I've heard a family member, who shall remain nameless for this post, spend the better part of the last 4 years barking about people judging. The more stupid decisions made, the more barking about people passing judgement was heard. I don't know about you, but it has been my experience in life, people who are most worried about people judging them are the people who are doing things for which judgement should be passed. Call me Mrs. Judgy McJudgerson, but sorry, 9 times out of 10 it is true. I'm not talking about The Church Lady passing judgement on all those who don't attend every Sunday Service. I'm not talking about people for whom nothing is quite good enough. I'm talking about living with basic principles and moral codes to help all of us live a safe and well adjusted life. I realize for everyone these principles are different. And as adults the lines get a little fuzzy. But one thing is for certain: If children are involved, their well-being and safety should always come first and foremost. Children should be taught Good Judgement and Boundaries and those parents who think those are two nasty words, should step back and look around their lives to see if they are truly preparing their children for safe productive lives.
Every time I heard "Don't You Judge Me!" after finding out that said relative supplied their children with drugs, alcohol and sex partners, I remembered that I had heard this before. Does anyone remember the episode of "My Name Is Earl" back in 2005 (episode 10) called "White Lie Christmas"? Brett Butler was in the episode and played Joy's (Jaime Pressly) mother Connie. If you don't have time to explore the link and watch the show, here is a synopsis from TVGuide.com:
Episode Synopsis: At Christmas, Joy implores a reluctant Earl to pretend to still be her husband for the sake of her visiting parents, who she assumes wouldn't approve of Darnell. Meanwhile, Randy helps Earl cross No. 74 off his list by trying to win Joy a new car to make up for all of the disappointing presents Earl had given her on past holidays. Original Air Date: Dec 6, 2005
Brett Butler (Connie) walked around saying, "Don't you judge me!" after every stupid mistake. I bring up this episode because every time I heard my relative say this I heard Brett Butler's voice. At least that episode made me laugh at the truth instead of cringing when I heard it in real life.
My point here is this: there is absolutely nothing wrong with living with Judgement and Boundaries as part of your every day life. Yes, there is a fine line and it is really easy to take the concepts to a destructive level. However, we all need BOTH. Being able to walk through life safely takes good judgement. Good judgement of character, people, places and experiences is needed in order to protect ourselves from people who want to harm us or take advantage of us. We need to " judge people by the content of their character..." as Dr. King said. We need boundaries both physical and mental to be safe. If you don't teach a child these things through out their lives, you are setting them up to be hurt over and over and over again. And for what? So that someone can be the "cool parent"? So that someone can teach their children to "be just like I am" so that they can justify their own careless and repulsive behavior? How does this help one's children make their way in the world?
One thing is very true, a parent can't teach what they do not know. If a parent doesn't really know the difference between right and wrong or can't judge good character from bad, how can they possibly teach that to a child? I'm sure some sociologists and psychiatrists have long studied the effects of parental poor decisions on their children. I'm sure some of it is socioeconomical. But if you think about it, most all of these lessons come from the parent. I don't recall any classes in school on this subject.
I've seen this problem first hand in my own family. I have my own example of differing values and moral codes (or lack thereof for some, depending on where you are standing) within my own family. Looking around I've found if the self indulgent parent, who has no boundaries and lacks the judgement skills necessary to pass to their offspring, tries to teach the child that they (the parent) are the only one who is right and all other family members who they deem too judgemental or crazy or senile, then what is the child to believe? When you grow up in Crazy-Town, it is hard to know which end is up. It is even harder to break out of Crazy-Town, especially when the Parent is the Supreme Leader and threatens to withhold love and attention if the child "goes to the other side".
I've been giving all of this more thought as of late. This problem applies to people from all walks of life. And I'm not sure why, but Lottery winners seem to be plagued by lack of judgement and boundaries. Is there some sort of test you have to flunk before you win a lottery? I just heard the story of the Florida State Lottery winner, Abraham Shakespeare, who has been missing since April of 2009. Authorities have uncovered (and identified as of about 1 hour ago) his body in newly poured concrete at a house owned by the boyfriend of the number one suspect, Dee Dee Moore. If you haven't read the background story on this, do so now. This sad tale is one more example of people who have no skill for boundaries or judgement of character. It sounds like the victim in this tale started out life using poor judgement and he left this life with the same malady.
So what does my family story, "My Name Is Earl" and Abraham Shakespeare's tale of woe have in common? Sure, there is the obvious "Don't You Judge Me!" connection. But more than that, with most of these stories comes missed opportunities. Sometimes people are given a hand up or a chance to change their lives, but many times they misuse the opportunity or turn their backs on it all together. It is like they will choose the wrong road just to spite the people who are trying and willing to help. I'm sure Mr. Shakespeare had at least one level headed friend in the bunch who tried to help him. I know my family member has had many opportunities to step away from "Crazy-Town" but they keep going back for more. What is it that the comedian Ron White says, "You Can't Fix Stupid". It is harsh, but God is it true.
I'll leave this post with 2 great quotes from Eric Hoffer (1902-1983)
People who bite the hand that feeds them usually lick the boot that kicks them.
An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything in to an empty head.