WHY on earth would a 5 YEAR OLD BOY FREAK OUT, then ask to be REMOVED from his own classroom when a guest enters the room to read at STORY TIME?
I can’t for the life of me understand the mindset of these parents who feel like it is okay for them to talk so bad about someone else that their own child is AFRAID to be in the same room with them! A kindergarten class no less! Where he was invited to read to the children by the teacher!!!! Blows my mind.
Why do they talk bad about him you ask? Hmmmmmm let’s see. . . . . . . . BECAUSE HE NO LONGER BELIEVES WHAT THEY BELIEVE!!! I wish I were kidding.
I don’t receive these type of texts much. Not because these types of things don’t happen on a daily basis but because he is so used to it, that most of the time he just brushes it off. Like when people blatantly ignore him when he says hello, or when he makes eye contact with a current JW and they quickly turn away. A JW that was a good friend even.
These moments break my heart. But used to it? How do you get used to it?
For the first time since we have been seeing each other I felt like he was bothered by this particular situation more than he let on. I asked a couple times and he of course said he was fine. Then a couple days later he finally admitted that it hurt to know that he is “made out to be this HUGE monster.” To young children even. Children in his daughter’s class.
How does this type of behavior make the other children feel?
How could his daughter not be hurt by this too?
How does he find the strength to continue to go to these school functions, head held high, and not just crawl into a damn hole?
I thought we were supposed to TEACH OUR CHILDREN to LOVE EVERYONE, FORGIVE and most importantly NOT TO HATE OTHERS JUST BECAUSE THEY THINK DIFFERENTLY?!?!
Sadly this mindset is a product of years of fear mongering, intimidation and indoctrination. Jehovah’s Witness leadership wants to keep a tight grip on their followers. Individual witnesses live their lives in an Orwellian bubble…..protected by leadership from discovering anything that might damage their faith. Foremost in this protection program is avoiding former members. Leadership manipulates scripture to fit a long entrenched disfellowshipping (excommunication) and shunning policy. They claim such a policy exists “to protect the spiritual interests of the rest of the flock”, but the reality is that the policy was instituted so their organization would continue to grow. By ousting any that question the authority of leadership, slapping a “disfellowshipped” tag on them and then convincing the rest of the flock that these ones must not be looked at let alone spoken to, they effectively squelch any chance of anybody else finding out information that might make them want to leave as well. It is taught that as a former member that was disfellowshipped for “apostasy” (failing to follow all doctrine and failure to believe that leadership is directed by God), I am a loathsome, wretched creature. I am “poisonous”, “mentally diseased”, and “dangerous”. If grown adults are legitimately taught to believe this about me, imagine the mind of a 5 year old.
It is also true that as a person, you grow to accept that you are going to be treated as though you don’t exist by your family and former friends (I have aunts, uncles and cousins now that shun me). It stings quite a bit at first…..filling you with anger, hurt and frustration. But eventually you learn to cope. Learning to cope with it doesn’t mean that the pain goes away, however. A diabetic learns to cope with the disease, but it doesn’t make the disease go away. This is similar. The hurt you feel from being treated like you don’t exist never goes away. You just learn to cope with it. The quote below eloquently puts into words what so many ex JWs go through on a daily basis.
“A man’s social self is the recognition which he gets from his mates. We are not only gregarious animals, liking to be in sight of our fellows, but we have an innate propensity to get ourselves noticed, and noticed favorably, by our kind. No more fiendish punishment could be devised, were such a thing physically possible, than that one should be turned loose in society and remain absolutely unnoticed by all the members thereof. If no one turned around when we entered, answered when we spoke, or minded what we did, but if every person we met “cut us dead”, and acted as if we were non-existing things, a kind of rate and impotent despair would ere long well up in us, from which the cruelest bodily tortures would be a relief; for these would make us feel that, however bad might be our plight, we had not sunk to such a depth as to be unworthy of attention at all.” – The Principles of Psychology – Volume 1, page 294.
Leah is right though. This particular situation did bother me greatly. Not because I was being shunned. I’ve learned to cope with that. But because I am a pretty darn good dad. In fact, humility aside, I am a pretty darn good person. I want to help people. I want to be nice to people. Simply put…….I love everyone. And the vast majority of people that know me, also know that. They know what is in my heart. They know how much I care about people. Especially kids. What bothered me so much was seeing the terror and panic in this kid’s eyes as he explained to the teacher that he needed to leave. It really was as though I was a monster that he had to get away from. I can’t even begin to explain the heartache I feel when I know that a child (in this case ANY JW child) truly believes that I am the earthly equivalent of a demon. THAT is something I don’t know if I will ever emotionally be able to cope with.
Thankfully they are only in kindergarten at this point. The other kids didn’t really notice that he wasn’t there for story time nor did they notice (they were a little caught up in the commotion of the other games :)) that he didn’t come to my station. My daughter didn’t really notice either nor did I make a point to bring it up. But eventually, as these situations keep happening, and the kids become more observant, they WILL take notice. I imagine that my daughter may develop a resentment of this boy so long as she maintains a relationship with me (JW children are urged to stop associating with even their own mother or father if they are disfellowshipped as they get older). Too, most of his classmates won’t be able to relate or understand the concept of treating somebody like they are dead, so I also imagine he will have a tough time explaining himself to them someday. And I feel bad for him. He will continue to shun me because that is all he has been taught, and the more his classmates see this inhumane behavior over the years, the more he will likely alienate himself from them. Sadly this is exactly what JW leadership wants. Because then they can say “look….your classmates are being critical of you! Jesus said that those that follow him would be persecuted! This proves that not only are we the one and only true religion, it also proves that we are close to armageddon. The only safe place for you is inside the congregation. Stay close because the time is near.” This self inflicted illusion of persecution and corresponding safe haven provided by the religion helps to perpetuate a new generation of individuals who are afraid and unable to critically analyze and think for themselves. The individual prevents himself from seeing that the organization he turns to for comfort and safety is the very organization that creates the situations he needs comfort and safety from to begin with……. by means of their unloving and rigid doctrine.
I find the strength to continue because I don’t allow the judgment of other people to affect me. It does not, even for a moment, shake my belief that I am a good person and that MOST people in this world are good people too. It also helps that I realize that the ones that are shunning me are only doing so because they are indoctrinated and intimidated by the rules, regulations and interpretations of leadership. I truly believe that most individual JWs are good people that are simply unable to reason, think and act for themselves. Finally, with each situation that presents itself, I know that testimony is being built in the mind of my daughter. Each time she witnesses me being treated harshly is one more time for her to reflect on whether or not the rules and regulations of Jehovah’s Witnesses are truly based on love.
Keep in mind that JWs don’t hate everybody that doesn’t believe the same. They only treat those that once followed their teachings but “have turned their backs” that way. Leadership justifies this through manipulation of scripture and improper, self-serving translation (by a secretive committee of theirs) of the original Greek. We’ll tackle how they’ve managed to accomplish this in another blog.