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A Private Affair
Mom with a View

A Private Affair

The boundaries between public and private, family and community, have all become blurred, to our detriment.


It's the influence of Oprah. And Sally Jesse Raphael. And Jerry Springer. No matter what event happens in our lives, public or private or with elements of each, we are expected to talk about it and write about it and describe our most intimate experiences in graphic detail.

It's hard to buck the trend. If you try to maintain any sense of privacy, you are accused of being cold and unfriendly. And it goes beyond that. Sometimes the emotions you feel aren't what your listeners or viewers or readers want. If it's an engagement, you are only allowed to feel joy. If it's a funeral, God forbid, only sorrow.

But life's most profound experiences are also its most complex. And, dare I say it, its most private.

We have become a nation of exhibitionists and voyeurs. The boundaries between public and private, family and community and external society have all become blurred. To our detriment. Emotion has become cheap and easy and tawdry; people's pain and sorrow daytime TV, entertainment.

In Ethics of our Fathers, we are taught to build a fence around the Torah. There are many explanations for this advice but there is one that is particularly applicable here.

If something is very precious to us, we want to keep it guarded, under lock and key. We keep our jewels and money in safes, our mansions behind electric gates. A fence says that entrance is restricted, that what's inside is too valuable to cavalierly share with the world.

From behind the closed gates we nurture ourselves and each other and then go out to give to and interact with the world. Behind the fence we recover our center.

In a world where all is bared (both literally and figuratively), the center gets lost.

Recently one of my daughters got engaged and then married (the logical progression!). Many friends and family shared our joy with us. We couldn't be more grateful for their caring and support and unconditional participation in our joy.

But if I'm asked to describe the experiences -- the complexity of emotions and thoughts of parents and children, of grandparents and siblings, I can't. They're behind the fence, locked away. They're our private struggles and our private triumphs. They stay behind the fence where they can continue to uphold our dignity and give strength to us, and, please God, to future generations.

February 25, 2006

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The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 7

(7) Anonymous, January 3, 2012 10:46 PM

Re: Reality TV. I can't stand it and don't watch it unless I stand to learn something. I've seen shows where people declutter their homes, and those shows have inspired me to think before opening my wallet to buy yet another nick nack. All of this openess really boils down to economics. If people stopped watching others airing their dirty laundry, then the entire genre would simply vanish from our TV screens.

(6) Jack Lynes, March 6, 2006 12:00 AM

"A Private Affair"

"we keep our money and our jewels in safe places" Yes indeed, but it is as well to remember that they are not kept securely as in a prison, but so as to be available for use and/or display-pleasure at the right time.In other words, one should surely be wise to the fact that unlike museum pieces kept under glass, they are available and should be used whenever possible for their purpose.

(5) Ruth Lanham, March 6, 2006 12:00 AM

This is a wonderful article.
Physician visits have turned
into interrigation rooms.
Prying into the private lives of people by asking personal question's from screenings required by Government funded orgaizations.
These organizations also have immunity from any responsibility of wrong doing.
These organizations have also been found guilty of tampering with files, making falsified statments, or changing statements to tilt the scales in their directional favor.
The more information is known about a person, the more that can be used against them and the witch hunt occures.
American adults and children are being brainwashed not only by the media but in our public school systems of socialism inforced, unawares.
We are being told that we have a constitution, but our rights to it are being denied or smoked over.
We are also being pupet'ed by the principalities of the Air.
Like an EMP wave of human self detruction of the spirit.
Apparently there are those people who have the need for this type of relationship with the outside world because they are of the world and have need of the attention they get from exposing themselves.
If they were of Yahwey, they would be taking thier problems to Yahwey.
Repent, be washed by emmersion and walk in His light. But not all believe in God, so they run to the world for answers.
I believe that these shows are taking advantage of the tragity of others, just for rateings. Lets face it, they would not have a show with out these people allowing them to.
So we have an element that has been produced by principalities in high places.
Ever notice that you are accused of hiding something, if you do not answer their interrigated questions.? or question them?
You automaticly become a suspect of something. Because you refuse to partisapate or allow them to harass you. Seems to me that they use intimidation, fear and the questional legal system to accomplish their ends.
What kind of Government or society does that?

(4) Lesley Hubbard, February 27, 2006 12:00 AM

A Private Affair - What goes on at home, stays at home!

Wow! Am I glad to see that others feel this way also. I was begining to think that no one else believed that what is personal and private should stay that way. All of this 'tell all, no matter how private, personal, or intimate' is just a bid for attention. People without any sense at all can 'feel important' and get great self esteem by spilling everthing and anything about themselves
to everyone and anyone, as long as it makes them the center of attention for as long as possible. Equally at fault are those who encourage this obvious lack of manners and good upbringing of their guests on their televised 'true confessions' shows. Just as low class and showing lack of intelligence are those who droolingly watch these shows.
Guess it's due to lack of ability to read and think.

(3) Daniela, February 27, 2006 12:00 AM

Egads !

How 'bout all the YENTES who insist on knowing every detail of what you're looking for in a husband so they can take license to give every opinion they can about how picky you are or how high your expectations seem to be, as if having any list of criteria at all means you're looking for "Mr. Perfect", which you'll never find. Frankly I'm begining to wonder if everyone who does this are really just jealous because they missed their chance to be as "picky" and to refuse to settle, because if they had a chance to turn back time they might have chosen differently. Every time any of them open their mouths they in essence say, "What makes YOU think you can get a guy like that ! I didn't !" Bitter, bitter, bitter !! Hey...maybe I should start my own blog ?? lol!

Seriously, the appeal in all this for Americans is they get to watch others get told off in ways they believe they never could in "real life", until of course they really find themselves in the same situation. More importantly, if someone else has a worse life than you, maybe you could let up on yourself ands feel better about your life.

As for those that spill their guts ? For the very few that are actually real, they fully believe it's going to help them in one way or another. HOWEVER, having known a producer a while back from the Jerry Springer show, I do happen to know a lot of the guests are amateur actors who are told who they are supposed to be with a skeleton storyline. In fact, the vast majority of "guests" on most of these shows are indeed FAKE. The problem is those who watch it. Television isn't nearly as much of a problem as the vast majority of people who watch it.

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