From Dee Marvin Emeigh comes an intriguing and, so far, riveting book entitled ‘Cafeteria Covenant – the voice, the choice, and the challenge’.
I just began reading it this morning and felt impressed to ask the author if I may share an excerpt and a link to the book which is on Amazon. She graciously gave me permission to share and hopes it will be a blessing to others as well. Well, now I must return to reading it myself. I hope you will join me in enjoying a quite thought provoking book.
The following is from chapter 1 ‘Back Story’ and at the end of this excerpt is a link to the book.
When I began reading Chapter 17 “Assert Yourself” from Choosing Civility to my 9th grade English class, there was no presaging fanfare except, perhaps, the late bell. It had not occurred to me that a book outlining a code for modern civil behavior would have a chapter on self-esteem. Nevertheless, citing an example of a young woman in an abusive relationship, who is reluctant to be assertive because she thinks it may be rude and hurtful, Forni highlights an often over-looked viewpoint: that if we do not consider ourselves valuable, we will have nothing to offer society in general. “Sensitive to the feelings of others, but lacking in self-esteem,” he writes, “she cannot bring herself to utter the unequivocal words to end her relationship with her self-serving and abusive boyfriend.” I was using the book to model reading to my class and to build background knowledge for a service learning project, but I had not read it very carefully. Although my students were barely paying attention, I instantly made my own text-to-real life connection. With a brief pause to check for God’s peace, yet driven by the sound of my own heartbeat, I looked up from the book and began. “I’m going to stop here for a minute, because I want to tell you a story.” They peered at me sleepily. “When I was 21, I married a man I had only known six weeks.” That got them! I couldn’t have thought of a better attention getter if I’d worked all day on it. Although it wasn’t in the daily lesson plan, nor was it what they expected to hear, the connection brought the book to life for them. “That’s dumb,” pronounced a few of my unabashed freshmen. “What? Why?” others exclaimed, picking up their jaws from their desks. Without a doubt, they were surprised by this news from their notoriously conservative teacher. “Because,” I continued, “He was the only man I’d met who showed any interest in being a father to my 3-year old daughter.” They were not posing for the deer in the headlights looks they gave me. It was real. “But the problem,” I continued, “was that he was an alcoholic, and I didn’t know that.” In my young adulthood, I imagined myself to be somewhat assertive. I had been a single, self-supporting mother for almost three years at the height of the women’s liberation movement before I married. In this, a public school, I had to walk gently through some of the story, but I proceeded to tell my students that when we later got involved in church, I heard that God hated divorce, so I wanted to make sure I didn’t do anything else that God hated. I did not tell my students that every time I sought counsel, a finger pointed back at me for not being a “submissive” wife. I was told I was too independent and that was making him insecure, that it wasn’t right to talk about him when he wasn’t there, and that I should try to remember what our relationship was like in the beginning, which would help me focus on the good things. What relationship? I would silently question. Because God hates divorce so much, not one counselor suggested I leave, although I did try it once. I was sent back to “try again,” because he was “truly sorry.” From the time of my encounter with God through the acknowledgement of faith in Jesus Christ, all I wanted was to please God. So, if it pleased God to use me to draw this man I called my husband into a deeper relationship, I humbly submitted. I did tell…..