February 23rd, 2013 § Leave a Comment
When and How
It’s touchy; I know. It’s a difficult subject for me too. And if I sound defiant or dogmatic, then I’m not representing myself well. Like I wrote in an earlier post, the older I get, the less I live in certainty. The decision to spank our children was a difficult one for us. Just about every time we did it, we wrestled with some measure of doubt. And yet, despite all this, we concluded it was good for our kids. Again, I’m not trying to convince anyone; up to you. To those of you still with me, I’d like to pass on some practicals, namely the when and the how.
In my last post, I wrote my belief that spanking has a very specific, limited usage: Not behavior modification, not teaching. The one purpose is to introduce humility: To say in effect, “You are not the King.” And so, in our home, only one crime led to a spanking: Rebellion. I think parents make the mistake of spanking based on the degrees, the severity of the crime. “If you do something REALLY bad, you get a spanking.” This results in inconsistent, subjective approach to discipline. For the child, there’s no way of knowing the when. What constitutes REALLY bad? Not knowing when promotes fear. And so, we decided, big or small, rebellion and only rebellion would lead to a spanking.
How do I define rebellion? Let me present a scenario: A child is given a clear directive. After reasonably demonstrating that they understand what you expect of them, they choose to act in direct opposition to your directive.
“Hey, don’t step off the curb.”
He looks at you. Stops at the edge (A reasonable demonstration that he understood). Looking at you, he takes a small step to confirm.
“Don’t step off the curb.”
He steps off the curb.
When he stepped off the curb, when he crossed that proverbial line, there was no counting. No, umpteenth repetition. No yelling, grabbing. No name calling. Usually, it was a calm resigning to what neither of us wanted, “Okay, let’s go.”
The How next issue.
February 18th, 2013 § 2 Comments
The Heart of the Matter – Forgiveness
I’ve been tryin’ to get down
To the heart of the matter
But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it’s about…forgiveness
Even if, even if you don’t love me anymore
Got in a fight with my wife. As it is with most fights, the doorway leading into this one was silly. What happened inside wasn’t. Rarely are fights fought entirely in the present. It starts in the present … between you and her. Before long though, the past jumps in – other people, other wrongs. By the time voices are raised, it’s a gang fight. Our fight was no different. Once escalated, the reason we’d gotten into it didn’t even matter. Things were said. Actions taken. Things that cannot be taken back; actions that cannot be undone.
It took a day to sort out. An apology was made. What we were then left with was a choice. Would the one offended extend forgiveness to the offender? The tricky part about forgiveness is that in most cases wrongs cannot be undone. Restitution cannot be made. Things are usually not set right. In most cases the offended bears the burden of reconciliation. That’s the trick. And man, it is so tempting, so tempting to muddy the waters of forgiveness with some sort of penance. The injustice of a free, refreshing, life-giving drink of pure water feels too much, and so a drop of bitterness to get something back.
We’ve been taught what Henley figured out. The heart of the matter is forgiveness. Restitution will not hold your hand. Pride will not keep you warm. “I will forgive, but never forget” will turn out the lights inside. It’s about forgiveness without the pound of flesh, without the drop of bitterness. It’s about forgiveness – the beauty of the costly drink paid for, paid for and offered pure and free to wash away the things said, the actions taken.