If you’re on social media, you’ve probably heard your share of “God Bless America” sung by various artists over the July 4th weekend. Maybe you’ve seen this one featuring Pia Toscano at The American Rodeo in Arlington, TX performed on March 6, 2022. What does this have to do with Jehovah’s Witnesses? Plenty to me.
At first glance, you might assume this is a patriotic post. One of those “we can vote and stand up for our country now that we’re exJWs” types of posts and I wouldn’t mind at all if that’s what you get out of it. But that’s actually not my point.
As I listened to her PURE TALENT in singing this song and thought of myself and others who just aren’t gifted in that area, I was reminded of a song that made me cry and altered my perspective as a mother raising two daughters in the Watchtower organization.
The goal of any JW parent is to raise little JWs and I was doing my best to accomplish that. In addition to our friends from the Kingdom Hall, we also had “worldly” friends since I had 32 years of life prior to my conversion and my husband was not a JW.
One afternoon some old friends dropped by with their 11 year old daughter. During our visit, the mother mentioned that her little girl was going to be in a school talent contest and asked if we’d like to hear her performance. Being polite, I agreed thinking she probably wouldn’t be that good but we’d clap and say something nice anyway. Well, she blew me away! This kid moved me to tears she was so good. I don’t recall the song itself but her talent and practice were evident! How did this affect me as a parent?
I couldn’t help but think of all the talent being lost in the Watchtower. Children who could be more than cogs in the wheel of a publishing company.
Most people see God in creation itself and I do too. Blue skies and mountain landscapes surely take our breath away, but I’ve always appreciated God more in the people He creates. When someone has talent, I see a gift from God. I’m never jealous of it for I’m aware of my own talents which were celebrated by my “worldly” parents. We all have SOMETHING and I’m always thankful when people share their talents no matter how small or big. I didn’t want my daughters to miss out on what God gave to them. At the risk of being a bad JW, I had my kids involved in things that interested them. Man, it was stressful to walk that line as a JW.
I actually felt guilty for wanting to see my children blossom. But now, I’m so glad I did.
I don’t know anything about this singer. I just know she was given talent to belt out a song. Good looks too! And I suspect some very proud parents who sacrificed to ensure that talent got practiced and honored along the way.
It’s okay to clap.
Keep yourself in God’s love,