Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Something tells me we're not getting the whole story...


Dear Abby:
My father used a leather slipper on me instead of a belt. He also used his hand and his impressive vocabulary to keep me in line. Was I afraid of him? Absolutely! Did I love him? I am still not sure. I grew up to be a woman who is afraid of men, afraid of making a mistake, afraid to share myself and my ideas, and generally timid about life.
John’s daughters are learning that the way men in their lives show love is to beat them. He is setting his girls up to marry abusers because they think abuse is normal behavior. I hope John realizes soon that fear and love cannot share the same space in a child’s heart.
This, friends, is complete, utter, unmitigated bunk. I think it would be interesting to find out exactly how this woman's childhood went...because it would seem to me that, in addition to her father apparently ruling the house with an iron fist, this woman has other deep-seated issues that probably stem from verbal abuse and lack of any kind of rapport with her father as well as dear old Dad overdoing it with the corporal punishment and not giving her any kind of positive reinforcement when she did as she was told. Both of my sisters and I, when we were growing up, got the belt when we were bad, but I didn't grow up and think hitting a woman equated to showing her love, and as far as I know neither of my sisters thought that either. But then we got that positive reinforcement when we did what Mom and Dad told us to do, and they took an interest in us and our lives and interests...they were parents, as they should have been, and it's because of that, that I for one just took the episodes with the belt as punishment for making bad choices. Honestly, I don't know if timeouts or groundings would have worked all by themselves. That immediate and painful negative reinforcement sometimes is exactly what a kid needs. No, I'm not a child psychologist...but I WAS a kid once. I know what worked with me, and while I don't think "one size fits all," I think completely doing away with corporal punishment as a tool of discipline is a terrible mistake. Sometimes I wonder if any of those aforementioned child psychologists who eschew corporal punishment were ever really kids themselves, or if they were just indoctrinated by their professors. I know that last thing sounds so damn trite sometimes, but honestly I don't know how else to explain a LOT of the politically correct crap that comes out of the nation's universities; yesterday's post about the ex-Va. Tech student was a perfect example of that. You hear a lot of talk about the "Greatest Generation," the generation that weathered the Great Depression and then, weary as they might have been, went, fought and won a years-long world-wide war...I will bet you everything I have of value that when they were growing up, they got the belt or whatever when they were bad too, but they obviously didn't take the lessons with the belt to mean that physical abuse equated to love, else they'd have gotten the reputation as a herd of violent and abusive psychopaths as opposed to having set the standard of how Americans should weather hard times and fight wars against existential threats...and, well, somehow I think they would not have taken to fighting a "more sensitive" war against the Germans and Japanese, that they would have ultimately seen such as national suicide. But back on topic...
Are John’s children obeying because they are making good choices or because they are afraid of the belt?
False choice. Who says it can't be both? I was afraid of the belt too, but I came to figure out that the good choices were the ones that didn't get me the belt. Somehow I doubt I am the only one. Anybody else wanna weigh in?