Monday, December 31, 2012

Tori Story: More fruit of not spanking/hitting my kids

I recently found my old diaries from when I was a kid…like I think a daily diary from the time I was 7 till I was over 18…(like I said...I've been blogging since I could write!!)

I was flipping thru 1980...the one when I was 11…and there were some pages where I was really sad. OK, most of the pages I am really sad. I was taking a picture of one page that was all dark and had lots of sad faces on it and Tori sees it and asks, "Were you sad on that page?"

I said, "Yes."

She asked, "Why?"

I replied simply that I was almost always sad when I was a kid because no one liked me. (this statement has been nominated for "Understatement of the Year.")

She looked sad about that. "Nobody liked you?" 

I told her that no…nobody liked me when I was a kid.

Her eyes were looking sad and kinda' red, but, I wasn't sure if it was what I was telling her or because it was...well...midnight!!! ;)

I took her bowl of soup that I'd been preparing for her over and sat it down at the table and sat her with it. 

About 30 seconds passes and she says, "Didn't you have a mom and dad?"

Her brothers and I reply that yes, I did. 

I told that my mom and dad didn't like me, either.

Another 30 seconds passes...She gets up and comes over to me looks up and says, "Did you have us when you were little?"

"No, Tori. Why? You would have been nice to me, right?"

She said, "Yes."

Now, I can tell that her eyes aren't looking all red just because she's up late. She's truly troubled by what I've told her. I wonder if I should have told her this or not? She looked almost like she was going to cry. 

I asked her, "Don't you like that nobody liked me?" 

She said, "No. It's sad. It's horrible."

She said horrible!

In her little mind…she thought that if I had a mom and dad then they would have liked me. 

In her little mind...she can't fathom a world where mom and dad don't like their children. 

In her little mind...she thought that if she had been there when I was little she would have liked me. 

In her little mind...when she looked at me and thought about me being little and nobody liking me…she at 4 years of age could feel my pain to the point it hurt her and she just reached out and gently held me. 

I cried.

Good tears!!!!!

(In case you wonder...I can type stuff like this and post it in public because even if my mom would happen to ever know that I had a blog...she wouldn't ask the address...wouldn't go to it...wouldn't read it...and even if she did...she would just scoff at it and never look at the site again.)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Reacting to violence: "Been there done that"

I was just watching ID (like I always do!) and it made me think of something. One very simple easy thought...

One common thing you see in trials of serial killers...or just really bad killers that horrify that "the defendant showed no emotion."

Right? The whole thing where someone does something violent and terrible and shows no emotion or remorse...that's something everyone will remark about and just be aghast about.


Watching, "The Homicide Hunter" he said something about one case in particular really "getting to him." And, he made a comment that hit me. He said, "I've been exposed to a lot of horrible things, but this got to me..." (not a direct quote)

That got me thinking...

It's true. We're all that way, right? We "get immune" to things.

Go watch an autopsy for the 1st time. It'd probably make ya puke. Right? Watch your 10,000th and you'll be like that one guy on that one TV show in the 80's that always had a sandwich in the room with him? What show was that!? You know what I mean? 

Exposure to things over time lessens and lessens how it makes you react to the point that some things can just eventually be "no biggie."

"Yeah...I been there done that..."

So, what's more likely to help a person become immune to "violence" and "hurting others"...
a. hitting them the whole time they're growing up
b. never hitting them? 

(Of course I'm talking about spanking/smacking)

My 4.5 year old has never been struck. She's the only one of my 8 kids who we have never hit/spanked/smacked. 

Once when she was about 3 I got really mad at her. And, I got harsh with her. I can't remember what exactly I did with her but I handled her roughly and her reaction was like..."Wow." She was horrified. She was aghast and just could not stop crying. 

No. It's not because I'm "Amish", or something, either. She's seen seen the Lord of the Rings and the TV is just about always on. So, she's seen violence on TV. She plays Minecraft ;) And, she plays other video games... 

When my other kids were that age if I got mad at something they did...and actually took an object and hit them several times with it on the butt...they cried...but they weren't shocked or horrified at me. Sometimes, they'd even not "react" and I thought it was a sign that it was because they knew they'd done wrong and deserved it.

