Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Whew! I feel GREAT: It's Someone Else's Job To Raise My Kids!

I have received this e-mail chain letter a few times recently. I really dislike chain mail because it is usually such bloody garbage, but this takes the cake.

READ it and then READ MY RESPONSE. It is long. You're going to be here a while so get a coffee - or a scotch: Laphroaigh Quarter Cask preferably.

Here's the chain mail:

Dear God:

Why didn't you save the school children at ?. ..

Moses Lake, Washington 2/2/96
Bethel, Alaska 2/19/97
Pearl, Mississippi 10/1/97
West Paducah, Kentucky 12/1/97
Stamp, Arkansas 12/15/97
Jonesboro, Arkansas 3/24/98
Edinboro, Pennsylvania 4/24/98
Fayetteville, Tennessee 5/19/98
Springfield, Oregon 5/21/98
Richmond, Virginia 6/15/98

Littleton, Colorado 4/20/99
Taber, Alberta, Canada 5/28/99
Conyers, Georgia 5/20/99
Deming, New Mexico 11/19/99
Fort Gibson, Oklahoma 12/6/99
Santee, California 3/ 5/01
El Cajon, California 3/22/01 and

Blacksburg, VA 4/16/07 ?

Sincerely,

Concerned Student
-----------------------------------------------------
Reply:

Dear Concerned Student:
Sorry,

I am not allowed in schools.

Sincerely,

God

----------------------------------------------------------

How did this get started?...

Let's see,
I think it started when Madeline Murray O'Hare complained
She didn't want any prayer in our schools.

And we said, OK.

Then, someone said you better not:
Read the Bible in school;
The Bible that says
"thou shalt not kill,
Thou shalt not steal,
And love your neighbors as yourself,"

And we said, OK...

Dr. Benjamin Spock said
We shouldn't spank our children
When they misbehaved
Because their little personalities
Would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem.

And we said,
An expert should know what he's talking about
So we won't spank them any more..

Then someone said
Teachers and principals better not
Discipline our children when they misbehave.
And the school administrators said
No faculty member in this school
Better touch a student when they misbehave
Because we don't want any bad publicity,
And we surely don't want to be sued.

And we accepted their reasoning...

Then someone said,
let's let our daughters have abortions if they want,
And they won't even have to tell their parents.

And we said, that's a grand idea.

Then some wise school board member said,
Since boys will be boys
And they're going to do it anyway,
let's give our sons all the condoms they want,
So they can have all the fun they desire,
And we won't have to tell their parents they got them at school.

And we said, that's another great idea...

Then some of our top elected officials said
It doesn't matter what we do in private as long as we do our jobs.

And we said,
It doesn't matter what anybody, including the President,
Does in private as long as we have jobs and the economy is good....

And someone else took that appreciation a step further
And published pictures of nude children
And then stepped further still by
Making them available on the Internet.

And we said, everyone's entitled to free speech....
And the entertainment industry said,
let's make TV shows and movies that promote
Profanity, violence and illicit sex...
And let's record music that encourages
Rape, drugs, murder, suicide, and satanic themes...

And we said,
it's just entertainment
And it has no adverse effect
And nobody takes it seriously anyway,
So go right ahead.

Now we're asking ourselves
Why our children have no conscience,
Why they don't know right from wrong,
And why it doesn't bother them to
Kill strangers, classmates or even themselves.

Undoubtedly,
If we thought about it long and hard enough,
We could figure it out.
I'm sure it has a great deal to do with...

"WE REAP WHAT WE SOW"

Why is it our children can not read a Bible in school, but can in Prison.

Points to consider:Here's what I think:

Why should religion be in schools when the family is responsible for the well-being and upbringing of children? Teachers educate – a one-dimensional, secular job; parents RAISE children; a holistic responsibility that allows for specific religious (or not) instruction.

