A comment on another article got me stirred up this morning.
I raised my kids before the advent of the playdate, (or maybe I was just finishing up at the birth of the playdate). I never had to deal with the social undertones that go on there.
But, I recall visit teaching a woman whom I considered an excellent individual who had, as far as I could tell, wonderful children. There was certainly nothing I could see about her, or her family that would make them social pariahs. I remeber sitting on her living room floor for the first year of visit teaching her (starter home, no furniture), but her home was clean and I did not see this as a problem, it was cozy though humble and invited friendship. Her oldest child was six when I visit taught her and this women was lamenting to us one particular visit, about some of the politics in the ward over asking for play dates. She said that some mothers were very cliquey and it was hard to explain to her son why he couldn’t go play with his friend from Sunday School, or why his friend from Sunday School had repeatedly declined his invitation to play, only to see him shortly thereafter with other friends.
This mother felt that the other mother was jockeying for ‘better’ friends for her child. (My naivete amazes me sometimes, but I was shocked!) How could an active woman in the church who gave such great lessons in Relief Society on Sunday, turn around on a Tuesday and snub a child of God? And an innocent 6-year-old at that?
Now I have a 5-year-old granddaughter, who is pointedly not being raised in the church, while at the same time, living in Utah. Would you let your child go play at the home of a smoker? Would you let the innocent child of your smoking (puff puff, not hubba hubba) neighbor, play at your house? Does the innocent child inherit the sins of his/her parents and is therefore consciously or unconsciously shunned from good LDS society? I already know the answers to these questions. We all want to protect our children.
I think though that crossing over the border into Grandmaville, has made me start seeing all children as my own.
I would ask responses though to how you would deal with several things:
- Are you inclusive in your play dates of those in your ward/neighborhood that may need a help up?
- Do you look to the non-member families around you and wonder what good influence you may be in the lives of those children?
What does the gospel of Jesus Christ demand of us, if anything, in this type of situation? Are we required only ‘not to throw stones’ or is more required?