Once, just after turning 4 my never-been-hit (spanked/smacked) child was rough-housing with her dad and her fingernail hit his nose "just right" (or wrong) and musta' struck some vein and his nose just would not stop bleeding. Her reaction? She could not stop crying and hugging him. 

And, she wasn't crying because she was afraid she was "in trouble." She was not afraid of "punishment" at all because we don't punish...She was crying unconsolably because she'd hurt someone. She was horrified that she'd hurt her dad and made him bleed.

So, when we see a person sitting in a courtroom who has been accused of some act of inflicting pain on another person and they show no emotion...ya have to wonder what they've been exposed to their whole life (especially in their younger years) to make them feel like, "eh...been there done that" about that...

If we wanna see a world where we don't have people doing heartless things to other seems like a world where parents never strike their children for any reason would be a good place to start...

You can call spanking/smacking "discipline" all you want...and you can try to justify it all you want but the fact is that you can't exercise this "discipline" without hitting. 

You can't spank/smack your child without hitting them. And, violence. And, the more it's done to the child the less offensive the act of hitting another (smaller, weaker, defenseless) human will be to that child.

Something worth thinking about for sure...

In this world full of people who "like" posts on Facebook like the one below...ya sure have to wonder if people ever attempt to think farther than they can throw their computers...

Easy self-test on the use of the Biblical rod in your home

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Michael Pearl is right about training kids like dogs!

I was just thinking about pain...and it's usefulness in "training children."

People seem to think that this is the way to train kids. They do something you dislike so you give them pain and they'll be enlightened and never do that thing again. Authors like Michael Pearl have even likened training kids to training dogs and mules. 

Now, we have an invisible fence around our property for our dogs. This fence gives them (and us) a lot of freedom. But, to enjoy that freedom they had to learn the boundaries of the fence and that took some training. First they had to be shown the boundary (via flags). They had to be led toward the boundary and then rushed back toward the house and praised. (they had to learn that going toward the house is good and pleasurable!) Then, they had to be introduced to the shocking collar and allowed to experience what happens when they cross the boundary.

If one were to compare training kids to training dogs this would seem to be an obvious clear-cut example of the value of spanking. 

Dog learns where the boundary is.
Dog learns that crossing that line = pain.
Dog learns that escape from that pain = move toward the owner and home.


So, how is this parallel to spanking? 
Let's see...

Baby learns where boundary is...
"Don't touch the knick-knacks on the coffee table!"
Baby learns that crossing that line = pain.
Mom hits baby's hand.
Baby learns that escape from that pain = move who just hit baby and was the source of the pain? 
Wait a minute.

Something must be wrong with my example. We'll try another...

Kid learns where boundary is...
"Don't run out into the street!"
Kid learns that crossing that line = pain.
Mom or dad whacks kid on hiney to cause pain.
Kid learns that esape from that pain = move or dad were the source of the pain.

Something's not working!

Why don't we try starting from the kid example and apply it to training the dog on the fence! Let's try it that way!

Dog learns where boundary is...
Dog is "told not to cross the boundary" in doggy language...basically shown the boundary flags by owner and pulled back from the flags to indicate "stay away from those."
Dogs learns that crossing that line = pain
Dog is allowed to cross line and the collar gives him a zap!
Dogs learns that escape from that pain = run toward the source of the pain

This is not working.

In training the dog the consequence of crossing the boundary = pain and the owner and home are the escape from the pain of that. 
In the way people (like Michael Pearl and James Dobson) train kids...the home is the source of the pain.
This is not correlating at all. This is not making any sense.

Maybe we have the dog training part messed up? Maybe that's why this is not working?

What if to train the dog on the invisible fence we did it this way:
Teach dog where boundary is
Teach dog that crossing boundary = pain
Teach dog that escape from the pain = run toward owner and house 
Teach dog that owner scolds and punishes dog after retreating from crossed boundary

That way now it would be just like how we train kids...
Teach kid where boundary is...
Teach kid that crossing boundary = pain...
Teach kid that...after crossing run to parents to receive punishment, scolding (more pain) 

When you look at it this way is should look as wrong and silly as it is because you know what would happen to a dog trained like this! 
(And, I would dare say God designed dogs this way to show us this truth!) 

