I didn't think any of these things really deserved their own threads, so I've cobbled some random observations, incidents and reflections together. Some are sad, like those poor JW school kids I know, and some are warm, like my friendship with my mother.
A year 10 girl who was enrolled in the A level science class was absent: I noticed because I used to be good friends with her JW mother, who recently ranted at me and unfriended me on FB. I've supervised a couple of Aisha's* classes this year, and found her to be a quiet sort of kid who gets on with her work. I asked the class, "Where's Aisha?"
"Oh Miss, she was pulled out of school and now she's being homeschooled." The kids thought it was a shame as they know Aisha's mum's a JW and know that homeschooling is not as good as coming to a proper school. The kids feel sorry for the JW kids. They don't persecute them around here, they accept them and actually pity them.
BAM. Another bright kid has had her education stolen from her. Another kid is having her future mortgaged. I know many JW teenagers who've been pulled from school and put into homeschooling, and it never works well. One moved back to the USA and got pregnant at 16. One is 18, works one day a week in a shop and pioneers. Her sister is homeschooling and is not meeting legal educational requirements. Another I know of is in her early 20s and literally cleans cat poop up for a living because she didn't even finish her Year 9. Another one has fallen off the radar completely, pulled out of school because she got a boyfriend. She was 14, and I knew her as a kid. She always gravitated to me because she wanted to be a teacher, like me. Now her education has been sold by her parents: dad who started work at 12 and mum who got married at 18, had girl at 19, and I don't think has worked a real day since.
Another random incident: I got snubbed by JWs this afternoon at the shops even though I'm not dfed or DA'd. This tells me there is a lot of gossip going around as to what a big fat sinner I have become.
Random observation: Many JW's have little idea of long term plans. They want a good job and they want it NOW, because there's no time. So they might get involved with multi-level marketing and its promises of 6 figure incomes to be made in a year, with loads of time for pioneering. Or they hear stories about how some JW got a job for which you need a degree without a degree, and could support his family and pioneer, and think it's that easy. A friend of mine quit a skilled, lucrative job to pioneer, and never ended up doing it because she couldn't get stable enough work with the low hours required. And then she had to care for her sick step dad, and now cares for her child brother. Again to the homeschoolers: the 18 year old who lives with parents and only has to work one day a week in a shop because Dad supports her pioneering, what about down the track? Very myopic. I always used to tell the kids in the congregation to get a qualification first, then pioneer if that's what they wanted.
Another random observation: I found most JW born in males to be very shallow when it came to looking for a wife. It was all about looks. I was often friends with them, but they never ever looked at me as a potential partner unless they were old enough to be my father or socially challenged Trek fans who were stunned to have a woman talk to them (I'd talk to loners, because I thought the Christiand thing to do would be to reach out to those who appeared disadvantaged/isolated and try to include them). I'm not slim and blonde, never wore tight or revealing clothes (I wasn't a frump though, just careful) and am educated and articulate. Not one of the hundreds of born-ins I met batted one eyelid at my non-physical attributes.
However, 'worldly' men seemed to find me attractive, physically and as a personality. Of course I had to cut them off and put up the barriers, being a good JW woman. By the time I reached my late 20s, I began to wonder if there was something terribly wrong with me that JW men never looked at me, like did I smell bad or something and no one had the guts to tell me? Nope. It was that I didn't fit the ideal JW wife mold.
And how am I now? I've been shunned and unfriended, but I don't care anymore. I'm off my antidepressants. I came off them almost exactly 6 years after starting them. My mother showered me in gifts and money and cake yesterday for my birthday, to 'welcome' me back. I've apologised to Mum for years of missed milestones, and she didn't even have to forgive me because she never held it against me. She's proud that I never allowed the JWs telling me my family was a tool of Satan and things like "we're your family now..." to drive a wedge between us. She's surprised the JW religion even tried it. She had no inkling as I never swayed to cooling it with my family. We've always remained the best of friends. Same with my brother. Eleven years he was in the military, and we disagreed on much, but we never cut the bonds. My JW friends always regarded my brother as some wild, potentially dangerous animal if they ever met him, and he could see that. But me and him? We've been friends our whole lives, and religion didn't change it, as it shouldn't.
Thanks for reading my random collection of things :)