It's been just over 3 weeks since I last published a regular post. But just before that post I started a new tab labeled "Gratitudes" which is really another blog-space that I am using to record my gratitude daily. For so long I've wished for that magical Harry Potter pen so I could capture all of my musings, and it seems I have found a bit of real magic in starting this new habit. I've also often thought about how Doogie Howser would write a few of his thoughts down each night - musings and lessons he had learned - and I wondered "why can't *I* do that?" (not as in, why can't I physically do that, which of course I can, but why can't I find the motivation or the discipline for such a practice?) Also, I've heard the advice given before of keeping a blog to record your daily activities if you are homeschooling - and I thought that was a great idea too! The actually practice has eluded me until a month ago though.
It seems that I've finally found my "hook" - and it is gratitude. I highly recommend starting a blog and keeping track of your gratitude daily. I've found that I'm looking for the moments and snapping pictures, and now I'm actually even USING my pictures so it is just a great feeling! Plus I can look back over the days and see all of the wonderful people and happenings in my life. And this space is 100% for me so I know my motivation is pure. Sure, I know family will appreciate it too, and maybe a few curious readers might benefit from seeing snapshots of what an unschooling family's life looks like, but it is mostly for me.(Unlike the ego motivated ramblings I post here, in which I try to spread world peace and overtake the world with my ideas of how to achieve this. Keep reading for more of that!)
Again, did I mention that I highly recommend this (gratitude) practice? Life changing.
Anyway. Blah blah blah. (I mean how long can I ramble about life changing gratitude - there is only so much you can say!)
Spanking has been in the spotlight- have you noticed? I have. And I've somehow maintained a sense of peace and calm through the whole storm (in large part because of my new gratitude practice). Because I know the truth and nothing can sway me from it.
The truth is that hitting and hurting our children will never be the answer. No justifications or qualifications will ever make it right. There will only be ramifications. And yet I remain peaceful inside - even after reading ridiculous arguments and comments and sad stories of countless people trying to make sense of violence against our weakest, most vulnerable members of society. Because I understand why they say what they do. Because I know that it is too painful or difficult for many to face the truth that is their own upbringing, and the fact that they are perpetuating the cycle with their own children.
But feeling peaceful doesn't mean we stay silent. And just because there are many other eloquent voices out there saying the same thing that I am, that does not mean I'll stop. And just because they say it a million times better than I am - with more conviction, stronger arguments, and more clarity of thought (forgive me - I'm tired!), that doesn't mean my words don't matter. We never know who we may touch on any given day. Maybe it will be your closest loved one or a stranger half way across the world, and there is a good chance that we'll never even know what impact we may have, but that doesn't mean we give up.
Two arguments defending spanking stood out for me last week. The first: that as long as our government is violent, our parenting will have to be. This is an interesting thought and I understand where that line of reasoning is coming from and going - that our laws are backed up by FORCE, sometimes lethal force, and that we must prepare our children for that reality. For me this is a great reason to parent the way I do - because I want things to change. We can't change things by staying in the same paradigm.
And second, the argument that ALL parenting comes down to parents "doing" things to children that the children aren't allowed to do (take things from them, send them to their room, tell them "no" etc.) The reason? "Because that's how the parent-child relationship works." This reasoning actually makes giggles bubble up inside of me because the person that wrote this is so clearly not even CLOSE to inhabiting the same beautiful world that I do. And so, I can only laugh. Clearly it hasn't even occurred to this person that some parents actually eschew (how's that for a big word??) ALL forms of punishment. The idea that parenting can actually be about respecting, loving, guiding, problem solving. and compromising hasn't even occurred to this person. So I have no words or argument that would convince someone like this at this point in time.
So I remind myself: We only have our own lives as examples. This will be our biggest contribution, Always.
Listen People! Embracing peaceful parenting does NOT mean you will be perfect. We will always be imperfect humans. I am often less loving and patient than I wish I was. It means that we ADMIT when we are wrong. It means we say "Sorry". It means we try harder. It means we seek better ways ALWAYS. We do not become some super-human when we become parents. Too many parents are clinging to the idea that they must have all the answers, that they must be "RIGHT". There is nothing further from the truth.
Spanking is wrong. Period. End of story. Don't be afraid of this truth, embrace it! Shout it from the mountaintops, revel and roll in it! You DON'T HAVE TO HIT YOUR KID! Isn't that amazing news? Don't you feel the light? It feels so good. There are other people out there practicing this very strange truth right now and they can tell you how liberating it is. It isn't always easy, no. But it is possible. You just have to start looking in the right places, and you will find your answers.
There are very few things I'm willing to take such a strong stand on, but this is one of them. Please be brave and let others know if you feel the same way.
ps What? You were spanked and you "turned out fine"? I have another read for you here.
Wife, mom, information and peace seeker.