Thursday, May 24, 2007

Culture Differences and Keeping Secrets, I Made a Mistake

Ever make a mistake without any idea you were even making one ? Well, I did recently and its made me feel sick just thinking about it. Evidently its the custom of some plain people to keep many aspects of pregnancy secret, maybe because of some fear, maybe its superstation, to be honest I don't know what the reason is in this case. The name of an expected baby is a secret I have now learned. I feel so bad and have apologized to Steven and now ask that you just forget what you read regarding the name of the baby.
I was not told that the name chosen for Stevens baby was a secret so shared it all with my blog readers and my family. If I had known it was a secret or even guessed that it COULD or SHOULD be a secret I would have never shared the information.
So, forget that you know the babies name : )
I am such an open book person, what you see is what you get and what I think can be shared. Secrets seem so archaic to me in regards to child bearing especially.
Secrets in general often just become gossip where openness gives folks the opportunity to share joy, sorrow, pain or happiness without whispers or sentences that begin with. "did you hear about".
Privacy is something I understand, if its stated and obvious. This instance just hit me blindsided. So, if you don't hear much about one of my children and what's happening in his life, don't think its because he is not equal in my eyes. Its just because he lives in a culture not like my own and I never want to tread on anyone's toes. My personality is certainly not one to be silent : ) So I will have to make a real effort here.
The "plain" world is not my world and there are so many aspects of it that I do not understand.
Rather than offend in my ignorance of understanding their culture, I will just keep silent. I often get email asking about my son and his lifestyle but since I don't know all the rules and customs (they vary greatly from community to community) its best if I just keep their life private and show respect their way of life .

7 Comments:

Blogger Gigi said...

I live near Lancaster, PA and visit the area approximately once a year. I am able to purchase items that are difficult to get elsewhere. I do not go there as a tourist. Through shopping in their stores, I have opportunities to learn more about their culture. Upon occasion, I have had some interesting discussions with Mennonite women/girls. My most special relationship was with a women who was raised Amish, but became Mennonite. Because circumstances had me going there buy her husband's specialty item on more than one occasion, we naturally had many discussions concerning her church and mine; there are many doctrinal similarities. Of course, there are many differences as well. We both enjoyed these discussions and looked forward to them. I had a special treat to learn an insider's view of Amish/Mennonite life. The most amusing question I asked a Mennonite young woman was if instruments were played in her church. I was rather surprised by her answer: accordion and harmonica only. I respected her openness, and told her how much I liked these instruments, which was the truth. I have learned a good bit about their lifestyle. Their churches are more diverse than a casual observer would make. I was unaware of secretiveness. Most of my questions are pretty non-invasive, especially since they revolve around sewing and fabric or my purchases in general.

It is probably a good reason for not mentioning the baby's name. I stopped telling after my first, because where there are two people, there are three opinions. It can harbor ill feelings.

Thursday, May 24, 2007  
Blogger nancyr said...

If the baby's name is supposed to be a secret, why were you told? Maybe Steven told you, and HE didn't realize he was not supposed to tell.
He is probably the one in trouble!
Not being born into the Mennonite faith, he probably has a lot to learn, and it will take a lifetime of innocent mistakes.
He probably feels a lot worse than you.
Life is full of trials and errors. This too, shall pass.
Grancy

Friday, May 25, 2007  
Blogger Patty said...

Hi Gigi,
We attended the mennonite church for several years, so I understand their ways, but not the cultural superstitions. One family I know that was raised Amish, kills every black animal born on their farm. They killed a whole litter of puppies that were born black.

Friday, May 25, 2007  
Blogger Patty said...

Hi Grancy,
I smile every time I write out Grancy, its so cute. Anyway, Steven and Priscilla were in our living room and told us all together the name they chose. No one said it was a secret. So that is the biggest mystery to us. If they had said something I would have kept my mouth shut. Some of the church members read the blog and they commented on the name to Steven and Priscilla so thats how it has come to light that somehow I was supposed to KNOW it was a secret. Gossip in that circle travels faster than wildfire : )

Friday, May 25, 2007  
Blogger Gigi said...

I was raised with a mother and grandmother that were very superstitious. My grandmother was German, the same country the Anabaptists came from. I felt it was very crippling and refused to even mentioned these things to my own children when they were growing up. While at first I though the information was surprising, on greater reflection, I can understand how this could be prevalent in this community. I can understand you getting upset. I would have as well. Thank you for your post.

Friday, May 25, 2007  
Blogger nancyr said...

Patty,
I wouldn't worry about divulging a "secret" that you weren't told was "a secret". Since you were not told to keep the name confidential, you didn't do anything "wrong" by sharing your pleasure at the name that was selected.
Perhaps it is an old superstition, but if that is the case, the people who believe in the superstition should be the ones to keep the "secret".
Perhaps Steven and Priscilla are upset with themselves for telling what Priscilla's family may consider information that should not be told, until after the baby is born.
They can always change the name, and keep it a secret! A subsequent baby can be Elizabeth Ann.

Friday, May 25, 2007  
Blogger Patty said...

Thanks Grancy, you are right, they can always change the name and I shouldn't feel bad since they didn't tell me it was a secret

Friday, May 25, 2007  

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