If children are loved, cared for, appropriately directed and given whatever spiritual instruction at home, why should it ever be the responsibility of the school system or of any teacher to fill in or pinch hit for parents? Neither the teachers nor the system is responsible for the fundamentals; the family is. Teachers and schools are not babysitters or daycares, nor are they replacements for family or parents, regardless of how much some parents want that to be the case.

In respect to children who kill, their pain is so deep, so long-term and so profound that no teacher or school or system can do anything for those children. Those children are alienated first and foremost by and within their families and specifically by their parents, who are usually so focused on themselves, their own pursuits and the so-called rules and regulations that they forget their children are thinking, feeling humans. If the parents do not realize the deep crisis their one child is in, why ever would we expect teachers to notice one child in 30 or more?

No amount of prayer in schools will ever fix the pain of an alienated, depressed, desperate child. Prayer is NOT a replacement for an aware, humble, committed, loving parent. Too often people resort to prayer when they should be making a move.

As for spanking, the church position on this legitimizes abuse of children due to an incorrect interpretation of “spare the rod.” The “rod” is not a physical object. It is correctly interpreted as “STANDARD.” When correctly interpreted, there is NO direction to hit, beat, whip or physically abuse a child. Christian scripture also says “provoke not the child to anger.” Hitting, slapping, whipping, slagging, insulting or any such abuse is not discipline. It is abuse and indicates a parent out of control. Parents in control and who are skilled at providing standards for their children NEVER need resort to angering or striking their flesh and blood.

In no case should a teacher ever strike a student. There is no excuse for anyone, especially a professional, hitting a child. They certainly have the right to have the child leave the class, but in no circumstance does a teacher have the right to hit another person, even when that person is young and small. Hitting is an abuse of power; it is not discipline. It is an expression of anger and frustration on the part of an out-of-control adult and is no less painful or damaging than verbal abuse, which is also an abuse of power.

The point about abortion is very interesting. As you know, I am highly opposed to abortion. However, I am pro-choice. Choice must include everything a woman has in her arsenal to PREVENT pregnancy – pre-conception. I have no respect for those who play Russian Roulette with their bodies then choose to kill their pre-born offspring when the trigger goes off and they lose the game. That’s not choice. That’s abdication of right/responsibility.

Having said that, and I know the statistics very well, due to substantial research and face-to-face interviews with several doctors (including my previous OB-GYN) and two nurses who work in the field: unplanned pregnancies are more common with girls from religious families than in the general population. This is because religious families are very disinclined to discuss sex and related topics, are judgmental and are inclined to use fear tactics. Girls in those environments are at greater risk because they’re terrified to ask for information and disinclined to protect themselves. I have done specific research in this area due to my four years with the Calgary Pro-Life Association and via research for several published articles I wrote in the late 90s.

The reason girls in these environments don’t tell their parents anything is that they’re terrified to do so. That terror indicates a parental flaw, not a child’s flaw. If children are terrified of their parents and/or their parents reactions, what are they to do? The stay silent and hope they’re never found out.

Pre-marital sex is not the sole property of this generation. I personally know three couples of my parent's generation who engaged and were ‘caught’ due to unplanned pregnancies. Part of the reason the church is so anti pre-marital sex and so rabid about marriage is that both those allow for social control and management of economic resources (not relevant in our time, but relevant at the time when protecting the family assets was tantamount to preventing clan/tribal wars) by managing family lineages. It doesn’t work, however.

It is sexist to say ‘boys will be boys.” Males and females are equally likely to pursue. It may be distasteful to some, but the reality is people engage and no amount of religious fear mongering or threats of hell fire has ever or will ever change that. None of the three couples noted above was able to fight the biological imperative with fear of eternal damnation. It is better, if people are going to engage, that they be protected from diseases and pregnancy than they become sick or they have abortions (which are damaging to the woman’s body and obviously terminal for the unborn).

