I’m on the third day of writing and the fourth incarnation of this post. The first few versions were full of venomous words and sentences borne out of a deep anger.
I normally would have hit “publish” as soon as those were written, but as satisfying as they were to write, they served no purpose other than for me to vent. The third incarnation of this post saw me do something I have never done before: I sent a copy to people I consider friends even though I’ve never met them in person. The feedback I received was as impressive as I knew it would be.
It made me realize this is the post I needed to write. It fulfills my duty to speak up and it might serve some purpose if even one asshole (oops! I let that one slip) reconsiders their opinion and actions.
Let me tell you about a man named Jeremy, his wife Maizy and their five-year-old daughter Penny. A few years ago they made a decision. Not an easy decision to make, and not one made on a whim.
They sold their custom home, their SUV, moved into a small apartment, lived frugally to build their savings, and began planning for an extended trip to visit all 50 states and explore each state’s historical and natural landmarks.
Maizy is an accountant; she planned the budgets, the itinerary, curriculums for Penny, and for every detail they could think of. That’s the mechanics of it, but the plan was for a learning experience for both parents and daughter. Penny would be home-schooled (with an approved curriculum) and her schooling augmented by the visits to historic landmarks and locations and learning about the states they traveled through. Early this Spring, they vacated their apartment and packed their pared down belongings into a van. They had to stay in the Denver area for a month so that Maizy could finish projects for her job.
Just a few weeks ago, they left the area and headed out on their adventure.
They are not the first family to “leave the rat race”. Google “family leaves rat race” or something similar, and you find lots of examples of families doing the same thing. HERE is one example. HERE is a video of a family going on a 7-year sailing trip around the world.
Like many people, Jeremy keeps a blog. He is a very upfront and honest guy, writing about his hopes, his fears, and all the events in his life. I chanced on the blog through his street photography. Jeremy’s plan was to share their adventures, what they learn, and his photography through the blog.
I admit I was skeptical. However, after going back through his posts and reading about their planning, preparations, exploration of the logistics, and after asking a few questions I was not only glad of their decision (an odd thing that, as it has no impact on me), but looking forward to vicariously follow along in their journey.
Not just from me, but from his numerous followers there were comments of admiration, encouragement, and support. Readers who are parents, grandparents, or planning future kids all thought it was a once-in-a-life experience of incalculable value.
. . . encouragement and well wishes from all with the exception of one person.
HERE is one of Clarissa’s succinct and dismissive post. The comments following the post, Clarissa’s and those of her minions, are telling. Don’t click on the link unless you want to damage your calm. She accuses Jeremy and Maizy of being unfit parents, maintains their actions are a form of child abuse, and that Penny should be taken away from them.
Now, Clarissa is an inconsequential woman with an inconsequential blog; had it been me in Jeremy’s position I would have ignored her and moved on with my life. Then again, I have a built-in defense in the form of self-confidence and immunity to those I consider poor examples of humanity.
Jeremy should have ignored her, but he did not. His attempts to explain his situation were met with THIS post. Note Clarissa’s use of the term “freak”. It is common for bullies to dehumanize their targets. Again, reading the comments is telling on many levels.
I don’t begrudge people, or even Clarissa, forming opinions, but I do begrudge them not informing themselves.
Had they taken the time to inform themselves, I could then perhaps respect the concern they express as representing their honest opinions. I could, were it not for one small detail. They did not have to be mean-spirited, insulting, and denigrating in expressing it.
It’s also telling her minimalistic posts have the equivalent amount of effort of picking one’s nose. Genuine concern would have Clarissa gently approach the situation, learn more about it, get a sense of the parents, what they were trying to, and gain an understanding of the details; ask questions, even.
No; she was only concerned with the appearance of being a caring person.
My brief exposure to Clarissa hints at an explanation of why she doubled down on her original assessment, adding the dehumanizing touch of calling Jeremy a “freak”.
I don’t believe Clarissa can even consider being wrong about anything. Neither she or her readers can entertain the idea that they might be mistaken, guilty of group-think, and insensitive to the struggles and suffering of others. The mere suggestion of it brought nothing but snarky comments.
I don’t know Clarissa beyond a few exchanges (I visited her blog trying to get a sense of her) and it could be she is genuinely concerned. I don’t believe it because sincerity requires a measure of humanity and empathy I don’t see in her.