We all know that if we scold and punish the dog when it's retreating from the zapping from the fence that all it would do would be to confuse the dog. The dog would never make sense of his world and would never understand that boundary or its consequences...ever!

So, maybe Michael Pearl is right?
Maybe training kids is just like training a dog?
He just doesn't apparently seem to understand how to train a dog...

If the true process to train a dog to stay within the boundary of the invisible fence is to do the following would you do this with your child?
1. clearly show the boundary
2. establish the safe zone by the owner showing praise and comfort when moving away from the boundary
3. allow the dog to experience the consequence of crossing the line and feeling the pain caused by that line being crossed
4. be there to comfort and praise to the dog when the dog rushes toward the safety of the owner and home

In the training of a dog...the owner is not the source of the pain. The crossing of the boundary is. 

The dog clearly sees this because the pain always comes from the crossed boundary and the pleasure and safety always comes from the owner. A dog so trained will never get zapped by that fence again...and will never cower or run from the owner, for that matter. Trained this way the owner and home are unquestionably a source of safety and comfort that the dog learns to run toward for the relief of his pain and fear. 

The dog is safer because of this and everyone has more freedom and joy in life and in the relationship between owner and dog.

A child who would be trained this way...the way we train a dog...would learn where boundaries are and what the consequences are of crossing those boundaries AND the child would learn to always run to the parent when they are in trouble.

Imagine! Imagine a world where kids run to parents when they've done something wrong and look to their parents for help?!

Imagine a world where kids know their parents are always there for them to help them no matter what trouble they get into?

Imagine kids who don't try to hide their mistakes because they know the best way to get out of the pain that mistake's caused is to run to the parent?

If only people would train kids the way they train dogs!!!

Instead we live in a world where...people don't train their children the way they'd train a dog. We live in a world where well-meaning Christian parents are teaching their children that when they cross a boundary that the parent is a source of pain.

Well-meaning parents are teaching their children to run from that which God has designed them to find safety and refuge in: them. 

Well-meaning parents are therefore teaching their children by extension then to run from God, as well. 

In the world that spanked kids live in they don't fully comprehend true consequences and they fear pain from all sides. Nothing is safe.

So, what to do?

If a baby is too little to comprehend the consequence of handling and possibly breaking knick-knacks...they should be moved. If they are old enough to understand the true consequence of breaking something someone cares about then the pain they would feel at ruining something someone cares about should be the pain they want to avoid...not the pain of being hit by a parent.

Kids should fear running out into traffic because of the fear of the pain of being struck by a car not because they fear being struck by a parent.

All boundaries have consequences if they're crossed. It's our job as parents to teach kids that we are the source of safety, comfort, and relief from the pain those crossed boundaries bring upon them...and by extension then that God is that source of safety and refuge. 

If what our children learn to fear is us, then...they will never truly comprehend what the true source of pain is from the consequences of their actions...and what kids will end up running from will be the point that they'll be willing to cross painful boundaries and get "zapped" to get away from us...

When in this world we children (of God) mess up and "cross boundaries" and are in pain from the consequences of those choices...we all want to run to God, "Save me!" 

This is how our children should see us...a source of salvation from their pain. 

When a kid "crosses a boundary" and a dad says to the kid, "Get over here!" And, that kid thinks about "what he's got coming to him..." it should be something the kid wants and craves not fears.

- - -

ROMANS 1:18-20
...that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

Which type of parent are you when your child's done something wrong?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Crying over a Spanish Soap Opera!!!

In 1998 my husband was killed. 2 years later I met and married a guy who grew up on the mission field in Guatemala and we moved down there. (we = me, he n' my 4 kids!)

I struggled as a 30-yr old to learn a 2nd language. (Fortunately that 2nd language was Spanish and not English!) Even though Spanish is a very well-structured language that totally makes sense (not as tough as you might have thought...and "ough"has 6 different pronunciations!!!) it was still hard for me to get to the point where I could have a conversation! I can still remember when sentences sounded like one big long word and how awesome it was once I could at least distinguish between words even though I couldn't understand yet!! In the end I could actually talk and felt comfortable in Spanish!

But, in 2010 we moved to Canada and then ultimately back to the US where I speak only English and am surrounded by pretty much only English people! So, what to do to not lose the Spanish I worked so hard to get?

