• Rebekah Gamble posted an update 2 years, 11 months ago

    I’m not sharing this to point a finger at my family or their religion. I am very grateful for what I gained as a witness- 20 solid years of ministerial school, and the iron will and discipline I rely on for all I do now.
    However, one of the things that agitate the crap out of me is the folks blaming not doing something on not getting support, and that’s what this is about.

    I grew up fighting for my education. I am currently working on a PhD, have a masters, two bachelor’s, six two year certifications, and more than 30 shorter programs attached to paperwork under my belt. It took me seven years to complete my first bachelor’s because my mother refused to do state-required paperwork for me to continue school several times, leading to my expulsion a number of times before I was 24- the legal age in PA to make your own education decisions. I also experienced homelessness twice and severe health issues due to the fact that the government wasn’t willing to support me unless I was a minority group or I dropped out of school (though I could re-enter school once I was on government aid in theory). At one point, I went to college homeless, hemorrhaging in my brain, eating once every couple of days, after the doctors told me I couldn’t get an organ and to just give up.

    When I was growing up, we were not permitted to go to higher education and my intention to go to college (which I made known at 5 years old) led to a lot of problems because I couldn’t be a female witness and go to college. When I was a teenager, the organization changed their tune and said women could be permitted to go to job training of two years or less, the two year programs being permissible if shorter programs were not available. I had to fight tooth and nail every single day to keep going to public school, and my mother was often counseled by the elders and even had some of her privileges in the congregation restricted due to my obsession with becoming educated (which to this day I have sometimes feel guilty over). I spent a LOT of time in libraries knowing I was only going to go to school if I found a way on my own, and I spent many nights with a candle or flashlight and a book in the middle of the night.

    To this day, my mother and I have a strained relationship due to my pursuing education beyond highschool. She tells me sometimes people in her congregation bring it up. They still don’t let her alone, and I’m pretty sure that she -wants- to be proud, but that she’s mostly ashamed because of the culture around higher education, especially for women.

    It was really hard to face my teachers in school. They would encourage me, give me lots of opportunities that I had to take home and get permission for which I could never do even though, in retrospect, I think it pained my mother to say no. No parent wants to see their enthusiastic kid’s face fall, especially when the kid’s just trying to become a better person.

    There are different perspectives on this. I still respect my mother’s opinions and the opinions of the organization- I just don’t agree with them.

    Whatever it is you want to do in life, by God, stop making excuses and go do it. You need to cry because you’re overwhelmed or throw pillows because you’re angry at your loneliness, then do that. But don’t you ever, EVER give up on you and what you can do with God’s help. If you feel moved to do something in this world you GO AFTER that. You weren’t given a mind for no reason. You weren’t given a passion for no reason. GO TAKE YOUR LIFE.
    You think you’re not supported? Bullshit. That’s a test of faith. Pray more.
    But even if you don’t believe in God(s), NO ONE WILL GIVE YOU THE LIFE YOU WANT BUT YOU.
    So go out and GET IT.

    http://www.npr.org/2017/02/19/510585965/poor-education-leads-to-lost-dreams-and-low-income-for-many-jehovahs-witnesses?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20170219