Tuesday, March 17, 2015

If it quacks like a duck

I have caught myself in a pattern that I do not want to follow. I have been discounting people and their opinions when they act in a manner -- or believe in a concept or principal -- that is opposed to my own behavior or view.

I used to call it the Disposable People syndrome, but now that I find myself in the middle of it I don't like that name so much.

I first noticed it when I was the one being disposed of. When I first started the process of coming out, I found that once I was known as gay suddenly my opinion didn't matter in the LDS church.  Or, to be specific, that is how it felt to me in the ward that I was in. When I answered a question asked of the Sunday school class I could almost hear the smirks.

I was disgusted by how quickly I was dismissed.

Looking back at the matter, I am sure I was reading much more into their responses than was real.  I admit that. I was a little bit sensitive. Nevertheless.

It still is a dangerous practice – to discard people who appear to have no use to us.  I see myself doing it. My dad used to say, If it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck it is probably a duck. I find myself using the duck principal more often than not to justify judging improperly in a way I never thought I would.

Case in point:  My daughter married a guy that I deemed several years ago to be less than desirable. Yes, time proved me right, which means that I should go with my gut more often. However, It was never my place to be unkind, to speak ill of him or to spray the house down with Lysol after the dude left. My job wasn't to prove my point. He wasn't the one for my daughter. And yet, it was never my place to put him in his place.

The stanch me said that I needed to act in a way that was consistent with my beliefs This guy needed to know that I did not condone his behavior or his choices.

Tad is bring his boyfriend home for Christmas?  He needs to know that I, in no way, support homosexuality.

Have you heard that one before? How about this one.

She is marrying so far beneath her that she has to sit down.  I am not being a good or responsible parent unless I make it clear to her and to him both what I think is right.

Believe me, If you have lived the way you should be living they already know of your standards.  If you have to articulate them when they walk into your living room for a visit then it isn't going to matter unless your aim is to drive a wedge into the your relationship with them.

It may walk and quack like a duck. It may be exactly the duck you thought it was. But my job is not to judge that.  My job is to treat him or her with respect. 

So where does that leave me as a writer who comments on gay rights and religion and everywhere with a common border?

Being a little more careful how I write and how I act for one thing. 


  1. So wonderful. Words to live by!!

  2. Good stuff. The next step after respect is to love to the point of helping the people we used to judge.

  3. Good stuff. The next step after respect is to love to the point of helping the people we used to judge.