Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Reacting to "Reactionary"

This morning L informed me that she joined a certain club at school.  Today would be the first meeting during 4th period.  She spoke it to  me calmly as if it was a meeting of a little quilting group or a group to discuss the scriptures or something.  I assure you it was not.

All the parenting skills I have worked SO very hard to attain went out the window.  While she was away at the school last year to help us all cope with her challenges, we had intensive parent training, which I have mentioned before.  My voice got louder, my breathing quickened, my emotions came to the surface.  I went back to the OLD me.  Ugh.  Hate that.

Rest assured -we worked through it.  We got back to "baseline" and became "regulated" once again.  She forgave me for over-reacting.  I mean, come on - it wasn't a club to blow up the world or anything.  It was, however, one that I would not choose for her.

Fortunately by the end of the conversation, she was saying, "hmm....maybe I won't go.  Maybe you are right".  Music to a mother's ears.  Either way, she is old enough to choose.  She has been taught.  She knows.  Now the ball is in her court.

After this episode, as I beat myself up for a few minutes, I thought, "AHHH.... I was SO REACTIONARY".   Reactionary?  Where have I heard that word before?  I thought I had heard it from former therapists who were teaching me to NOT overreact to things.  I decided to look it up at

Here is the definition they give:

1. of, pertaining to, marked by, or favoring reaction, esp. extreme conservatism or rightism in politics; opposing political or social change.
I then looked up several other dictionaries.  They all pretty much said the same things. 
So, because I am a political-thinking person, I had to then evaluate my politics!  Am I reactionary?  Hmm....

I am definitely opposed to some types of change.  I am against anything that takes our country down a socialist or radical road.  I am against things that take us away from God, believing that this country was founded upon God's principles.  So does that mean that reactionary is the opposite of radical?  I don't view myself as extreme.   

Maybe, just maybe, there is a radical left-wing conspiracy to change all the dictionaries in the world to make the word "reactionary" have an extremely negative political connotation.

Just teasing ya.

What is your personal definition to reactionary?  Do you see these definitions as correct, based on your background and experience?


  1. I am shocked by the political definition. That is not how I would define it. Very interesting. I have the tendency to be reactionary or over-react at times.

  2. I never thought of reactionary in those terms before, but that is an interesting difference. The older my kids get, the more I realize I need to be slower to react, but the older they get the harder it is to put it into practice. Thanks for your thought provoking post.

  3. It's definitely harder the older they get - thus the need to stay calmer...and thus the bigger challenge. I am thinking now that perhaps a better word for it is "reactive", not reactionary.....hmmm....

  4. Don't meant to take away from the discussion but I am really curious about which club she wanted to join.

  5. I so hear you...i didn't realize L was asp. my spencer is too. homeschooling him has been a challenge and requires sooo much patience. like you, i have learned to be less "reactionary", but sometimes slip. it's nice that we can catch ourselves though when it happens.

  6. Kim - we have long stories to tell. One of these days we will have to chat.


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