Today I watched “Breaking Amish” and it got me thinking, when is it okay to “shun” someone simply for not believing as you believe?
I’m not talking about the Amish, because in reality the show was just a spark to my thought process. I’m talking about society as a whole, all our little religious, economic, and societal groups. I remember packing to move out for college, “abandoning” everything I had ever been taught, and going out to “be of the world.” It was hard, my family still talked to me but would often remind me of the poor decisions I had made, decisions MOST people make (like moving out and going to college). When my husband married me, his family didn’t stop talking to him, but took every opportunity to let him know that he made bad decisions and how him being gone was causing his family to suffer, again a seemingly “normal” decision (getting married, moving and getting a job) causing some “shunning.” People of wealth leaving the family business getting cut out of wills, people of low economic station marrying above their class level must be gold diggers, people who choose to walk a different spiritual path, I think you understand what I am getting at. When you are raised in one path, if you jump ship and move to a different path you are suddenly “shunned” as if by not doing exactly as you were raised makes you tainted.
This is the legacy that has been passed down through generations, and it’s the legacy we are leaving for our children. It’s like we are saying, “If you break away from this you are doomed, I know what it best” Eeek! I don’t know about you, but I really hope that I don’t do that to my children, partly because that is a LOT of responsibility on me. If I claim to know what is best what happens when my best isn’t their best? What happens when, for my own happiness, my kids sink into unhappiness? What if they don’t do something they are truly called to do? Would I have robbed the world of a great benefit? Sure I don’t have much to offer the world, but that doesn’t mean my children don’t have the ability or chance to be great, world changing individuals.
The question that arises is: are our convictions meant to be so set in stone that we must project them onto others? My father believed that I should have stayed home, worked on the farm, and waited for him to find me a suitable husband. Some would think this is crazy talk, others would feel that it would have been for the best, his convictions cannot budge in this manner, and as such I have been shunned. By not conforming am I challenging my families convictions? Are convictions meant to be projected onto others? Should there be standards in place based on religious convictions, societal standings, or any other attribute?
What do you think? Have you had a moment in which you broke away? What if you child decided to break away?