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The Introspective Habit

animals

Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” C.G. Jung

“We search for happiness everywhere, but we are like Tolstoy’s fabled beggar who spent his life sitting on a pot of gold, under him the whole time. Your treasure–your perfection–is within you already. But to claim it, you must leave the buy commotion of the mind and abandon the desires of the ego and enter into the silence of the heart.” Elizabeth Gilbert

“The most introspective of souls are often those that have been hurt the most.” Shannon L. Alder

How important it is to be more introspective before we say and do those simple things that wound others so deeply. I can’t count the number of times I feel like some of the things I am doing are so trivial and unimportant. I actually  think I am wasting my time by stopping to chat with another person for a few minutes. Now it is clearer to me that most if not all of those inconsequential happenings are some major life events.

I suppose this sounds trite and sort of ridiculous I guess.  I am trying to be introspective  because I realize the importance  of those trivial days filled with conversations and encounters. I do not have the time to think more about them with my busy schedule yet they hold more meaning and consequence than I can believe. I remember how awesome I feel when I speak to some of my neighbors who fill me with cheer with just their smiles. Continue reading

Understand The Defensive Egos

understand-the-defensive-egos“Be careful not to mistake insecurity and inadequacy for humility! Humility has nothing to do with the insecure and inadequate! Just like arrogance has nothing to do with greatness!” Joy Bell C.

“There will always be someone willing to hurt you, put you down, gossip about you, belittle your accomplishments and judge your soul. It is a fact that we all must face. However, if you realize that God is a best friend that stands beside you when others cast stones you will never be afraid, never feel worthless and never feel alone.”    Shannon L. Alder

“When you stop living your life based on what others think of you real life begins. At that moment, you will finally see the door of self-acceptance opened.”    Shannon L. Alder

Have you ever had a disagreement with a friend and felt  the defensive egos rising to the  surface? We fault the other person for the majority of the encounter? I have a sense that all of us like to believe we bear the lesser of the blame. Our minds can twist and turn any words said or gesture so that it fits the scenario we perceive as the truth. They spoke unkind words and gave no care for our feelings. They deserve our retaliation because they started it. I am so guilty of this myself but recently for some strange reason I began to rethink an incident and realized that they did say the words I accused them of saying but I recalled their face gestures. I remembered the softness of their face as well as the quietness of their voice. They had not actually been ranting at me nor accusing me just stating what they perceived as the truth. I was the one who was upset and unwilling to give in because of the words spoken even if those words were not in malice.

What I took from the encounter was the fact that it was my own insecurity that made me feel vulnerable and under attack. I lacked the confidence to state my position in a clear manner instead of lashing out negatives. It made me think about other times and situations in which arguments got a little tense or even heated from either side misinterpreting what the words or disagreement was all about. There was obviously an underlying issue which neither party was aware of. How strange this seemed to be. Continue reading

Right And Wrong

e2qG9e2aVF_1400538757449“if we tell them the brain is an app maybe they will use it.” Anonymous

“So far, about morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after “Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it.”
Leo Tolstoy

“Right is right even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it.” Augustine of Hippo

Focusing more on what is honest mindful  and right about our lives and behavior sends what is dishonest immoral and wrong in our lives fleeing in despair. I know  we should focus on the good but are we pretending there is no bad in our midst? Is the fear of offending anyone keeping us from truth and reality? I can’t help but wonder that in all of our thoughts regarding freedom and democracy we  have lost the spirit of honesty, mindfulness, and conscience. We  all want to belong so much we have given up our right to see any problems in our speech behavior or attitude towards others. There is no amount of rules truths or guidelines that we do not bend in order to fit in or ease our conscience in some way. Whatever we do we can find a reason or excuse for our actions and free ourselves from blame and guilt.

How is it  we don’t see what is in front of our eyes. The brain washing needs to end and we need to stand up for what is of value to our souls and spirit. We are melting into one huge blob of unthinking creatures and should break  away from the brainwashing and wake up to the reality of truth. Are we content to let the family structure dissolve? Is it beneficial to promote the hero as someone who can defeat and crush everyone else? Is control power and strength what we really want or need?

The path we are on focuses on speaking up to others in a belligerent way. It is praiseworthy to knock others down or get revenge. We have leaned how to be the bully in every area of our lives and laugh at the losers who are “Left in our dust”. Have we really won? Have we asked what we have won? I see this as mindless thought and actions. It hurts people riles them up to get revenge and hurt back. The end I guess is when the last few of us are left standing. What a dreary world to look forward to.

