“For if I home schooled my children, they would never have seen these others in need. They would not see the loneliness of the child who sits alone in the cafeteria or the sadness of a classmate who has endured a verbal attack; and therefore they would never have had the opportunity to reach out with a loving hand.”
This was a quote on a blog about why she made the right decision not to homeschool her children. Although I could go on about how her comments (and the entire blog post) are based on stereotypes, I’d rather touch on something else – her amazing crystal ball.
One of the kinds of criticism we can receive comes in the form of “I couldn’t do what you’re doing because then I would have missed out on all the stuff that I got to do.” In other words, the criticism comes from a place of being sure that they know exactly what would have happened had they made a different choice, and indirectly, that you, as the person who DID make that choice, didn’t get to experience what they did.
What I want to know is this: How do I find one of those crystal balls that they are using that lets them see into a reality that never existed?
Snark aside, this kind of “I’d hate to think what my life would have been like,” argument is a defense mechanism. Ultimately, it has nothing to do with me. And it has everything to do with how the other person is actually not very secure in their choices, and not very sure that they made the right one.
I’ve done it before. Here’s an example of what I’ve caught myself saying: “I’m glad that we didn’t send our son to school, because my son would have had a horrible time sitting still, not talking in class, and many of the other things that they expect little kids to do. He would probably also be diagnosed with a ADD or ADHD.”
How in the world do I know that? We didn’t live it. Who knows, maybe his experience would have been fantastic. Perhaps he would have caught on to the school “rules” quickly and seamlessly. He catches on to rules everywhere else pretty well. And maybe he’d be super happy. I have no idea. So what am I doing when I declare the truth about a reality that does not exist? It’s a self-defense mechanism to defend my choice to homeschool.
The crystal ball argument – it’s a cop out. Don’t let these arguments get to you. And think about the times you’ve used them. The crystal ball argument is a fear-based argument. It helps keep us stuck. What are we really saying when we bring out our amazing crystal ball?