She couldn’t hold it in any longer. Her body heaved and shook. Her knees crumbled and she sunk to the floor… like the bird that just hit a glass window.
She wrapped her wringing hands to her breast and wept as my heart bled right along with her.
This was difficult for me. No parent ever loved her child more than this dedicated mother. She had gone through great sacrifices. Now her VERY young teenage daughter had defied her and a grown man had taken advantage.
My heart bled along with her because I knew the mistakes she had made. They could have been avoided. My heart bled because she did NOT know that she had been making mistakes. My heart bled because her mistakes had actually CAUSED the very thing she had been trying to avoid the most. My heart bled because with all my training and knowledge, I had failed her. She was STILL making those mistakes. My heart bled because I was powerless to make her see that the parenting methods her own mother had used on her, had only served to break the bond she once had with her precious daughter.
And my heart bled because the pervert was using all the techniques I wanted HER to use with her own child. The sick &%$#@er was winning! This was not a bad parent. She was a phenomenal mother. She just didn’t know what she didn’t know.
Spare Spoil the Rod And spoil Spare the Child?
Has it ever been harder to know what makes a good parent?
I suppose that parents throughout the annals of time have wondered about the quality of their parenting skills. But even the most developed societies are witnessing change from old to new parenting styles. Like everywhere else, the Caribbean is grappling with the sheer speed of that change.
Experts keep telling us that all those old practices are not only outdated, but harmful. Sending the child for that tamarind branch so Mama can give her a good old-fashioned “cut-ass” is no longer politically correct to even discuss in some circles.
But outside of those circles, the widespread opinion is “spare the rod and spoil the child.” And that goes along with footnotes mumbled under the breath: “And let our children become like those unruly American children we does see on TV? Hell no.”
The Challenge At Home
I knew the reason why Mommy just didn’t understand. When an entire society believes in something, it’s hard to accept when even an expert tells you otherwise. It’s not Mommy’s fault if her neighbors, her old teacher, her uncle, her pastor, and so many community leaders tell her what she’s doing is the correct way to spare the child.
She couldn’t accept it because I was a lone voice crying in the wilderness, and she was a loving parent who had to bring up her daughter in the 21st century without information and training for bringing up children in the 21st century.
How can we blame her when even the most respected, caring community leaders are STILL asking me to help with the youth by teaching parents to spoil the rod? THEY don’t know they’re shooting themselves in the foot either.
I need help in teaching the entire community that the “rod of correction” was used by shepherds of biblical days in the most tender ways. No self-respecting shepherd who knew his business ever beat sheep!
And I need you to help me in getting all parents to just ask the simple question. “Ok, so what if the experts are correct?”
Have you ever noticed that modern parenting skills require a fairly good understanding of basic psychology? You can’t push parenting skills down a community’s throat overnight without educating people. You have to ease people gently through the change-process, not take away what they are using without giving them nothing to work with. When you do, you end up creating a bigger problem than you solve.
Do you know what is the single biggest reason why we are seeing an explosion of discipline problems in our schools all over the western hemisphere?
The Challenge In Schools
Do we take away weapons from soldiers and then send them into battle?
What do you think we did to teachers when we took away corporal punishment in schools without taking it away in homes? How do we expect little Johnny to listen to his teacher when he is programmed to only behave himself when he gets a lashing, a twist of his ear, or harsh, disrespectful words in his ear?
There is just too big a gap between autocratic methods in homes, and “evidence-based” methods of modern schools.
And it is creating all kinds of mischief. People just don’t know. Parental involvement in the Caribbean NECESSARILY means parenting education as well. The disturbing part of all this is that it is such an emotionally charged issue that it stops reasonable discussion. And discussion is what we need most to ease the transition.
So that’s why I’m blogging about this!
Will you join me? Let’s continue the conversation. If you haven’t done so already, scroll up, top-right, and enter your email.
Time to stop the pain. Whad’yousay?