Things quieted down for a bit, and last week the family spent time with Penny’s grandparents. An unfortunate tractor accident occurred, and Penny got hurt. I won’t go into the details, but it was an accident and not a minor one. She lost one of her pinkies, but she is in good spirits, doing well, and under good care.
At this point, Jeremy’s blog was still public, and he wrote about the accident and aftermath.
I said I did not know this Clarissa person, but I recognize a ghoul when I see one. THIS was Clarissa’s post on the accident. Especially, read some of the comments from her supportive ghoul friends.
One interesting side note: one of her ghoulish readers asked me if my defending “this family” was because I was related or was a friend of theirs. No; I tend to speak up against all loathsome behavior.
Note that Clarissa’s links back to Jeremy’s blog won’t work unless you’re registered and approved to read Jeremy’s blog. Following her unfounded, myopic, and mean-spirited accusations of child abuse, Jeremy took his blog private.
I’m done with Clarissa and her blog, of course. Like everything else I do, I wanted to see for myself what type of person she was. Not a nice one, after all, and further exposure to her blog is a serious detriment to my quality of life.
Clarissa is a through-and-through bully, enjoying the suffering and misery of others while all the while holding herself up as a champion of sorts. A champion for what, I don’t know, but she does talk about the daughter’s education, about sanitary conditions, about depriving the daughter of a “normal” life.
Clarissa being an “academic” (I emphasize the word because she seems so fond of it), I can almost understand her belief that valuable and worthwhile education only comes within the four walls of traditional schooling. Mind you, I’m not knocking formal education. But neither am I naive enough to believe it’s the be-all-to-end-all. I know home-schooled individuals who now excel at university and are well-adjusted, outgoing, and confident individuals. I also know kids who attended traditional schooling and are not well-rounded nor well-adjusted. And then there are a whole spectrum of kids between the two extremes.
The point is that Clarissa has no basis for her “fear” that Penny is being denied an education. And, we’re talking about Kindergarten. I’m pretty confident even I, a person who chose to not procreate, could teach a child as much and more than they would learn in Kindergarten.
It’s something outside Clarissa’s comfort zone, and hence per her limited viewpoint, wrong. Or, in her words, freakish.
The mention of the sanitary condition was a strange one. I can only assume Clarissa will next rail on people who take their kids on months-long camping trips. Why, imagine the unsanitary conditions of living out in the wilderness. The horror!
The “normal” life comment was strangest of all. I would have liked for her to define “normal”. I’ve yet to see humans agree on what is normal, but it’s comforting (maybe) knowing Clarissa has a good handle on it.
What I know is that humans struggle between the opposite draws of prestige and freedom.
I borrowed that idea from HERE; it’s peripherally germane to this topic and well worth a listen. THIS episode is also worth a listen and it’s also somewhat related.
Those who chose prestige cannot understand the choice of freedom, and, therefore, find it suspect.
Clarissa most egregious comment was this one: “the parents are consuming the poor child piece by piece”. That is such a profoundly insensitive and callous statement that I won’t dignify it with a comment; it stands on its own as a chilling measure of the person.
Along with many others, I am confident Jeremy and his wife are caring and responsible parents, and my views of this affair are shaped by that confidence. They voluntarily checked with Family Services, and Family Services did what they always do when confronted with the rarity of good parenting; they gave them their blessing to their plans. I’m sure Carissa will hold Family Services in equal contempt, her knowing better, and all.
What Clarissa fails to recognize, cannot recognize, is that loving parents are much more important than material wealth and comfort, and certainly more important than the four walls of a Kindergarten class.
I read on her blog that Clarissa is herself in love, and someone is supposedly in love with her.
I have my doubts.
It’s my personal belief love requires empathy, compassion, consideration for others and respect for other people’s dignity. I’m willing to concede people can operate under different and not necessarily invalid parameters; it could be Clarissa will have a wonderful life with a caring partner despite her, in my opinion, lacking in all those departments. Come to think of it, she said romance, not love.
If the measure of a person is how they treat others, paint me unimpressed.
Clarissa also fails to realize that experiences and a life different from her own do not mean a lesser life or worthless experiences. Certainly, it does not constitute a life of abuse.
I’m not alone in thinking Jeremy’s daughter will have a better education than most kids currently get. As for socializing (Penny is already a very social child), she will have exposure to people with more diverse backgrounds and histories than most can ever hope to have.
That is not a negative outcome by any standard I can conjure up, and I envy Penny and the trip she is about to take.
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. . . my FP ward . . . chieken shit.