I was thinking recently and it led to my thoughts of right and wrong and positive and negative actions. We have the freedom to think and act and speak the way we want regardless of the pain of the words. We can dress and be rude to others at will. We can step on others in order to get what we want while disregarding the cries of others. We are losing our humanness in place of power. Money fame and control lend power. The ones wielding the power can manipulate us bend us coerce us or sell us a fairy tale in order to gain and use our trust.

We see and hear bad language, immoral movies, crude dressing on young innocent kids that the surprise or shock factor is gone. We wonder at the crimes committed  yet we don’t look to ourselves and the world we are creating. It is time to  wake up smell the coffee and consider our spiritual self and where it is at. If one wants to fill their minds and brains with gruesome thoughts of all kinds then see it filter throughout society. What we are thinking of is what will be created. It is only a matter of time before killing will be accepted if the person doing it had a “GOOD REASON” to do it, such as revenge. Where is our moral  compass?

We have stopped attempting to lift people  up but instead have chosen to crush them into the ground. We are all vulnerable. I’m not sending out gloom and doom but truth and reality. Just watch television or read the paper or listen to the number of people or children killed all over the country. Does this bother us because I think it should. It is progressively worse and I feel like we are on a one way train towards a cliff. Enough of us have to get off and stop the train before we all crash.

everyone dies there is no escape and we all accept this. We don’t take anything with us except our spirit and or soul. Have we considered in what shape it is in? Have we filled our minds with honesty mindfulness and empathy for self and others? Have we stopped to think of others or excused ourselves of blame? At our death will we be absolved of our wrongdoing? Have we thought of any of it as wrong, immoral or offensive? I feel that it is a crucial time to start recalling what is good and pure in our lives. It is time to defend honesty and stop compromising our values in order to fit in with untruths and unworthy living. There is something to be scared of. It is called the lies and perversions present in our society. Covering it up like it doesn’t exist is likely the worse thing to do.  Just like the catholic church covered up child abuse with the false belief it was for the benefit of the church, people and humanity. I ask who’s betterment. Truth is never a mistake. It cleanses things.

If you think something is wrong perhaps  you are right. If you  feel uncomfortable about something then maybe you should not do it. If you are  tempted when in the presence of some people or places or things perhaps you should avoid it. Wake up and stop pretending you were lulled into something wrong becaiuse it is at that moment you are being lulled into believing you had no  choice. You always have a choice and it’s better to admit wrong and ask for forgiveness than to lie even to self and add to wrongdoings.

“The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell.” Confucius

“Tell me what you pay attention to and I will tell you who you are.”    Jose Ortega y Gasset

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” Jiddu Krishnamurti

“The first principle of value that we need to rediscover is this: that all reality hinges on moral foundations. In other words, that this is a moral universe, and that there are moral laws of the universe just as abiding as the physical laws.”     Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Do We Foster Doubt?

Finding Faith Within“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t being said. The art of reading between the lines is a life long quest of the wise.” Shannon L. Alder
“Be careful not to mistake insecurity and inadequacy for humility! Humility has nothing to do with the insecure and inadequate! Just like arrogance has nothing to do with greatness!”    C. Joy Bell C.
“Often those that criticize others reveal what he himself lacks.” Shannon L. Alder
“There will always be someone willing to hurt you, put you down, gossip about you, belittle your accomplishments and judge your soul. It is a fact that we all must face. However, if you realize that God is a best friend that stands beside you when others cast stones you will never be afraid, never feel worthless and never feel alone.” Shannon L. Alder

Have you ever noticed how easily someone can knock you off of your game plan and cause you to doubt yourself? All they need to do is plant those little seeds of doubt or give the quick retort that leaves you questioning what they meant for days. We all fall prey to these people who come in the form of friends, family co-workers and unfriendly ties.

Adding to this problem is when we jump in feet first to help someone who really needs it only to be shot down with a look, or words of anger. It is without any doubt hurtful and we can only wonder why they refused  our help which I repeat, they needed. I for one begin questioning why they must dislike or even hate me. They can accept the lift from someone else but not me. It renders me quiet  with so many questions about doubt. Of course I always blame myself and my inadequacies.

I realize that sometimes we want to do our own thing and simply be left alone. On the other hand why is it certain people are disliked for the good they try to do. I feel like there is a conspiracy to get the “Helpers” to stop helping those in need. No wonder we pass by the helpless on the streets. We are trained to be impervious to their plight. Have we become such a competitive society that we are nervous about allowing someone else to take the reins for us and give us a  break?

