We have all heard of longitude and latitude. I think I have found that attitude is a direction as well as a state of mind. This past Saturday I attended the Chicago Catechetical Conference. This conference is for both Catholic schoolteachers, and for those who teach Religious Education on weekends (think Sunday School on Saturday) to the children who attend Public School during the week. I attended this for many years as a Catholic School teacher, and hated it, and for a couple of years as a Religious Ed. teacher and have loved it. It is the same conference. The speakers and their topics and their biases haven't changed much. My own biases haven't changed much. What has changed? The company I am keeping.
I never thought I was so easily influenced by others before, and it hurts my pride a bit to find out that I am. For years I heard from co-workers how it was a waste of time, had a liberal bent, yada yada yada. I tried to speak positively to these coworkers and say things like "The prayer service was lovely" or "the homily (think Catholic sermon) at Mass at the closing of the conference was very insightful". But then I would go home and when my husband asked how the conference was I would say it was a waste of time, had a liberal bent, yada yada yada. In case I haven't expressed it previously, I am liturgical conservative with liberal sprinklings. Liberal colleagues think I'm conservative, conservative colleagues think I am liberal. My point is that I would come home complaining even if I wouldn't complain with my coworkers.
This time I went home and when my husband asked how the conference was, I told him what I learned. He asked if the conference was a lot different than in the past, and I had to admit that it wasn't. What were different was the people I was with. These people seemed to love every minute of it, and I wouldn't consider them to be excessively liberal or conservative. My peers had influenced me again, this time for the better. I never would have guessed that in my thirties I am still responding to things based on the company I am keeping. I don't think it is to please others though, because I had no problem displeasing my coworkers for years by finding some good in the conference. I was genuinely affected by the attitude of those around me. I am not proud of that, but must come to terms with this. This probably also means that my attitude affects others, so while I might not want to put on a false face, I should at least try to see the good in situations around me so that I don't bring others down. At the same time, false cheeriness is annoying, so I'll have to watch that too. You'd think that by thirty-nine I'd be able to pick a personality already and stick with it. Oh well. Have a blessed day!