Homework: Choose any or all, or be inspired.
~Think about an old person you love or admire. Write a detailed description of the character and experience reflected in their face. Use a thesaurus if necessary to find the most precise words. (Ideas: conviction, spunk, wit.) What do you hope to look like when you're old?
~List your five biggest worries. Now imagine how each could become a blessing in disguise.
~Has your attitude been changed by your experiences or has it been the other way around? Write a paragraph that starts: "My outlook is more_____than______ (insert lemon and lemonade.) I grew up in a house filled with______."
*If you do any part of this assignment on your blog, link it back to TravelinOma. And please leave a comment here with a link to your blog as part of our class discussion. I'll be keeping track, and spot checking your work, giving points for participation. You can grade your own work, based on your individual progress. (A for Accomplishment, B for Basic Effort, C for Class Comments, D for thinking this post is Dumb, and F for Failure to Communicate.)
"You're so judgemental!" Kari told me.
It was practically a sentencing. Until then I had looked up to her and her love of life. She fairly sparkled with a zest for living and the laugh lines surrounding her blue eyes are forever etched in my memory. She had a certain spring in her step, her short blond curls seemed to bounce about in everything she did, and her laughter tinkled like sleigh bells. In fact, she reminded me of a young Mrs. Claus.
I know that I'd always been quite the realist. I didn't see my pronouncements or attitudes towards life as judging, but rather as a realistic view of events. Most people would call that being negative.
As a twelve year old, it's difficult to see much past your own nose. Life is never fair, and sometimes it feels as if the world is against you. Unless, of course, you were one of the cute girls. Then you could be as a negative as you liked or show it when your feelings got hurt, but when it was my underwear run up the flag pole and I had to retrieve them in the pouring rain, all of the sudden I was judgemental for feeling singled out. The camp counselor preached at me, "It's all just part of the fun. Lighten up!"
Or when my secret sister completely forgot about me until the very last day (when I'm sure one of the camp leaders covered for her) and it was hard not to feel jealous or hurt because of it, I was told not to be so selfish.
Or when the oldest, gorgeous girl extinguished a match (used to start the dinner fire) on my behind and it burned through three layers of clothing, melting my thermal undies into the hole in my skin, I was admonished not to hold it against her, "She didn't mean any harm, after all." I'm sure she didn't, even though there was no apology.
But having that sentence, "You're so judgemental" slapped as a label in my mental file, somewhat changed my course. I will never forget her face as she said it. It wasn't said with love, but with tolerance. Gone was her sweetness and I saw the sharpness come out, her words snapped like a whip. Now there were worry lines where I had only seen laughter, pursed lips where before had been only sweetness. Her whole outlook changed towards me and it was as tangible as if she'd struck me. But it was only words she'd used. Cutting words.
And in that moment, I determined that I would be the same with everyone. Cute or not, there is no difference in how I treat people. I hope to help each person I meet feel valued (although I am an formidable adversary, I am a faithful friend).
Am I judgemental? Probably so, to some extent. It feels like something I can never escape completely, but I hope never to sentence anyone in the same way.
Go do your homework