Thursday, October 18, 2012

Imagine a world run by un-spanked adults

I have a lot thoughts running around my head throughout any day, really, and lately it's been too much to focus on one particular thing to actually write about. Sometimes what it takes to make my brain find a target is a post like this on a friend's wall to bring some thoughts to the surface and bubble over onto "paper!"

What would a world look like if it were run by adults who'd never been struck by their parents? People who got rewarded just for trying even if they didn't win?

Statistics would indicate that most of us know that fear that we felt as children when we'd done something that we knew our parents weren't going to like. Sometimes we had done it on purpose, and sometimes it was an accident, but we knew either way "we were in trouble" and we were "gonna get it." When we knew we were "in trouble" the farthest thing from our minds at that point was "what we'd done" or "how to fix what we'd done" but what was foremost on our minds was "what we had comin'!" True? Ai yai yai! We could almost feel the paddle on our butts, our skin almost prickling from the thought of it, and we would have done anything to avoid it! (Even now, it makes my butt feel a little weird just remembering!) 

I have 8 children ages 25 to 4. Right before my 4 year old was born our household went thru a huge huge change: we stopped using spanking as a parenting method.

For years I was familiar with all the reactions that children who "know what's coming" had when caught doing wrong. 

Among the reactions are things like:

You get a report from another kid that one did something naughty. When you investigate, the perp can't be found anywhere!

denial and lying
You find the hiding one and say, "What did you do?" 
Or, you ask, "Who broke this thing?"
"Not me!!!!"

"My brother made me do it!!!"

begging for mercy while holding hands over their bottoms

Something important is there in all those reactions. All of the reactions that the children had to doing wrong were focused on what?

The punishment.

Those children…when they make mistakes…clearly fear punishment…of that there is no doubt. And, many of those children who are instilled with a sincere and real fear of punishment are effectively deterred from ever doing the same "wrong" thing again. 

But, is that really what we wanna be taught and teach our children: to fear punishment?

Is "fearing punishment" a good character quality? Is it what we look for in leaders? Is it what we look for in mates? I mean, do you listen to political campaigns and hear them professing proudly, "Vote for me! I will balance the budget and I fear punishment!" Do you log onto online dating and look for potential mates who "fear punishment?" 

That would be silly. We don't look to leaders who "fear" or base their decisions on "fear" because "fear" is not a noble quality. Fear is the quality of cowards, isn't it? Fear is focused on "me."

So, as I mentioned earlier…my 8th child has never been struck. She's never been punished. I don't take her toys, make her go to bed early, yell at her, or sit her in time-outs. So, she basically is to become what the image on my friend's wall "fears" for the future of our nation. What if our nation's future leaders were all raised like this? 

What horror awaits us?

She has given me a glimpse of what the future holds...and I will now share it with you...

A few days ago she and my 7-year old were sitting in the back seat while we were driving down the road. They were talking to each other about something that had to do with a recent "naughty behavior" event…

Then, my 4-year old turns her attention to me and says to me: 

"Mom! When we be bad, you need to forgive us, or we will be sad." 

This is how she sees being caught being bad. 

Where is her focus?

What does she fear?

What does she expect and hope for?

"When we be bad you need to forgive us or we will be sad."

Her focus is not on punishment.
Her focus is on the relationship.
She does not fear punishment.
She fears the breach in the relationship caused by the "naughtiness."
She hopes for and expects restoration when a relationship is breached.

The thing she fears as the "worst thing" that can happen from being bad…is that if I don't forgive her then that will make her sad. 

I thought about this some more in the days after she said it and I realize that yes, when she is "bad":

She doesn't hide. 
She doesn't deny having done it or lie about what she's done. 
She doesn't blame her siblings.
She doesn't put her hands over her butt and look afraid. 

She doesn't fear me at all so...she comes right to me and tells me what happened and immediately asks me to forgive her. 

So, I ask…What horror would befall our great nation if our leaders were to be raised this way?

Imagine a politician who...doesn't hide from his mistakes...
Imagine a politician who doesn't deny wrongdoing or...lie?!!!!!
Imagine a president who doesn't blame the other party for the country's problems...
Imagine a politician more focused on restoring the country and fixing it's problems than avoiding the wrath of any particular group?

Yes...just imagine...

I'm not alone in finding that meme annoying. Someone else did, also, and posted it March 1, 2013 on Facebook with a few corrections ;)

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