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In this life we can not always do great things. But we can do small things with great love.." :) Mother Teresa

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“I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God- it changes me.”
― C. S. Lewis


I believe in the sun even when it's not shining. I believe in love even when I don't feel it. And I believe in God even when He is silent. (quote found on the wall of a concentration camp)

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Friday, September 7, 2012

The Special Time....

I witnessed something about 2 months ago that has been on my mind but I could not put it into words until tonight.....

I took Alli out for a "special time" and part of that time was stopping at Taco Bueno and the Art Store.
While we were at Taco Bueno, TRYING to mind our own business, we witnessed a scene I shall not soon forget.
There were 3 women.  2 had small children under 4.  One was an older woman, my age, that I might assume was the younger women's mother, or a mentor.
They were QUITE LOUD in their conversation and we could not help but see and hear their overt antics.
The children, 3 of them were rather ill behaved.  The little boy, I would guess was around 3.  The little girl was around 2 and the baby was MAYBE 8 months old at the most.....
The 3 women talked amongst each other and ZERO attention was payed to the children except to THREATEN them with a SPOON! In fact, EACH of those women had a LARGE WOODEN SPOON!  They had them laying on the table and in diaper bags.....
The little boy crawled under the table and they threatened him with a SPOON!  Then the little girl was yelling and she was threatened with a spoon....
The thing that was so DISTURBING was that the women were "laughing" about it, as if it was FUNNY!  It was rather creepy!
They went on to describe a brother who had a LARGE paddle with holes drilled in it, because spanking was supposed to hurt!
Alli and I looked at each other after that comment and she whispered to me, "I'd rather live in an orphanage than live with THAT woman!"
For a kid who has lived in an orphanage, that was saying A LOT!
We quietly talked about normal kid behavior and how certain situations could be managed without
the threat of spankings....
I was so proud of Alli, who TOTALLY understood.

The next scenario still makes me sad. The little boy was asked, "Do you have to go to the bathroom?"
He replied no.  His mother insisted he did and off they went.  She took that LARGE WOODEN SPOON and tucked it into her trousers as the older lady and other woman laughed..... I felt like crying. When they came from the bathroom, the little boy had been crying. :(
I don't know what happened in that bathroom but my heart hurt for that little boy.
They came back and by then, the baby was hungry.
The one mother began to feed the baby his bottle. One lady said, "He is WAY too old for you to be feeding him! He needs to feed himself! He is MANIPULATING YOU!
The other mother immediately, Like a ROBOT, I might add, put the bottle in front of the baby and he shrieked with frustration.... He tried to get it, but didn't have the skills.  The mother THREATENED him with the spoon..... "Do I need to SPANK YOU?" 
I felt ILL.  I also had this vision of walking over to their table and telling them I worked for social services..... but that wouldn't have been true.  I thought about talking to them but knew it wouldn't have been received. I would have been dismissed as a liberal nut.

Several things went through my mind and honestly, I didn't know what to do!
I had not witnessed them actually HURT any of the kids physically....but I knew that was most likely
what was happening.
It is an AWFUL feeling to watch such IGNORANCE.
A couple of days ago, I talked to a friend who is truly worried about somebody SHE knows that is also under the delusion that the only way to discipline children is punitive.  She is PROUD of that "control".
My friend's heart was HURTING and she is fasting about what to say. Yet, she did not feel worthy to talk to her friend because she was not a perfect parent herself.
 NONE of us are perfect parents.  NOT ONE OF US..... Sometimes I think the unrealistic expectation of perfection keeps us from rightly speaking truth.

The truth is, I believe in both of these situations, the people have intentions that are "good".
They WANT their  children to do well.  They are hopelessly MISINFORMED that corporal punishment is NECESSARY to achieve success, when the truth is, that it is just NOT TRUE!
They have misconstrued some PROVERBS and taken scripture totally OUT OF CONTEXT!
And I would BET... they have read "To Train Up A Child" by the Pearls.
Somehow, they think that "GOD" has "spanked" them... which is ABSURD!
Corporal punishment may wind up having "IMMEDIATE RESULTS" based upon FEAR!!!
That does NOT build relationship. 
God does NOT spank us!  SORRY! It just IS NOT TRUE!
FIRST TIME OBEDIENCE is JUST NOT IN SCRIPTURE!!!!  Look at ANY ONE OF the Patriarchs in Scripture..... it just is NOT there!
God has ALWAYS been long suffering and patient in regards to mankind.

