Morality Gaps – PG-13 mentions corporal punishment

We all have gaps in our morality.  We also have opinions about stuff we know absolutely about.  It could be called ignorance, it could be called stupidity.  We are all stupid when it comes to some things.

I have been having these encounters regularly with a neighbor, friend of the family, Small’s friend’s mom, someone I know.  It started a few months ago when she told me she didn’t like an article I had written about geriatric hair styles.  She said she didn’t see people wearing buns.  Oh, and what did “geriatric” mean, anyway?

Something like that can be funny.  At the time I thought I let it go.   I didn’t even bother to tell her what I thought of her opinion.  She has no ‘in’ at a major publishing house.  It really doesn’t matter what she thinks.  That she doesn’t really pay too much attention to the things people say or do, except for to complain about them.  I confronted her about one of the situations where all she does is blab bad stuff about someone.  She quit avoided me/quit for a couple of weeks, but it goes on.

Lately she asked if my clients paid for their services.  I said no.  I don’t think that they do.  She, of course, had an opinion about that.  Something about people paying for their services was much better than someone else doing it for them.  This is where the morality gap comes in.  She told me how, although her college aged daughter lives with the ex-husband, she claims her on her FAFSA form so she qualifies for grants for school.  She also applies for herself, and even though her partner earns a ton of money, so she gets grants too.  Free money.  Money that perhaps could go to people who are actually in need of it.

We all have these things, I know.  I don’t want to be too big of a jerk.  I think is the thing that put me over the edge.  Our kids were playing in the cul de sac.  One of hers did something wrong.  I do not know what it was.  She took him inside while he was crying, “I don’t want to go inside!  I don’t want to go inside!”  Assigning positive intent, there have been instances I have taken Small inside to have a  little chat about what was going on and how it would change.  Then, we’d forget about it and go outside where she could play again.  She cleaned up her act, we got any confusion cleaned up and returned to the game.  I tried not to think or judge about what was going on in there.  Unless she’s beating him to near death, it’s not really up to me to tell her how to raise her children.   Mom came back, very happy, saying that she got him really good and thought that she left a mark.  My blood froze.  This sort of thing is doubtlessly abuse and I’ve called CPS on parents for less.  I couldn’t get out of their fast enough.  The other mother there said it “didn’t work” on her kids.  They seemed to agree that it was great to be able to strike their small children.  I gave Small a five minute warning to leave, and we left.

This is what gets me the most, and you spankers out there, please don’t leave yet.  Some people claim it is their Biblical mandate to spank their kids.  Some people claim it is not.  There are arguments on both sides and I freely admit my views on the subject, however, I think, even if I decided to spank my child, it would be grievous, and a tragedy.  The child would have done something dangerous or dangerously immoral or decided purposely to hit another person.  I would not gleefully get out the belt as one man I know used to do (probably still does) on his three boys.

I know the mom is reading, or has read,  “The Strong Willed Child.”  by James Dobson, is one of the books I read before I got pregnant that told me I could never have children if this was the way you’ve got to treat them.  It’s the “if they don’t respond to spanking, spank them harder and more frequently.”  I have no love for Dobson.  I think his teachings can be detrimental to children  and their families.  “Break their will, not their spirit.”  Please.

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