Unto the Least of These

A place for all of my random musings. Added accountability for my choice to be gentle. An online reminder that how I treat those around me - especially the children - is how I treat the King of Kings.

Location: United States

Sunday, June 18, 2006

'Put a Happy on...'

That's the phrase I heard uttered the other day.

I was talking to an aquaintance, and we were discussing our children. She was so proud of what her son said to her mother last week: 'Nana, ______ get spankings and it makes me be a good boy.'

I couldn't help it. I have made the decision to never be silent when it comes to the little ones. So I let the horror I felt show on my face, and I said "That is incredibly sad!" Of course, she was quite taken aback by this. Her church, her family, hands out the child abuse manuals written by Michael Pearl. This woman was raised with harsh methods such as those, and really, she knows no better.

She's just one of many misguided but loving people who see no other way to properly nurture a child. I should know - I once was one myself.

Anyway, she was running through all the familiar arguments to justify hitting a baby. 'They only get it when they really need it.' My response? "Who gives it to you?" Her: "That's different!"

"Well, they get this attitude that just has to be driven out of them."
"Are you past your attitudes yet, or do you (at nearly 40) still struggle?"
"That's different!"

"We believe in discipline."
"So do we. We *don't* believe discipline means hitting a child."
"It's not hitting, it's spanking. That's different."

"And we believe in the man ruling the home."
"So does he beat you when you get out of line? Because my husband doesn't hit me."

yada yada yada...you all get the general drift. Apparently, it's some mysterious component that makes this all legal and good and GODLY to do to a baby. I think I've identified what it is, too. Here's a hint....it has something to do with the ratio of body mass and which one in the parent/child equation has the legal right to hit.

After all...when children do to other children what their parents do to them - they get labeled as offenders, bullies, and mentally ill. Pharmaceutical companies make blood money from the rage these children have no other way to express, and thus get medicated for.

At the end of my conversation with this woman, she thought she'd dispense a wonderful child-rearing tip. 'We just do what my parents did. We say 'put a happy on NOW' and that means they have to change their facial expression right away. You should see how cute it is when tears are running down his face and he's trying to smile anyway because I told him to.'

I just started shaking my head - in honest bewilderment, too. I can not understand being so anal and arrogant that you feel the need to, and the right to, make someone else stuff down honest emotion because it inconveniences you.

I've seen the horrors that result from stuffing emotion over the long term. It leads to many, many diseases. That whole pesky mind/body connection, you know?

Yes, the Bible says 'A merry heart does good, like a medicine.'

When did we stop encouraging genuine joy in our children?

Why do we allow a few twisted, sick individuals to pervert that verse to read 'Make your child have a merry face, if necessary, by threatened or actual violence, so you don't have to look at them having any emotion other than robotic" ?


Blogger Kristin said...

I know I struggle with my kids negative emotions, I want them to 'get over it' (whatever it may be), but I don't want to teach them to stuff their emotions away either. Just because they are little, they shouldn't lose their voice.

10:25 PM  
Anonymous jennet said...

I came across this while I was searching for the scripture with the words "unto the least of these" and I just wanted to say..kudos! I totally agreed with what you wrote... more love, less spanking. Lord knows if I got one every time I deserved it, I'd be getting them a lot!

6:04 AM  
Blogger choosing gentleness said...

Thanks for your comment, Jennet!
One thing I totally believe is that no one 'deserves' a spanking.
The wages of sin is death, not a spanking.
Christ came to save us from that punishment.
Children are sinless before God - so why do they 'need' to be punished in a way that God Himself doesn't do?
Parents are instructed to correct and guide and teach.
Punishment is left up to the God who says the He is not willing for any to perish...

7:59 AM  
Blogger TulipGirl said...

Oh, you cut straight to the heart of things here. . . *hug* It makes me so sad. I'm amazed at how brave you were to speak up. It can be very hard to do.

And it is "different." But it is still wrong.

8:39 PM  

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