As Alli and I drove home from our special time, even though it was distracted by women who would have caused EXTREME TRAUMA in Alli's life, she talked about how thankful she was that she was NOT in that situation.

God wants us to have RELATIONSHIP with our children, as HE has relationship with US!
We are HIS children!  Our relationship is RICH and based upon LOVE! 
I would be very sad if my children's obedience was based upon "fear" and not "relationship".
I do NOT want them to obey because they FEAR me!
I want them to obey out of Love!   I also want them to obey out of their love for Christ. 

I am still saddened by what I saw.  I can only hope that these women will come to a true knowledge of TRUTH that LOVE is the answer and not some misconstrued need for "control". 
I am still creeped out that anybody who would spank a child would also be "joyful" about it!

Alli's response to all this gave me great hope for her future that she TRULY understands LOVE. :)
I just feel badly for those little ones who are being subjected to such ignorant cruelty in the name of Christ!


Anonymous said...

:( Those poor kids... I never have understood the idea that children should act like adults, and if they don't they should be punished... That doesn't mean that they should be allowed to act like animals, but when they are acting like children (like the little boy getting under the table) I believe they should be spoken to, NOT threatened!!! I babysit for someone who spanks, and for the life of me I cannot understand her views on parenting. She clearly doesn't enjoy time with her kids (whenever I am over she yells and sighs when they are around) and brags about being a "mean mom". From reading blogs like yours, I think one of her children has been affected by it. He acts like he has ADHD, but whenever I watch him it looks more like a child that is starved for attention/trying to get away from his thoughts... But obviously I can make a diagnosis. Lol! I still don't understand the idea that parenting should be done in a way that makes a childs life miserable... Kids should enjoy their childhood!! I also can't understand the idea of loving a child as much as everyone says you do when they are yours, but wanting to hit them. I don't have the same love that a parent would for the children I babysit, and I still don't ever want to hurt them!

Claire said...

I just cannot believe that it is still legal to hit children in some parts of the US,even in schools!

I am glad that Alli was able to handle the situation so well.

JJ said...

My heart breaks for those children! I can't say what I would have done in the situation, because I don't know, but I might have gotten a whuppin' myself for what I think I might have done, lol. This scenario sickens me! Glad Alli is doing so well, and that she handled this.

r. said...

It sounds like the toddlers were being toddlers and the baby was being a baby.

It reminds me of a news story I heard several years ago about the phonics vs. whole language debate. One of the people interviewed said that the vast majority of kids--something like 80%, maybe--will learn how to read no matter which method the teacher uses. The question is, which method is more likely to reach the more marginal learners as well. And went unsaid, of course, is that there's also a certain fraction of those marginal students who will need a completely customized, 1-on-1 approach.

I kind of see the discipline thing as like that, too. Those kids you described seemed to all be displaying age-appropriate behavior, and in the long run, the results would probably be the same no matter what discipline approach the parents used. And I'm not even going to argue about which discipline approach is better overall to reach that 20% (or whatever the percentage is) of kids who won't necessarily be okay no matter what. But I think it's pretty clear that older adopted kids might fall into that fraction of the 20% that need something completely customized to their particular situation. And, like you've suggested in this and other posts, what's most discomfiting about the whole "spanking theology" isn't just that it might be the exact wrong thing for the child, but that people who think it's the word of God are less likely to even try something different when it's clearly not working for the child.

I don't know the details of your girls' treatment by their other parents (and that's their story to tell), but whatever it was, I'm glad they ended up with parents who were willing to put the control game aside and nurture the relationship.

P.S. The part about the paddle with the holes in it also makes me cringe. I had never even heard of such a thing until a friend told me about his fraternity's hazing rituals. If it's painful for the 18-year-olds, I'd hate to think of what it's like for a child.

