I walked into my knitting group on Friday at the library and found it taken over by children. Until this last Friday the group leader and myself have been the youngest members of the group but on Friday we were visited by a woman and 4 of her 6 children. At first glance I could tell that the woman was a fundamentalist Christian and that her children were home-schooled, ask me how I know that? Without a lengthy and person anecdote lets just say that I have some experience in this arena.
At first I wanted to leave - I have no time for religious zealots that thumb their nose at public schools, force their children to dress strangely and teach their children to be probably some of the most judgemental on the planet by hammering it home to them to base everyone they meet on outward appearance only. Again, without having to insert a lengthy and personal anecdote on how to filter through the righteous and the non-righteous based on whether or not they have on nail polish or have earrings, this is something I know a lot about. I always like to preface conversations with "I tend to be the most judgemental person I know" but I'll save that story for another post. I felt irritated that my knitting group had been overrun by these people, didn't they have other fundamentalist groups they could knit with? But as I had not been to my knitting group in over a month and I missed this fun I decided to stay and sat down to knit with my friends Holly and Nancy. And that is how I came to also sit by a young man of about 10 and I turned and said hello.
What a treat to discover that this boy was very pleasant and outgoing. Not the tongue tied awkwardness that usually accompanies home-schooled fundamentalist kids that are not supposed to brush shoulders with sinners or that quite honestly don't have the social skills needed to make friends outside of their guarded religious boundaries. We started to chatting and by the end of the two hours of knitting he had really started to pick up casting on and knitting. His mother sat on the other side of the table and not once did she give me the "eye" or shoo her kids away from the lady with the arm tattoo, nose ring and black nail polish. And when the knitting class was over he thanked me warmly and left. And I believed him.
And about 2 minutes later I felt a tap on my arm and he was back and he said, "did you say your name was Miss Joy? I'll see you in 2 weeks Miss Joy so you can help me some more" and I smiled and said that sounded good. And I realized that I really need to do something about being so judgemental.