Before ordering, I made a simple judgment. I asked for a de-caf non-fat, no-whip mocha and felt really good about it because I had successfully reduced my fat intake to next to nothing. I judged that it would taste as good without the fat, although that’s not quite true, but it was close enough to warrant cutting out those extra calories. Besides, it didn’t really affect the taste of coffee and chocolate. I admit I was pleased with myself because I had made what I considered to be a good judgment.
Then I sat down. Not four feet away, on an adjoining table, stood a venti mocha with a pile of whipped cream that made my mouth water over its caloric obscenity. It was like a Siren’s song, luring coffee drinkers to imbibe things that quickly turn into large curd cottage cheese before making a home on the thighs. But I suppose that’s beside the point.
My point is, without realizing it, the minute I clapped eyes on all of that decadence I morphed from a person of sane judgment to a judgmental holier-than-thou. Hence the difference between making a judgment and being judgmental — with a capital “J.”
“I’m doing better than he is,” I told myself, as I sipped my mocha and longingly watched him take a huge draw on his straw.
The truth is, it’s none of my business if he drinks three of those things before breakfast, and I’m not in a position to judge him if he does. All I can do is make my own choices, for my own reasons, which amounts to making a judgment. I become judgmental when I look down my nose at someone else for what they are doing.
My stepson is becoming very disobedient to his mother and me, especially me, and I don’t know what to do. His father left them when he was still in diapers, so he never knew him, but he tells me I’m not really his dad and that I can’t tell him what to do. I married his mother about a year ago. He’s 14 now and we think he needs a firm hand before he gets into serious trouble. Can you give us any advice?
This is a common problem. You married his mother after he became a teenager and it is obvious he sees you as an interloper. It takes time to adjust to being a step-anything, be it parent or child, and the issue is complicated by the fact that he is at an age when he is just becoming a man, himself. Unless she had other relationships in the interim, I assume he had most of his mother’s attention until you came along. Read the rest of this entry »
Surely it hasn’t been almost 40 years since I returned from Vietnam. Surely the intervening years didn’t disappear like smoke from a summer campfire. Surely the very real events of my youth haven’t already been relegated to the unreality of history. Surely not, yet I have in my hands a piece of paper that suggests otherwise. This week I received an invitation to another Red Cross Donut Dolly reunion.
The term “re-union” is particularly appropriate in this case because, as Red Cross recreation workers in a war zone, we were very much united in spirit and in purpose. We were a team. We were there for each other. We cared and we were welded together by a once-in-a-lifetime experience that could never be forgotten. Read the rest of this entry »