Sunday, June 27, 2010

To Smack or not to Smack

Status: Insightful

What's playing on 101.9 RXP Stream? I WAS A TEENAGE ANARCHIST- by Against Me!

I love debates. I know there are many out there who feel the opposite, but a good debate gives me a rush. Of course there is an art to debate, and it boggles my mind at how many people are UNAWARE of this art, and it's not really that complicated. I got four rules that I think would help this world.

1. Ya gotta frickin' listen. We were born with two ears and one mouth so that should be a clue, and note the contrast between hearing and listening.

2. Give props. "Never thought of it that way," or "good point," are part of my verbal repertoire, granted they're warranted. Here's the kicker...it should be reciprocated. A flag should go up when someone refuses to acknowledge common knowledge. That means they are a fugeize face.

3. Always treat your idealogical opponent with dignity and respect. There is nothing constructive about mudflinging and reveals more about the flinger then the...flingee?

4. Lastly, but real important-like...back your sh#% up. There is nothing more frustrating than somebody going on a tangent who is clearly ignorant about their facts but is clueless as to that ignorance. I will engage politely, usually with a question, but a mudflinging ranter is a hard thing to overcome. To them I just fold my hands together, smile politely, and do all in my power to depart.

There's more of course, but these are the Big Four. At least in my humble opinion.

So why am I sharing this? Well, since you asked, I got into a heated debate with this woman about smacking kids. The lady I debated with (whom I shall not reveal) had a different stance from me and it was this: Under no circumstances should a child ever be struck. Ever. There is always a better way.

I can respect that.

My personal opinion is similar but profoundly different, and it's this: Hitting a child should always be reserved for Plan DoubleZ. Last Resort. If there's a better, more illuminating or psychological way to address the problem, deal me in. I'm open. But I've noticed that there comes a time when a child, and not all of them for sure, but some of them, are 150% committed to defying their parents, to authority in general. Where I come from, that was not tolerated. I loved my parents but I feared them. "Wait till your father gets home" were words that could ruin my universe.

Where I come from, there were consequences to breaking rules; in fact I can think of many times when I was confronted with peer pressure. "Let's go vandalize West Hartford by dumping a carload of newspapers from the back of a hatchback," is a concrete instance I can recall from miscreant friends. I remember being called a wuss, a pussycat minus the cat, even a yeller bellied muskrat (alright, maybe not that one) but you get the gist. My reply?

A serene smile and a shake of my head. "I'll take a pass."

There wasn't any insult in any language in this whole cosmos that could get me to risk my father's wrath. No way. Sorry, come back again. And if I was going to do such a thing (which I did extremely rarely)...newspapers? Really?

Here's the most important part. My father tempered it with love. When my Paw (that's southern folks though I don't have a drop) unleashed, it was always followed by, mmmm, I'm gonna say an hour or two, of his coming to our room (my sister too) sitting us on his leg and asking us if we understood exactly what had happened, and why it had happened. He would then ask us if we believed that he loved us. It was a serious question, I can still remember. We'd then babble and leak tears, of course we did, he was our hero (my Maw too), and then he'd tell us how much he loved us. AND THEN, and I remember distinctly the look that would come in his eyes--molten steel-- when he'd tell us point blank that if we ever did whatever trespass we'd committed...we'd get it twice as bad. And it was the truth. And we believed him. And then he'd tell us to go play. Guess what? We didn't do it again.

Drat, I have so much more to say but once again I'm reaching novella status. Let me end by saying this. The heated debate with my...acquaintance, ended well, and though neither of us persuaded the other to their side, I did get a grudging acquiesence that I might have a point. Maybe. Her passion was that abuse of a child is an abomination, which I agree with. In that regard, she was preaching to the choir. I invested my energy with her because I value her opinion, and...I love to debate :)

And that's my angle. I would love to hear yours.

Steve out.

If I could wave a magic wand list item #3: Control my dreams