I can’t figure it out. I suppose some people believe it belittles them to exhibit any inferiority. They must be in control or only let the ones they trust help out. Of course that means they don’t trust us. Is it our attitude or are we disliked more for our virtues than for our faults? Seriously though one is less willing to offer assistance to another due to the rebuke. Now we might have a person believing we are not mindful because we did nothing to help out. We doubt our ability to  be f assistance.

Many  spend volunteer time working at churches, or town activities without any thanks. they do it because they enjoy helping people. However as I reflect further I am saddened that so many volunteers  complained about finding so much indifference that they did not even receive a hello. those working freely for the common good toss their indifference aside and willingly support those who need help. They are not looking for thanks or honors but it would be terrible if they get burnt out and walk away. It is awesome that many people are not gaining material worth but act out of kindness for humanity and that is enough. We understand that indifference rules our actions towards each other but every time  we act with mindfulness we turn the tides towards concern for others.

I suppose we worry about getting involved and having others judge us or peg us onto certain lists. As hard as we attempt to remain neutral there are those moments that erupt and cause us to defy our neutrality and stand for something. As Benjamin Franklin declared “You have enemies? That’s good it means you stood up for something.” We have gotten too complacent and comfortable in our ways. Life becomes a selfish existence as we are solely interested in our own comforts and pleasures. The needs of others are so far down on our list that most days  we don’t consider anyone else.

Mindful is not a word commonly used in our daily speech, yet if it became everyone’s way of living would send us all on a higher path. More love would be spread and less pain would surround us. Indifference would be the new ignored word. How awesome that would be.

I know we don’t foster indifference but neither do we pack it up and send it away. A beautiful world of love and happiness can become a reality if we allow compassion into our minds and hearts. Once we begin thinking about others we begin feeling good about ourselves. It is a feeling that you can’t really describe. That is why so many of those people who help others continue to do it even though they receive no thanks or any kind of reinforcement. The light is felt within and the sense of supporting humanity gets stronger.

If we could do one small act for another every single day we would understand the importance of that  action and be inclined to do more. If I need help I don’t want the person who exhibits indifference daily. I want the mindful person who will notice my need and hear my cry and then come to my assistance. We can’t say we are too busy, have too much work, need a break, need to do something for ourselves, or want a vacation from work. We can very easily respond with a yes I am here for you.

“The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.”    Robert Hughes

“I am convinced that the jealous, the angry, the bitter and the egotistical are the first to race to the top of mountains. A confident person enjoys the journey, the people they meet along the way and sees life not as a competition. They reach the summit last because they know God isn’t at the top waiting for them. He is down below helping his followers to understand that the view is glorious where ever you stand.”
Shannon L. Alder

“A man’s spirit is free, but his pride binds him with chains of suffocation in a prison of his own insecurities”     Jeremy Aldana

Let Go of False Pretense

Let Go of Pretense“That’s what real love amounts to – letting a person be what he really is. Most people love you for who you pretend to be. To keep their love, you keep pretending – performing. You get to love your pretense. It’s true, we’re locked in an image, an act – and the sad thing is, people get so used to their image, they grow attached to their masks. They love their chains. They forget all about who they really are. And if you try to remind them, they hate you for it, they feel like you’re trying to steal their most precious possession.”    Jim Morrison

“The heart of the world is breaking under this load of pride and pretense. There is no release from our burden apart from the meekness of Christ.”    A.W. Tozer

“Whatever is above will be managed by the powers above you. Don’t live as a man, pretending to be God. Do what you can do; leave what you can’t to God!”    Israelmore Ayivor

Likely we are all tired of being afraid to admit we are scared most of our lives. Presenting ourselves as capable human beings is the norm. Any of us that fall short of the mark simply hide the truth sometimes even from ourselves. Most of our frustrations deadlines jobs and burdens have more to do with how others may perceive us if we fall short of the time restraints.

Our spouses get upset with us when we haven’t fulfilled an ongoing project. Our kids want us to do things or fix things or take them places. We  believe we fail as a parent if we haven’t brought our children to places to experience this and that. It isn’t so much where we find the fault but the fact that we find ourselves lacking most of the time.

Having the boss mention our name quickly at a meeting and then forgetting who we are the next day relates to us the insignificance of unworthy compliments. We might deserve the recognition but we can’t believe that because we achieved anything that others believe we are somehow more important than they are. Nothing is further from the truth.

I have seen some people mention that a  person didn’t deserve the credit so they were not impressed. My point is that we think a lot about how others see us yet none of us really care. We may feel the person deserves a pat on the back but when we leave the meeting that person is out of our thoughts.

Spouses of all kinds are temperamental. At times a task may be all important for them to see accomplished. Maybe they are having company and want to mention we finished the task. They worry about impressing another and we worry about pleasing them. The trend is that we are all seeking glory for  one moment in time and the glory is costing us lots of emotional pain.