As for privacy, neither the government nor the church has any place in the bedrooms of people in free countries – or any country. This does not make incest or abuse or paedophilia right and the government should be expanding their efforts to go after abusers and perpetrators who use electronic resources. Where it comes to sexual practice though, what one person thinks is ok another thinks is abhorrent: there will never be consensus on what thing falls in which category.

As for practice or preference, Paedophilia is neither. It is a serious, incurable illness. If it were a sexual practice or true preference, the practice or preference could be altered or eliminated. Paedophilia is not curable and is by definition a chronic mental disorder. There will never be a cure, no matter what anyone says, barring chemical or actual castration (of males. Not sure what the cure would be for female paedophiles.)

As to those who make and/or consume child porn, too often those around them who are aware, are also silent. Someone always knows about the little girl or boy who disappears into that apartment…. As long as people make jokes about it and people continue to consume products designed to sexualize children, the environment will persist. We, as a society, tacitly allow the practice to exist. Don’t think so? Have you ever bought “toy” high heels or ‘toy’ makeup for a little girl; strongman suits for little boys – dress up clothing made to render a child into a parody of an adult? We are complicit, however innocently we participate.

I am absolutely opposed to institutionalized censorship. Too much wonderful literature and art has been banned due to people’s discomfort with subject matter and use of words. HOWEVER, I am absolutely for and actively engage in PERSONAL censorship. If something is abhorrent then do not buy, rent or use that thing. It is not for me to choose for you, but I will always act on MY right to choose for ME. If everyone who was opposed to a certain book or film or product or whatever just didn’t buy it themselves, the market for that item would seriously decrease. However, humans are curious beings; they often believe they are alone in their protest and therefore powerless to change anything. They are curious in the other sense too: one may heartily dislike the subject matter of book or film but is yet compelled to know what it is we opposed to. That is the dichotomy. Sadly, too often people are so obsessed with what everyone else is/might be doing, that they fail to monitor their own consumption.

Schools are and must remain, non-religious and non-denominational. People in the west are terrified by and opposed to Madrassas overseas (Pakistan, Afganistan, etc), but they completely fail to see the parallel between Madrassa and ‘religious’ schools. Only the semantics change; the foundations are exact. As such, no bible, torah, Q’uran belongs in any school. Those things belong at home, in the family, where the family can put their own stamp on that education. It strikes me as odd that people clearly disrespect teachers and schools (the items below indicated that very clearly) yet expect teachers to mete out something as personal and specific as religion.

The last point in the items below - "WE REAP WHAT WE SOW" - is true. Whenever people – parents in particular –get real about what and how they’ve sown, and when they quit blaming the establishment, the schools, the teachers, films, music, books, the ‘devil,’ and the water, and when PARENTS take PERSONAL responsibility first for their OWN behavior, only then will they be able to provide excellent examples, a solid foundation and appropriate guidance for their children. Only then will what we reap be wonderful, productive, respectful, loving, compassionate, self-assured children. Literal, rule-bound, non-thinking people raise literal, rule-bound, non-thinking and usually confused and angry kids.

Am I gloating?? Damn right. I live by what I write here. I have raised my children in an utterly open environment, where every question was met with an appropriate, honest, often researched answer. Have I been angry with my kids, yes. Have they been angry with me, yes. The greatest gift I have been able to give my children is the simple admission “I’m wrong, and I’m sorry.” Do I think I’m right about all this and that my way of raising children works? If the comments of my children’s friends, and the parents of those friends, the comments from teachers, employers and, in some cases complete strangers are any indication, yes, I’ve done a great job by controlling myself, not my kids; by being honest rather than hiding the truth; by being vulnerable and fallible and admitting it; by managing my anger and not taking it and my disappointments out on my children; and by NEVER blaming anyone else for failing to provide that which was my responsibility where it came to providing a solid standard for my children to live by.

The items in the chain e-mail may allow the reader to feel justified and righteous, but when looked at and considered, all except the last are statements that provide escape routes for people who would rather others do the jobs they should do themselves.

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