When told, "Hey, Cherie, there's this book that I really think you should read," I'm a happy recipient and set out to learn something new and/or reaffirm why I have chosen a particular stance on a given subject. Herein lies a few thoughts that have ensued since picking up this book, and a big thanks to my friend Courtney for not only bringing this to my attention, but for giving me my very own copy. (I love the computer, but being able to highlight on paper makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!)
Chapter 1: Witnessing the Assault at the International Level
I think the first thing that stood out to me about this chapter is that I was reading about a typical stay-at-home mom. While the idea of soccer practice for multiple children and public schools are not on my to-do list (and hopefully will never be, not because it's bad, but because the mere thought of running around doing those things gives me ulcers), I could actually relate to this woman. While I don't know her, I'm going to take a little liberty and refer to Mrs. Sharon Slater as "Sharon" from here on out, because I think we'd be good friends if we should happen to meet. So, from Sharon's experiences, I was able to relearn a fact that I know and is near and dear to my very existence.... one person can make a difference.
Now, I don't say this to be cliche. For example, while you may not agree with me, and may never read anything from me again because I say/type funny things, I have an odd fascination with Hitler. It's been fascinating to me, even from a very young age, that this one man was able to be so influential as to be able to enact such amazing atrocities. How could good, loving, kind people be able to be turned against one another because of one person?? It's truly remarkable. Don't get me wrong, I think he did horrible things and I in no way have a love for this man, but I do believe that we need to wake up and realize that one person can change the tides of any situation and do so for good or for bad... don't be lulled into thinking that one little law, or policy can't affect you!
Okay, to leave you with good feelings, people like William Tyndale (who translated the bible into English while in exile and was eventually killed for doing so, but left the world saying, "Lord, open the king of England's eyes."), and Joseph Smith (the man who restored the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was persecuted and eventually killed for his beliefs), and even strange little John Adams (a fierce proponent of the Declaration of Independence and freedom despite the repercussions it may attract from England... and no, he wasn't killed for his stance, but he did die on 4 July, the same day as Thomas Jefferson, and something like 50 years from the signing of the Declaration, if I remember correctly), all did amazingly strong things that have undoubtedly left an impact of great proportions.
Anyway! I began to recall the huge difference that one person can make, and I really want to impress upon you... as you sit there feeling tiny, probably overwhelmed, and contemplating the 20 loads of laundry that need to yet be done, that you, YOU, can make a HUGE difference. But you have to do something... you have to take a step!
My friend Sharon, (yep, that's what I'll call her, it sounds nice, right?), took a step to go attend a UN meeting in Geneva, knew very little about what was going on except that the family was under attack, and she went. Without mincing words, her statement on page one of this book caught my attention:
"I had my first glimpse of the calculated, organized, worldwide assault on the family and witnessed for myself the destructive forces that are affecting our nation and the world as a whole."
I'm sorry, but no one can make a statement like this and not have me perk my ears. I don't care who you are or what you're talking about, a statement worded like this increases my curiosity so greatly that I will research for hours just trying to figure out how you could say something so bold!
I could literally see Sharon observing UN delegations as she watched groups go into small rooms to discuss a document that needed to be agreed upon by all members, and her confusion as not enough copies of the document in question were provide for the delegates let alone a place for them to sit. Additionally, I could see "radical feminists" (defined as those who "espouse a militant, anti-patriarchal ideology that men oppress women and who work to legalize abortion, and to promote lesbian, transgender and homosexual rights, among other things),* and nongovernmental organizations (NGO's), taking up spots at the table, despite their status to just observe delegations, and forcefully voicing their opinions. Strangely, I could also see the workings of those running these meetings intentionally creating these groups so that poorer/undeveloped nations did not have enough delegates to have a presence in each room.
I saw this all the more when Sharon describes a delegate, later identified as being from the Vatican, who made a request that respect for religious diversity be added to the document and was countered with attacks, laughs and the admonishment that it wasn't "necessary or appropriate" to include respect for religion in the document. While this delegate could not find how to support her suggestion by using UN language, Sharon knew where the information was and was able to slip it to the Vatican delegate who was then able to stand for her position! Sharon's response? It's one we all can learn from... simply she "just happened to be in the right place at the right time, with the right tool..."
Now, here is where I have to stop and think. Here is where I took up the cause of making my name known to my representatives, and have dared to step beyond what I'm comfortable and familiar with. This statement made me ask myself.... "have I prepared myself with the tools to help?" "do I actively seek opportunities that will help promote what I proclaim to be of importance?"
I think the most surprising thing that I read in this chapter was about the peer pressure that happens at these delegations. This same Vatican delegate was in another room being pressed to stop opposing an amendment to the document that would remove all the law against homosexuality throughout the world. She held out for a long time because she could feel the support of Sharon and her friend, but eventually she gave in because this document would have to go through a whole other revision in NY later and there would be more delegates able to lend support.
Sadly, and maybe most important for all of us wives and mothers to think about, Sharon wonders, "If more people had been there to give her moral support, she may not have caved in."
*Be patient. If you are wondering what's so wrong with a certain portion or all of this definition, we'll get there. Promise!