I've kept a journal since I was able to put pen to paper, which has been my saving grace through many challenging times. I have to remember every detail that lead me to the page. My insecurities have kept my thoughts in a file, collecting dust. I’m getting my feet wet here & may just have to dust those journals off one day and go into detail…typos, bad grammar & all :)
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Spare the rod, spoil the child?...etc.
When I saw the video of Hilary Adams being “reprimanded” with a belt at the hands of her father, I was at once nauseous. I couldn’t watch the entire clip. My immediate reaction to her father being a judge was, “This guy makes calls in our judicial system.” It was his words that made me hit play again and sit through the entire thing.
I want to be very clear here: In no way am I trying to lessen her pain or her experience--the words spewing from her father’s mouth were harsh enough on their own. Sticks and stones…yeah, words hurt indeed.
Anyhow, my brother and I were beaten with a belt ten fold--on a weekly basis. We were often told, “Go get ready for the belt.” That meant go to our room, remove our clothes, sit on the edge of the bed and wait. Often the wait was worse than the belt.
My mom, bless her heart—she was high most of the time—she would swing whatever leather belt was holding up her too big pants that day—she’d swing it with all her 5’4” might, whacking us with each syllable of her dissertation. For me, the natural reaction would be to attempt to deflect the leather with my arms behind me letting the palms of my hands take the impact, unable to hold a pencil in school the next day. The hand can only deflect so much and you could only get away with not suiting up for gym class so many times.
Looking back, I remember everywhere we went, people would tell my mom how incredibly well mannered my brother and I were. You would be too if the standard threat was, “I’ll knock your teeth down your throat.” That was always such a bizarre visual to me…my teeth going down my throat.
I know my mom was only doing what was done to her, but I’m proud to say that tradition has not carried on in my parenting. But in all honesty, when I see the way children disrespect their parents today I think, “They need a good ass-whippin.” So I’m calling myself out. How hypocritical of me to have never swung a belt at my son, but wish it on others kids? I guess I don’t mean it literally…but maybe I do. I need to address this with myself.
People like former Penn State football assistant Sandusky, who take advantage of children and rob them of their innocence, are the ones who need a beating...and then some. What the hell is wrong with people who consciously make the choice to violate a child in such a horrific way? This has got to stop. It’s gone on long enough!
I’m not an Oprah guru, but I remember a show of hers many years ago, where the guests had all been molested. Each and every one of them said if someone has “asked them” if anyone touched them inappropriately, they would’ve told them. But it wasn’t something they were about to offer up voluntarily.
The point being, if you communicate with your children, ask them these kinds of questions on a regular basis, you will know the difference in their response when something is not right.
I began this open dialogue with my son in grade school. We had many discussions that it’s not okay for anyone to touch you inappropriately—ever. I’d pick him up from school and say, “How was your day? Anyone touch you inappropriately?” Not every day mind you, but it was about that question not being uncomfortable for him. Of course he rolled his eyes in the beginning, but as he grew older his response became, “No luck today mom.” Good Lord, please don’t take offense to that—it’s what worked for us. I felt confident that I would recognize his response if it was ever different.
Sadly, no one can be trusted, anywhere. It sucks, but if we don’t give our children the heads up that it’s “not okay”, they’re liable to be swayed and then left with a blanket of shame. These sickos know what they’re doing and they’re good at it for lack of a better term. And don’t think “Uncle Joe” is not a threat. It’s most often someone you “think” you can trust.
Know where your kids are. At all times. Be vigilant. If someone thinks you’re a bit over protective, so be it. It may save your child from growing up consumed with shame and guilt--surrounded by a brick wall. Unable to trust. And oh so much more fallout that takes a lifetime of work to let go of…