Pit Boss (TV series)

Image via Wikipedia

A friend of mine, Judith Carrier, known as Judy to me, shared the following on facebook and graciously gave me permission to share it.  (I’m trying to convince her to start a blog:)

Part I — What should we call you?

“In part due to the popularity of “Little People, Big World” and the show “Pit Boss“, my daughter and I often get asked “What do you like to be called? Little person or dwarf?” My daughter usually responds with “Angie”. It usually doesn’t bother either of us what you call us, but my friends and family know that you better not call us “midget”.”

Judy (and daughter, Angie) both have a great sense of humor and have never let their lack of height get in the way of anything they wanted to do.  I especially love Angie’s response.  While “little people” and “dwarf” both apply, this is not something you ‘call’ people unless you are talking about them to others who you feel need to know this information for some reason.  It’s like asking me if I want to be called “Fat Lady” or “Super-Sized Lady”.  I want to be called Angie, or Mom, or Grandma, or even friend.

We all have a tendency to want to categorize others by sticking labels on them.  This is a huge communication buster because people are not categories.  People are people.  When we put someone in a category, we do not see them as individuals: we see them as part of a group.  We put them in a category and often filter our view of them via this category.

I have found that even in categories, people only have one thing in common – whatever put them in that category.  That being said, let’s move on.

Symbol of Christianity, white version.

Image via Wikipedia

Part II:  Reactionary Names
“Which leads me to this. Some people say I’m a Christian. I say I’m a Christian, too. Some people might call me “Bible thumper”, “thinks she’s perfect…”, “judger”, “bigot”, “preacher”. And that is fine, though it is judgmental. I try to live and grow like a Christian should, but I also strive to not be those other things. My faith is not based on what I can do or say, but on what God can do or say through me. “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” This is what makes me a Christian. The other names are reactionary because of what I do or say when I don’t get it right. But God forgave me and forgives me when I “don’t get it right”. I hope you can, too.”

We live in a world where reactionary names are common:  “teabaggers”, “lefty loons”, “Bible thumper”, “nerd”, and so on.  I love this statement for it’s Christian application.  I also love it for the words:  “other names are reactionary.”  She states that these reactionary names come from our view of “what I do or say when I don’t get it right.”

In other words, we look at people at their worst and label them according to those moments.  How awful to be labeled and judged by our moments when we “don’t get it right.”  This, like the naming above, is also a communication buster.  Once we have labeled someone by their worst moments, we turn them off.  We dump them in a category and move on.

In reality, people have good and bad moments.  We are made up of many things, and dumping people into a category according to one aspect or one moment (or even many moments) shuts down communication and builds hostility.

Mean Grandma

Mean Grandma comes to call

Tonight my Grandkids came down to see me at my sister’s house where I’m chasing paper for my dad.  I had been up for a long time.  The two middle ones burst in fighting (as usual) and none of them wanted to listen.  Mean Grandma yelled at them.

Super Grandma invests in the love bank

Thank God I have enough Nice Grandma moments in their love bank that they do not judge me by those moments when I am not at my best.

Reactionary names do not promote peace, love or acceptance.  They also do not bring change.  I know when mean Grandma shows up, there is usually an underlying reason.  My grandchildren are smart enough to see beyond it.

Are you?