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Vieraskieliset / In-english

Blog: Courage to be open

Vieraskieliset / In-english
8.8.2022 6.00

Juttua muokattu:

27.6. 09:42
2022062709420320220808060000

Text: Suvi Myl­ly­mä­ki

Trans­la­ti­on: Sirk­ka-Lii­sa Lei­no­nen

Of­ten in dis­cus­si­ons, pre­sen­ta­ti­ons and speec­hes we are en­cou­ra­ged to con­fess our faith open­ly. That may seem ea­sy when we sit among be­lie­vers, but it is not so ea­sy in real eve­ry­day life. We are af­raid of how ot­her pe­op­le will re­act if we tell them about our faith.

As the mot­her of a lar­ge fa­mi­ly, I sel­dom need to con­fess my faith in so many words. My out­ward ap­pe­a­ran­ce or the num­ber of child­ren that has come up in con­ver­sa­ti­on are enough of a con­fes­si­on.

I have been in si­tu­a­ti­ons where my faith has come up in the cour­se of a dis­cus­si­on and I have seen hate and scorn on the ot­her per­son’s face. At my workp­la­ce, where I need to coo­pe­ra­te clo­se­ly with ot­her pe­op­le, I have tried to chan­ge pe­op­le views of be­lie­vers by my own ac­ti­ons. I would like to al­le­vi­a­te ne­ga­ti­ve no­ti­ons and give pe­op­le po­si­ti­ve ex­pe­rien­ces of be­lie­ving pe­op­le. I have no­ti­ced that friend­li­ness and po­li­te­ness have a po­si­ti­ve im­pact. I hope I have been ab­le to dis­pel some of pe­op­le’s pre­ju­di­ces.

I tend to be an open per­son. I of­ten men­ti­on in pas­sing small things that al­low ot­hers to re­cog­ni­ze me as a be­lie­ver. I re­mem­ber that, as a child, I wore the green Sum­mer Ser­vi­ce stic­ker on my coat for weeks af­ter the Sum­mer Ser­vi­ces. The neigh­bors’ child­ren won­de­red about it, but none of them made any ne­ga­ti­ve com­ments. It is my ex­pe­rien­ce that open­ness is ul­ti­ma­te­ly a key to good in­ter­per­so­nal re­la­ti­ons­hips.

Ne­ga­ti­ve me­dia pub­li­ci­ty ma­kes us sca­red of tal­king free­ly about our faith. When we read such ar­tic­les, we ea­si­ly for­get that there are many pe­op­le who res­pect their be­lie­ving neigh­bors, col­le­a­gu­es or ac­qu­ain­tan­ces. They re­cog­ni­ze such ne­ga­ti­ve he­ad­li­nes for what they re­al­ly are: a way to at­t­ract re­a­ders.

Yet, even in a good wor­king com­mu­ni­ty, one tends to be sen­si­ti­ve to pos­sib­le cri­ti­cal at­ti­tu­des af­ter the pub­li­ca­ti­on of a ne­ga­ti­ve he­ad­li­ne. While ex­pec­ting our eighth baby, I went to the can­teen of my workp­la­ce to buy milk. I was he­a­vi­ly preg­nant by then. At that time he­ad­li­nes were scre­a­ming about be­lie­ving mot­hers being ”baby mac­hi­nes”. I re­mem­ber I was won­de­ring if my col­le­a­gu­es would as­so­ci­a­te those he­ad­li­nes with me and pos­sib­ly feel pity for me. I would have li­ked to tell them that I found those he­ad­li­nes of­fen­si­ve and not ap­p­li­cab­le to my­self, but I did not dare to say anyt­hing.

When I went back to work af­ter my ma­ter­ni­ty le­a­ve, there was a new wor­ker at my workp­la­ce who spoke very strong­ly about ne­ver wan­ting to have child­ren. Af­ter we had wor­ked to­get­her for se­ve­ral months, she as­ked me if I had many child­ren. She said the way I tal­ked soun­ded like that. She was re­al­ly as­to­nis­hed to hear I had eight child­ren and said she was sor­ry for spe­a­king so ne­ga­ti­ve­ly about child­ren. We wor­ked well to­get­her, alt­hough our world views were dif­fe­rent. Af­ter that dis­cus­si­on it was ea­sy to be open and to work clo­se­ly with her eve­ry day.

In some ot­her si­tu­a­ti­ons, pe­op­le have as­ked me, ge­nui­ne­ly cu­ri­ous, if there will be even more ba­bies in our fa­mi­ly. They have been surp­ri­sed to hear that we will have all the ba­bies that are gi­ven to us. The mot­her of my child’s clas­s­ma­te in pri­ma­ry school even wis­hed me God’s bles­sing. That made me feel pure, deep joy. If we are open, pe­op­le be­gin to un­ders­tand us bet­ter and there will be less pre­ju­di­ce both ways. Even the Bib­le inst­ructs us to res­pect our neigh­bors. That is an im­por­tant ad­vi­ce to all of us.

I have al­so thought that we can open up about our life in the so­ci­al me­dia. We can free­ly ap­p­re­ci­a­te the things our child­ren say and do or share pic­tu­res about be­lie­vers’ li­fes­ty­le. That may well coun­ter­ba­lan­ce the ne­ga­ti­ve pub­li­ci­ty.

4.10.2022

Herra, sinä valmistat meille rauhan. Myös se on sinun tekoasi, niin kuin kaikki mitä me olemme saaneet aikaan. Jes. 26:12

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