Perhaps he can shed light on some thoughts He has on stereotypes...
Until next time,