Well...<ahem>...I watch cheesy Spanish soap operas, of course!!! :)

The one I try to watch is called, "La Rosa de Guadalupe." It's a Catholic soap opera, actually. Made in Mexico. It's not like American soaps that are one long never ending story. Each 1-hr episode of La Rosa de Guadalupe is a start-to-finish story that is totally predictible (so it's easy for me to follow and understand!) It's perfect for helping my Spanish! And, the other actually made me cry!!!!!

The reason why is not because it was awesome...but because it got me thinking...

The storyline of this one was about "cohetes"...which I'd have spelled, "cuetes" had I not known how it was spelled. (now you know how to say it.) It means fireworks...which are as Christmas in Latin America as Christmas trees!

Christmas actually when they consider it "Christmas" in Guatemala. And, this moment is not like the Mayan is very loud, noisy, and you can't miss it!

At midnight it was always so awesome! The town we lived in would just explode! You'd never guess the place to be so poor seeing so many very expensive fireworks going off all over town! It was SO loud! The dogs would freak and run and hide! And, by 12:30 couldn't even see across the yard anymore for the smoke that had coated the town!

That is one thing I miss!

But...these fireworks are made in...scary unregulated factories...where kids even work (child labor.) Kids play with these things by themselves (even ours did!) and each year there are kids who get their fingers blown off by (the big ones!) ones that go off prematurely in their hands...

So, this was the topic of this episode..."Fireworks Safety in the Christmas Season!" and it really made me think about something that applies to all of us...not just fireworks in Latin America...

The dad...was the main encourager of this cultural tradition...Dad was into it. Dad loved it that his sons played with cohetes!!!

Mom looks on approvingly, also. But, Grandma is not happy about it. Grandma keeps saying it's dangerous and the kids shouldn't be permitted to do this. But, just as in real life...her "I'm old so this means I've been there done that so you should listen to me!" wisdom is ignored, dismissed, and even mocked a little, "Mom! It's tradition!"

The main character kid (I guess I never got his name!) is very irresponsible with the fireworks. He lights one off in his bedroom to scare his little brother awake...

Then, he lights one off in the classroom! And, the teacher calls his mom in and fills her in on the seriousness of this "tradition!"

Mom is a new convert to understanding the seriousness of this. She's like, "Dude. These are bad!"

(the acting on these shows is great!!! hahaha)

Her son has to write/read a report to the class on the dangers of playing with fireworks. He seems like he is starting to understand that fireworks are dangerous...but...

Dad is into it!!! Dad keeps on keeping-on with this tradition! (So, no matter how good the teaching is that he gets at matter how hard the boy's trying to learn what's right he lives and believes what he lives at home!) 

Dad walks in with a huge bag of fireworks...and even lights one for his daughter inside the house! (which I never knew anyone to do in Guatemala's a soap opera!)

Mom is like, "Honey! This isn't good! This is dangerous! The kids shouldn't be doing this!"

He's like...

"'s tradition!!!!!"

Finally...Christmas Eve...Dad walks in with this HUGE bomba (bomb which they call a paloma or dove). The kids are elated!! This is the awesomest firework!! Mom and Grandma are not happy. 

Next scene...the kids are outside lighting off the bombs inside milk cans and one doesn't go off...

The son approaches the "dud" and picks it up and...well...of guessed it!!!

It blows up in his hand...

So, he's rolling on the ground screaming...all the other kids are horrified watching...and his parents come running and haul him off to the hospital...

The next scene we see Grandma, Mom, and Dad show up at at the hospital with this bag of his iced fingers and plead with the doc to reattach his fingers!!! The doc then tells them he's sorry but the damage was too severe and they had to amputate his whole hand!

This is when I started to cry because this essentially is, "a true story"...This whole story of a parent disregarding science and truth in favor of "tradition" and resulting in "disability" in the child is a story that is happening in almost every family! :(

So, in the scene in which the boy awakens and finds out that he's lost his hand it really hit me...all the pain caused by his parents' well-meant ignorance. 

Look at his...kid actor face ;) Pretty good job at showing anguish, yeah? This is what happens inside of all of us because of things that have been done to us which have made it impossible for us to live happy and healthy lives. 

