Monday, March 1, 2010

Trading Spouses

No, I'm not thinking about trading mine (at least not seriously); I'm thinking about the episode of "Trading Spouses" I just watched on Television. In this show, mothers from different (and I mean TOTALLY different) families trade spaces with one another. There are so many things we can learn from watching these experiences, but here a a few I've discovered today.

1. Why do we always think our way is the best way? It never fails that each mom goes in feeling like their way is the only way and looking down on the other family for its differences. Some never learn a thing and go back to their old way of life when the time is up. Other's make a wondrous discovery; they discover that different can be good sometimes. All of us have good and bad things about our lives, and we can all learn from others. When we pigion-hole others, and set ourselves up as the "experts" of what is "normal", we lose out. Those that try the good things from the other family and learn their lessons are the ones who are blessed.

One mom today was a control-neat-freak. The other family had lots of fun and this mom saw them playing with army men and made the statement that these kids are the ones who shoot people in high schools. Sadly, while that family has issues too, I imagine the lady's kids who are not allowed to have any fun or do anything for fear of making mom mad, are the ones who will be shooting.

2. Why are we so resistant to change? The above paragraphs cover this pretty well, but it amazes me as I watch these people try to fit the other's family into their mold. What happens? The family resists, sometimes refusing to try anything new at all. I always wonder why they signed up for the show in the first place. Didn't they know they would have to live by the other mother's rules for a short time? Hello!

Often, those that give it a go and try to live by the other mom's rules learn a great deal about themselves. It's good to experience more than just what we find inside the walls of our own home with our own family. It teaches us not to judge others based on our pre-conceived notions and opens up a new world. Sometimes it's not good, but even those times teach us something.

3. It's not about your house; it's about your home. The houses of those in these shows vary widely. Some are so clean and controled that the children and husband walk around on eggshells for fear of messing something off and setting off the control freak. In that home, it's all about the responsibility and none about the fun. That is not good for a family and does not make a home.

On the other hand are the ones with filth every where. It's all about the fun with none of the responsibility. In that house, the kids and spouse never learn that life comes with responsibilities and they are often disrespectful of rules of any kind. This too is not good for a family and does not make a home.

A home should be filled with love, fun AND responsibility.

Maybe we can't go live someone else's life for a week, but we can all open ourselves up to the possibilities of walking a mile in someone else's shoes. God created diversity because He loves it, and He wants us to learn from everyone we meet. While He wants us to follow His laws, for our safety and our good, he doesn't want us to live in a bunch of made up laws for our home. The chance to walk in someone else's shoes is always a life-changing event.

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