There’s a meeting I SHOULD go to, but I don’t want to.  And I feel guilty.  What to do?

As I was pondering this, I started thinking about why I feel guilty?  Doing so brought up some pre-suppositions that actually govern my life.

Since this is my 4th year of teaching (i.e. learning) logic to 8th graders, it occurred to me that I ought to flush out these unspoken major premises and see if they are legitimate principles for making decisions in my life.

What kind of meeting is the one I am angsting over?  A monthly women’s group.  The focus for November is to pull together baby scrapbooks for new moms from the Crisis Pregnancy Center.  Most of these brave mothers are financially strapped and providing a partially-started book is a tangible way to show love.  What a great cause!

Here are my selfish reasons for not going –

1)    I don’t like going out at night once I’ve come home from work

  • It means rushing dinner
  • It means missing an evening discussion with my husband
  • It means missing out on prized and precious reading time

2)    I don’t like doing crafts

3)    This is optional: I have no particular role to fill accept as attendee

So why would I go? – Here are some reasons

  • People expect me to attend
  • I like people to think well of me
  • I feel guilty when I don’t do what people expect of me
  • What people think of me is important to me

So my syllogism looks like this:

Premise 1 – I should do what I imagine people expect me to do

Premise 2 – I imagine that the women of the church expect me to attend

Conclusion – Tf, I should go to this meeting


If the above syllogism is sound (valid in form and true in its two premises), then why don’t I use that same reasoning for serving in the nursery?

After all, I did serve once.  I didn’t like it.  I haven’t been back and  – yet – I don’t feel guilty.

What is the difference?  I think it can be found in premise # 2 – I don’t imagine that the women of the church expect me to do nursery.  But the women’s group is different.  I attended most of the monthly meetings last year and haven’t since July, all for reasonable conflicts.  But I don’t have a conflict this time.  I just don’t want to go.  But the leader of the group and I interact occasionally.  There is no one with the nursery with whom I interact on a regular basis.  So I don’t feel ‘accountable’ to any particular person.  But this gal is different.  I know I would miss out on an occasion to encourage her in her service.

Hmm, now that I have thought this through, I actually want to go.  I want to go in order to support the sponsor of this group.  And that is a positive reason, not a reason born out of guilt.

Here’s the new syllogism

Premise 1Attending events in order to support and encourage the leadership is a good reason

Premise 2I can support this women’s ministry by attending in November

ConclusionTf, I will attend in November