Monday, August 18, 2014
"Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater."
I remember the first time I heard that expression. I had to be around 6 years old. My mom was talking with one of her friends when I heard the sentence come out of her mouth. My young mind couldn't process what I just heard. What does that even mean?!? Immediately, I got an image of someone dumping out a large tub of bathwater with the baby still in it. It disturbed me.
Later on, after my mom's friend left, I confronted my mom as to why she would say something so crazy! "Mom, why does your friend throw away babies!?" I questioned. My mom looked at me stunned "What?!" What are you talking about??" I then gave her this "Don't play coy with me face" and said "I heard you tell your friend to stop throwing out babies when she gives them baths."
"OH THAT!" my mom said laughing. I was disgusted! Glad she found something so horrifying funny. Clearly I was adopted and this monster wasn't my real mother. Just when I was about to demand to see the adoptions papers my mom said "Its just an expression!" She then went on to explain that many times when people try to get rid of something bad, they unintentionally throw out the good with it. She said "We definitely don't want to keep the dirty bathwater. It's good to get rid of that, but we want to make sure we don't get rid of the baby at the same time."That conversation has always stuck with me. And I have always made an effort to live by that truth. Or so I thought.
Flash forward a couple decades later and I'm out with my 2 yr old, one of my dearest friends, Brittany and her young son. I was pregnant with my second child at the time. In fact, we had just finished taking maternity photos (my friend is an amazing photographer!) and we were heading out for the day. As we were chatting away, pushing our strollers with our littles in front of us, out of the corner of my eye I see a cop car.
"Ugh!" I thought to myself. "What do they want!!" I immediately felt defensive. If you knew some of the encounters that me and those I love have had with cops, you wouldn't blame me. My goal at this point was just to quickly walk by them (as fast as a huge preggo could move) and try not to do anything to draw attention to myself.
I could feel there eyes watching us as we walked by. I thought we were by them when suddenly they put their lights on. "Eff!" I thought to myself. I don't even know what we could have done but it was clear they were trying to get out attention. That's when I heard a voice come over the megaphone speaker and say in a very serious cop voice "WOULD YOU LIKE A STICKER??"
I was shocked. Next thing I know two smiling cops get out of the car and head over to us to say hi to our kids. They handed them some stickers and talked to them for a bit. The kids were all smiles. The officers gave my daughter a high five and with that turned around, got back in their car and left. To say that interaction with the cops was refreshing is a huge understatement! Brittany and I were both moved by the kindness of the officers, especially because that kindness was directed to our children.
Later on that day I was talking with my husband, Steven, about the whole thing. I just couldn't get over how moved I was. Of course, I could blame it on the pregnancy hormones but it felt deeper than that. For days, every time I thought about it, it made me tear up a little. I couldn't figure out why. Then one day while eating dinner with the family I blurted out "That was the first positive experience I have ever had with a cop!"
Steven "What?" I then began to explain that for days I have felt really moved by that whole experience and wasn't sure why. "I guess I always expect to see a cop on some sort of power trip, because that's all I've ever experienced. Clearly they aren't all like that." I paused for a long time thinking. "I guess I didn't realize that I took my negative experiences and lumped all cops under that."Later on that night once everyone was asleep and I was up for the 35th time to pee because of pregnancy it hit me. "Omg!" I thought to myself "I threw away the baby!!!"
Without realizing it, I had dismissed all cops as egotistical men and women with badges. To be honest, I had a lot of examples as to why I believed this to be true. Personal examples. Examples through out history. Examples on the current news. I didn't realize it but I had built a case against cops. Actually, can I just be real? I had built a case against authority figures in general.
If I took you back through my past I could give you examples of terrible mistreatment I have experienced from different authority figures. Some of the stories would shock you! Then again, many of you wouldn't be surprised because you yourself have experienced this to. It wasn't just cops that let me down. It was teachers, pastors, bosses, doctors etc. It seemed like no matter where I turned there was another leader, abusing their power and causing more damage then good.
Now before I go further into this, let me stop and say "I DO believe there are crooked cops! All you have to do is turn on the news right to see that! So I am NOT saying that just because you have a badge that you are incapable of being a murderer! Just like I am not saying that just because you are a priest, you are incapable of raping children. Just like I'm not saying just because you are a boss, doesn't mean its impossible for you to mistreat your employees!
Unfortunately, things like this happen today. For those of you who claim it doesn't or that people had it coming, I thank God you personally haven't ever had to go through it. I mean that genuinely. But please believe that just because you haven't been sexually abused, doesn't mean that the people who claim they have around you are "exaggerating" or "had it coming." Don't be ignorant!
By the cops being kind to me and my kid, I am in NO way saying that I have no right to accuse leadership of mistreatment. Leaders are people and people fail from time to time. I am speaking to another issue
As a society we have got to STOP throwing away the baby with the bath water. I have totally been guilty of it. Many times. However I am starting to see the affect that its having not only on me but our generation. It's making up paranoid. It's making us very fearful. It's making us hate rules and laws. Of course some laws and rules that are challenged should be. However do so respectfully. Acting lawless in the name of justice is still wrong!
When I look into the eyes of my two girls, I realize I have a responsibility. It's not only my job to teach them to be careful and to look out for wolves in sheep clothing, but also to give them some sort of hope for the future. We. don't realize that by telling everyone that we can't trust anything, that we aren't leaving our kids with much hope.
There is always hope. Always. Even in the midst of darkness there is always a light. In the midst of hate there still need to be love. In moments of doubt, there still needs to be faith. Let's continue to fight to see the dirty corruption be removed, but lets not throw away hope for the future in the midst of all of it. Our children are looking to us for comfort in the midst of the hard times. Give them something to hope for. Show them how to love when it is easy to hate and their hearts will never harden.Teach them how to find the light in the darkest of situation and they will never find themselves unable to see.