There are some situations you just don’t know how best to deal with them. Continue reading
I found it (or it found me). Spare the rod…in the bible.
Originally posted on TIME:
The “cool pope” is speaking out in favor of physical discipline, bringing spanking back into the news.
Though I come from an evangelical background, I admire the pope, and so found his latest comments frustrating.
I don’t spank my children. (Full disclosure: my children are still quite young—but so far, so good.)
My relatives all spank their children with reckless impunity. To them I know it seems so simple: the actions of the child who has disobeyed is immediately met with the power and authority of their mighty hand, by which the child immediately learns that he or she has done wrong.
But I don’t discipline my kids that way. And people judge me for that. One relative mentioned casually to my husband, “You guys can get away with not spanking, because your kids listen—but my kid won’t do anything unless she’s spanked.”
I wanted to argue; I wanted…
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Growing up in the small town where I did, I did not have any opportunity to negotiate with my parents on anything (when I did get my chance I still felt that I still had to oblige). It was their home, my siblings and I did not have any say. It was once said I don’t know to whom specifically, if we wanted a say we had to get our homes. The regime at home was authoritative. We all learnt to live in our little North Korea. I look at children today and I am envious. With the advent of human rights and the recognition of the rights of the children, at the forefront their best interests, their rights of participation and expression; children today have it all. :-) To have to choose the school to attend, the foods to eat, and the goodies their parents have to buy for them is blissfully democratic for the children. The closest thing I had to that liberty was to refuse to attend a boarding school. Based on the ‘horror’ stories I had heard of boarding schools, I stuck to my guns and got my way. When it came to discipline and instilling it, it wasn’t a matter of negotiations. It was instilled ‘fair’ and square. Growing up, even the neighbors were justified to punish a child on behalf of the parents for any wrong done in their presence. It was like the powers in citizens’ arrest. With authority from a common knowledge that it took a whole village to raise a child. Currently, I don’t think we have time to raise our own children. I laud the right of participation for the children. And I don’t know how better I would have exercised it better when it came to instilling discipline in children. Apologies, being grounded and detentions are how it is done these days. In my time, every parent believed that the rod could not be spared. They say it was prescribed by god, and it was written in the bible (I don’t know where). Are we not heeding to the same commands or did we get the right interpretation? I don’t know if I would have been different if I got to choose and negotiate my punishment for my transgression. My apologies were always voluntary any time it crossed my mind that I may have done some wrong. I thought of the consequences pre and post my actions. And this guides me to date. I’m seated in this restaurant. It seems to be a lazy afternoon and I wait for my rendezvous. She’s running late and I’ve not started to mind the lateness as I have a book in hand. She has been five minutes away for the past twenty. Maybe she is held up in the traffic, maybe. I ordered myself some cocopine juice. It came with those small umbrellas, a red one, and a pineapple garnish. I guess they want to create a feeling in me that I’m in a holiday resort and it doesn’t work in me. Well, the Saturday sun is angrily shining. It has stolen all the humidity and the cocopine does taste resortlike. Across the gazebo where I’m seated is a neatly manicured lawn. A multicolored jumping castle has been set up for the children. And they are mirthfully scurrying around it. Others are jumping in and out of the airy castle as their parents watch from afar from where they sit. The restaurant is not busy-busy for a weekend. But the stewards are up and about in their penguin uniform taking and bringing orders around. I look down at my book and up to take in the sorrounding. My attention has been caught by the family seated in the next gazebo. A father, mother with a baby swathed, a son about seven years old and a daughter about five years old. The baby is colic the mother has tried the bottle and the pacifier and both aren’t working. The mother is now pacing around frustrated as she tries to soothe. I guess it is the heat, I can feel the droplets of sweat gathered on my bosom slowly trickling down to my navel and getting absorbed by my blouse. The father seems overwhelmed by his two sugar high children. Two cones of pink and chocolatey ice creams lie carelessly on their table melting away. Their food arrived about five minutes ago but the father cannot get the children seated to enjoy it. The son is running around after the butterflies on the flowers planted around every gazebo. The daughter is on the bench around the table of the umbrella shade. She’s trying to climb on the table to reach the Fanta orange the mother has left uncapped and unattended on their table. I glance at my watch, my friend is really getting late.The juice I ordered is still very cold. Air has condensed around the glass, and the droplets are sliding and dripping onto the Heineken coaster. I think I should have ordered a beer instead. I can’t read. The baby is wailing. Veins appear on its mother’s forehead. The Fanta on the table is now spilt. The cream baby bag on the table is sipping the orange liquid. The father is begging the daughter to come down the table, she moves her shoulders up and down in defiance. The son is seated on the grass around their table with a plate of French fries, the burger has been placed on the grass, to be eaten later I think. The sun encroaches to where he sits, near the gazebo’s entrance, and his mother calls on him to get off the grass as there may be some bugs. She is unconcerned about the burger on the ground. The father has managed to get the daughter off the table but not without a fight. The daughter has hit him with the melty ice cream cone squarely on her left breast. Where the heart is said to be, he now has a brown patch on his blue t-shirt. She runs off towards me, the father calls after her with detention threats. I am looking at the little girl approach and I smile. I look up and see the father trying to wipe off the dark cream from his shirt. He makes the stain worse. The wife seems to be telling him something and he gesticulates with a hand full of serviettes. In the mayhem their son seems to have gone. I didn’t see him leave, but his plate of fries is still where he sat. The burger is still on the ground. My little friend has grabbed my juice, she sips the cold contents from the glass through the straw while toying with the little red umbrella. She pretends to put it over her head as though in was a large umbrella. I smile and try to make a conversation. She picks the glass of juice and leaves saying daddy told me not to talk to strangers. Her dad notices and come towards me spilling apologies. Her mum now angry calls after her, Stacy. The baby is still crying. Stacy edges towards the bouncing castle with her juice. Before the father gets to where I sit my phone rings. I smile at him and raise my thumb and whisper, its okay. He shrugs his shoulder, sign something with his hands I don’t understand and raise his thumb the mean, it’s Ok. He goes after his daughter. I’m on the phone and ask my friend we meet at the pub. I head to the pub in the restaurant trying to think how my parents would have acted in such circumstances. I order my beer before my friend arrives. I sip and appreciate the ‘village’ that raised me.