With so many people around him and so much access to "truth" why is this kid suffering this consequence?

Because of what he learned at home.

The people all around him were trying to teach him at school...but the lesson about how to live that stuck with him was the lesson he got at home...from his dad...

It makes me think of all the sad and lonely people out there who are on meds because of that but still feel safer and more normal all alone.

It makes me think of all of the anti-bullying messages out there.

It makes me think of all the messages out there to teach kids about sex and how not to end up a victim of a predator.

How can we expect kids to be able to connect to others in healthy happy ways when they've been raised being routinely ignored and left alone at their most vulnerable times?

How can we expect kids to not bully others?

How can we expect kids to not be bullied?

How can we expect girls (and boys) to feel they have a right to not have grown ups do things to their bodies that they don't long as kids live in homes where their parents bully them? (spank/smack) 

We can't.

In the end, the kids in real life, just like the boy in this story, all do have "permanent disabilities." They have issues due to having lived a life where they were controlled by force. 

(Even the kids who grow up to be grown-ups who say, "I was spanked and I turned out OK..." Well, except for the part where you grew up to think that it's acceptable for a 200 pound 6 foot man to control a 30 pound toddler by hitting them. That doesn't seem like ya turned out "OK.")

In the end of this story, the boy had to come to grips with how to grieve the loss of his hand. (the normal function he should have had had his parents given him the right guidance and example in life!)

And, he had to help his little brother process the loss.
Everyone had to get used to the disability the boy now had.

And, I just thought of all the thoughtless actions by parents going on out there in the world as parents just "do with their kids how they were raised" not thinking about the reality of the dangers of what they're doing...

I thought of all the little kids out there suffering the consequences of that: being beaten up by bullies...bullying...and being touched inappropriately growing up...unable to be able to stop the things that are going wrong in their lives. Unable to navigate the world safely because of what their parents are teaching them at home. 

Kids bullying and being bullied can't just stop because even if they become convinced at school that this is wrong if they live in a household where dad controls them by manhandling hitting (spanking/smacking) them to get them to do what they want or any time they displease else can that child think the world is to be navigated but that if you're bigger you can use force to get your way from smaller weaker people?

If a girl lives in a house where her body has never been "her own" where she's never been allowed to make choices for herself or to say, "no!" when her parents want to hit (spank/smack) her because they dislike something she's else is that girl to navigate life but to think it's OK to be hit by men who are displeased with what she does...or to let men do things to her body she doesn't like?

How are kids to see that things are wrong if their parents are always "bringing them bag-fulls of fireworks to play with while the teacher is telling them they're dangerous?"

I thought of all the damage that's done to kids because of these wrong things that parents do to them...and not just in the hitting department but I think of all the innocent babies lying alone in cribs crying themselves to sleep...losing brain cells...and getting their brains wired to be more likely to be addicts, and have anxiety and depression issues for their whole lives...all because mom n' dad have been raised to believe that "this is just how it's done with babies!"

 I thought of how sometimes parents do realize what they've done and stop (like I did)...but still have to deal with seeing their child struggling with the disabilities that they caused...

I thought of all the parents who have naively led their children into these dangerous psychological places and how once realized they have to grieve their child's loss and help the child overcome the challenges that the parents' poor choices has led to.

In the end...whatever we do with our kids...however we treat them...they will have to deal with it. 

If we've taught them well we can expect them to have happy and healthy relationships with everyone in their futures and for them to be not on depression and anxiety meds their whole lives! But, if we do wrong things to them...while it won't be as dramatic and obvious as this child having his hand blown off it will be just as crippling to them...

The world I grew up in taught me that bigger, louder, and meaner than me people control me and I have no choice. It taught me I'll never be good enough...liked...or acceptable in any way. The world I grew up in definitely left me crippled and struggling...even at my age...and I'm parenting 8 kids. God help 'em!! ;)

The world I grew up in also taught me that people are false and if they're being nice you'd better watch out for what they really mean so I look for deep meanings in that makes it so that I cry over cheesy Spanish soap operas...and leave me feeling like a fruitcake ;)

(In case you wonder...I went to handy-dandy Youtube and someone is into uploading all of these soaps and so I just went thru the vids there and got screen shots of moments I wanted)

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