Dignity, Agency, and Opinions

Posted: 02/10/2008 in Emotions, Thoughts

The term “dignity” is defined as “the state of being worthy of honour or respect” (The Oxford Encyclopedic English Dictionary, New York, Clarendon Press, 1991, p. 403). When this concept is associated with the adjective “human”, it is used to signify that all human beings possess inherent worth and deserve unconditional respect, regardless of age, sex, health status, social or ethnic origin, political ideas, religion, or criminal history. In other words, this respect is owed to every individual by the mere fact that he or she is a “member of the human family” (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, Preamble
In Latter-day Saint theology, free agency is the name of the human capacity to make choices for themselves and to choose between right and wrong.
An opinion is a person‘s ideas and thoughts towards something. It is an assessment, judgment or evaluation of something. An opinion is not a fact, because opinions are either not falsifiable, or the opinion has not been proven or verified. If it later becomes proven or verified, it is no longer an opinion, but a fact.
These are three words that I think about often. We are all born into this life with dignity, free agency, and an opinion. Neither of these should be taken away from us or altered in any way but unfortunately because we are all born with these it happens. I also like to refer to free agency as just agency. By no means is it FREE. There is an effect when we all pratice it and we all obtained our agency at the expense of our Savior sacrificing his life. Hence my opinion in why I don’t consider it to be free. Something we should all leave this life with is agency, an opinion and at least SOME dignity.
When people practice their agency and put into action their opinion is when volcanic explosions can happen and people can lose their dignity. By no mean because I am sharing this does it mean I am perfect, cause I am not. Thank goodness for a new day to try again. In my opinion unless someones life is in danger, i.e abuse, then ones opinion should not be put into action. We can share our opinions and ideas but that doesn’t mean whom we share it with should take it as doctrine and put it into action , because it is just that; a personal thought or idea. For example my Peanut dresses herself every morning and by no means in my opinion does she match , but she thinks she looks fabulous. That is ALL that matters. That is her agency to pick out what she wants, it is her opinion to think that she looks great, and she in return is left with her dignity. No of course on the other hand if she is going to run out in the road or touch a hot stove that is different. As her mother it is my responsibility to watch out for her safety and for her own good. Of course as she grows into adulthood I will have to let go of that and then she will have the agency to be completely responsible for her own choices. Of course I can still share my opinion but that doesn’t mean that she has to go do it. In return she will be left with her dignity. When one decides to cross the boundries of putting their opinion into an action is when ones agency is practiced and agency is also taken away. In return ones dignity is also taken away.
We are all individuals with different life experiences. Experiences are obviously repeated, i.e divorce, death, adoption, marriage, etc., but that doesn’t mean we are going to experience the same thing. My divorce is different then the persons down the street. My adoption is different then the persons down the street. Hence we can share our own personal experiences with each other but that doesn’t mean it is going to be exactly the same for the other person. Because we all experience different lives as an outsider we are going to have opinions on how one should take care of the situation. This is where we need to leave each other to practice our own individual agency and learn for ourselves how to deal with the situation. Because as an outsider your opinion is just that. I would be more apt to take someones thoughts that has been through the same experience then one that has not. Just as Heavenly Father does not agree with everything that we all do and is not happy with what we all do. He still leaves us with our dignity to practice our agency and have our own opinion. We may fall and scrap our knees a million times and end up with a scar but that scar will be a reminder of the lessons we learned in the mean time.
In my parenting with my Peanut I have done my best to not say that I am proud of her. In return that expresses that she has done something that I am happy with or that she has accomplished something that pleases me. She has achieved something that I wanted her to do. Instead I ask her how she feels about it that way she can develop her sense of self worth and self accomplishment. That way she can learn to recognize her own feelings and that she doesn’t have to go through life wondering if she has done something that I am proud of. I want her to be proud of herself. I was able to start this when she was about 3 or maybe younger when I listened to these Family IQ parenting cds that I was loaned to by a friend of mine. They changed my parenting in ways that I can’t imagine. Following through, etc. I have them on my Itunes or my Ipod if any of you are interested.
By no means am I perfect at any of what I have just shared but I am trying. If I was perfect I wouldn’t be here. Leave people some dignity by not practicing your agency and putting your opinion into action. It can be volcanic. It can be unhealthy and damaging effects. It isn’t worth it. Not worth relationships being lost or the pain that you can cause someone. Journal your opinion if you feel that strongly about it to get it out. If we all parented like Heavenly Father the world would be a better place. Let go and the God be the one to distribute the outcome not you.
M.Y.O.B – Mind Your Own Business
  1. ChiliLady says:

    your blog is awesomeness!

  2. Kim says:

    Amen sista friend. I like your post today. I agree with you. In my own personal OPINION though, I think you are a fantabulous mother. You have this way…and a great example to me of what I need to strive to do to be better. Thank you for being my friend! πŸ˜‰

  3. Thanks for your comments on my blog, I really appreciated hearing what you had to say. I’m definitely interested in hearing other people’s experiences with adoption since they’re all so unique (as you reference in your post.) So anytime you want to talk, let me know. Thanks again.Cali πŸ˜‰

  4. Very well put Carly, certainly brought me down to remembering that at any time, my words can cause “volcanic eruptions”. I can always use the reminder, seriously. πŸ™‚ And I am interested in those CD’s. I JUST told Josh I was proud of him, like 1 min ago. I agree that it would be better to help them do things to please themselves, and not always worry about whether they are pleasing others. Talk to you later!

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