I will admit, Danny, that I have spanked my kids. I have used very flimsy arguements to justify it. I still feel the shame of having hit my kids, and I know that I've done bad and hurtful things to my kids.
I know what it's like to feel that I have so little control that perhaps I should hit my kids and make them do what I want. That is a very powerless situation to put yourself in as a
parent, but that is nothing compared to what it does to our kids.
I also know what it's like to grow up with the dread of the whippings. I grew up being whipped in a manner that doesn't seem too far away from much of what the Pearl family suggests. Did they ever serve their intended function? Not one bit. They certainly hurt like hell. If anything, they served only to frighten and hurt me as a child, confuse me as an adult and to lessen my supply of tools with which to raise my children.
Once you've accepted hitting as acceptable, it lessens the power of every thing you do and it cheapens your role as a parent.
No matter how long it's been since I stopped spanking, I still know that fear in my kids' eyes that their father might hurt them. They certainly know I've hurt them, and I can't even start to think how that might effect them. I still know that I'm a person that has hurt his children.
I think a number of parents are upset at this boycot because it points out their own shortcomings. If you've been spanking, you've conditioned your kids with pain, how can you ever hope to top that as a motivation? How can you admit that what you've done, what you've justified, is actually wrong? How can you admit that you've twisted scripture to justify wanton abuse of kids? It's really hard to do, to admit that you've been hitting your kids. You never even want to call it hitting, because spanking is more acceptable, while hitting is hitting. But spanking is hitting. You can't spank without hitting. And hitting isn't okay.
If you don't believe that hitting kids is okay, then how can you support people who earn money from advocating the hitting of kids? That's foolish to even think it's okay. It's certainly at least selfish to be more concerned about your internet community than the fact that children are being abused by parents who think it's okay because their church or their christian friends suggest that it's okay.
That is the very heart of the matter, and it seems people want to hide it. Hiding child abuse is as bad as abusing the child. If you hide an entire culture of abuse, then you must take responsibility for each and every child hurt by these teachings.
In a sense, it's sort of a coming clean for me. I really wish I'd never spanked my kids. Nothing I say can change that I did it. I was spanked so regularly as a child that it really lost a lot of the horror that should be associated with hitting kids. It was so normal to me, just a part of life.
I was taught that humans were born with a sin nature. Left to themselves, all people would do all day is lay around and sin. If you were taught at a young age to fear god and dad, you would be spared this horrid life of sin and death and hell. So when I sinned, I was supposed to accept that I deserved to feel the pain of the rod and then be remorseful. I was never sorry because of my sin nature, so I had to be taught with pain how to truly feel sorry.
And still it didn't really have a major effect on me that I can point to and say, "Yes, that's because I was spanked." Of course I haven't really had to think about it for several years, and now it's all slowly coming back out. I don't remember the last time I truly considered the whippings I got till the boycot started me thinking. Reading some of the shit from the Pearl's book was just so much like my own experience that it kind of put me back there. I still don't like to think about it, so I may never figure out how those whippings fucked me up.
Between reading at Danny's then answering and having to be lazy about blogging, I need a fucking cigarette and a beer. I'm sinning twice, and it's all because I didn't get punished often enough as a child. Is cussing a sin? The commandments don't say "thou shalt not say fuck or shit or damn or hell or pussy or dick or etc." So what's a bitch to do? Fuck it, I need that goddamn cigarette!