I mean, where does one even buy a paddle nowadays? It's not like there's a paddle aisle at Wal-Mart. (Am I missing something?) Are they sold at Christian bookstores or something? (I'm not being facetious. I can't think of any place that sells them, except perhaps adult novelty shops and those little stores near college campuses that cater to the Greek organizations. But it occurs to me that I've never been in a Christian bookstore, so maybe that's where they're all coming from??)

r. said...

One idea -- If something ever rises to the level where you think it needs to be reported to CPS (but you don't want to call 911), one option is to leave the restaurant first and wait in the car so you can see the people's license plate when they drive off. That would give the authorities a way to find them even if you didn't have their names.

Christie M said...

JJ- I was so VERY close to walking up and introducing myself as a social worker and even trying to talk to them..... but I didn't.

And social services isn't the end all answer to everything either. Sometimes kids wind up in a much worse situation than they were before. Education, ESPECIALLY within the church there is much need for biblical exegesis in this area.
There is so much misinformation in this area and parents are put under HUGE burdens. It is so very sad.

Alyssa, you are a wise young lady to make those observations!

r.- We were actually GIVEN a paddle by a well meaning person when we adopted Anna. I have to say I was speechless. I was also told that this particular group gave one to every new parent. Where did they get them? I don't know.... It looks like a mini- boat oar. I thought about throwing it out, but have kept it in a drawer to remind me of that day and to eventually use it to help educate people on what NOT TO DO!!!!
In fact, a person in this same group told me when they found out we were adopting that we couldn't adopt because "You can't spank!"
That was one of the most disturbing and confusing conversations I think I have ever had. :/

I like your correlation with reading and child discipline. And I think you are correct.
I remember those "whole language"vs "phonics" discussions years ago.

Christie M said...

r. I know if there was something VERY CLEAR CUT where a child was in danger what I would do. But I don't feel it right to be the secret service.
I think education and talking to people is the way to go.
Had I had it to do over again, and Alli was not with me, I would DEFINITELY have struck up (no pun intended) a conversation, asked questions and planted seeds of change, in a careful way.

Honestly, I wish the "secret reporting" method was NEVER used. I have known people who were "turned in", just for home schooling, or because somebody didn't like their imperfect home.
The system can be used that way and it is wrong.
I am one for standing up for truth TO the one you feel is causing harm.

I have called police on 2 occasions. Both many years ago, and both were OBVIOUS cases of TRUE child abuse where the child was being PUMMELED. Why I witnessed it twice, I don't know, but both times called 911. One little girl was covered in red welts, stripped down to her underwear in a public restroom as her mother beat her with a belt and yelled obscenities at her. I think the woman was obviously mentally unstable and I will never forget that little girl trembling in fear.
The other time was in a grocery store parking lot where a BABY was being PUNCHED by a woman also screaming at the top of her lungs to tell the child to shut up.
I have no problem with calling police for that kind of situation.

r. said...

I agree with you that this occasion doesn't sound like it rose to the level of reporting to CPS; I just wasn't sure from your post whether you felt that way.

That said, I think there are instances where calling the hotline is preferable over calling 911. Say the 2 year old couldn't sit down and you overheard the mother saying to her friends, "We used the paddle with the holes drilled in it." In that case, the damage was done and the kids weren't in imminent danger, so it might be better to report in a way that didn't involve the trauma of having the police arrive. I think you make good points about the system being abused and overused though.

Ivy said...

very good post!

While there are times that we have spanked Will I can say, in all honesty, that I have never felt good about it. Not once. When it has happened it is always because we have felt "like we had to" or we didn't know what else to do. And I can also say, in all honesty, that my son is growing in the Lord and is a wonderful, kind, (mostly :-) well-behaved little boy AND I HAVE NO CONFIDENCE that any spanking he has ever recieved has been helpful in acheiving that end. Spanking, IMHO, is one of the most potentially volitle, hurtful and foolish ways a parent can behave and should be intentionally guarded against (or forsaken entirely!).

And if I hear one more time that it is "God's method of teaching children" I really think I might just barf. :-)

and those are my two cents...:-)

Annie said...

Just makes me sick. So hard to understand.

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