Understanding those times when we are guilty of expecting too much of another is crucial in keeping the relationship strong. If we become unbearable in our demands of course the relationship is jeopardized. Our spouse sees only disappointment when they look into our eyes. That is wearing down the body mind and spirit. How long can any of us take mental stress?  Observing the amount of people who will lie or cheat to make gains is the proof.

We are being controlled by our own ego in its’ desire for acceptance and pride. It is not always a bad thing to exhibit some pride in what we say and do but allowing it to  manifest at the will of others is becoming detrimental to our health. Just because the wife wants a task done so that her father will be impressed with her husband’s  talent is silly. For the husband to take up the gauntlet to please his wife is also silly if he doesn’t have the time to do the task. For a wife to be coerced into cooking a gourmet  dinner for her mother-in-law  to prove she is a  competent wife and cook is  crazy. It may not be the husband or wife pressuring their spouse. Sometimes the challenge might be picked up by the husband or wife simply to prove their worth to their in-law.

If we come close to delivering anything on time we get a sense of relief in having accomplished something. Of course all of the other achievements have been forgotten by us and others. As soon as one task is completed everyone looks towards the next. There really is no end to the tension and pressure.

The old pain of seeing ourselves through the eyes of other people is well established in our world.  That is perhaps why we  worry about what others think feel and see when they observe us. The trouble is that none of us have long memories. We live in a short-term memory world. Why would anyone define who they are by so many unimportant jobs they complete?

The challenges parents place on their shoulders regarding their worth as a parent is unending. Every parent they meet throughout the day is a potential competitor. The parent compares their every act to this other person. No wonder they say “misery loves company.” My guess is that is why we like to see others fail because we fail and want to know we are okay especially because we know this other person is okay even thou they failed.

Most of us likely program our kids to compete and meet expectations. Sometimes placing  too much emphasis on achieving sends them  spirally in defeat. The competition begins early. The demands and challenges start early. The worry or fear begins at an early age and doesn’t end until we die or decide on our own to stop comparing. When we reach that point our lives relax and serenity enters.

I am not suggesting we give up our tasks or duties. I am suggesting we rethink what we consider essential tasks with their timelines. Perhaps a more lenient view on needs and wants would  be a better consideration. pleasing others or doing jobs to prove our importance only  sends us worry and anxiety. Nobody wants to be under the wire to accomplish more than is feasible without breaking.

Consideration for others and working on tasks in a  reasonable atmosphere is calming. Those outsiders who find fault will forget about us the very next day.  They won’t even remember what we didn’t complete yet. If we change our attitudes we will discover burdens being lifted from our shoulders. We will have more time and more peace. We will be more accepting of our kids who come in all sizes, shapes and varying attitudes.

We all bear needless worries to prove our worthiness. Many of our jobs may not be necessary or not required to have a time constraint. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Removing all of the adorned and inflated egos makes room for the fresh air. We might even make a truce. I won’t pretend to be what I am not if you will do the same. I will be who I am and that makes me special and unique just as you are. Without the tension we all have more time for loving and honest living.

“Character that is fruit-producing can be summed up in the mastery of these 5 qualities: morals, but a sense of humor; love, but respect for criticism; intelligence without pretense; humility without self-loathing; and a mind open, but with solid convictions.”    Criss Jami

“Cowardice is when you hide away from your real self, and wear another self in pretense. Be yourself; that is bravery. If yourself is not better for you to be, change yourself and live in that changed self!”    Israelmore Ayivor

 

Learn From The Kids

Get Out Of Your Head“How terribly sad it was that people are made in such a way that they get used to something as extraordinary as living.” Jostein Gaarder

“There are people who are generic. They make generic responses and they expect generic answers. They live inside a box and they think people who don’t fit into their box are weird. But I’ll tell you what, generic people are the weird people. They are like genetically manipulated plants growing inside a laboratory, like indistinguishable faces, like droids. Like ignorance.” C. JoyBell C.

“I think that we are like stars. Something happens to burst us open; but when we burst open and think we are dying; we’re actually turning into a supernova. And then when we look at ourselves again, we see that we’re suddenly more beautiful than we ever were before!” C. JoyBell C.

I had to take a break from my writing due to family issues that needed my attention. Of course I never stopped observing and learning, even if I stopped writing. I noticed how tense it felt to let go of so many tasks I would normally accomplish when I have total concentration. Instead I sat back, worried and reviewed how far behind I assessed I must be. In reality I was only behind because I saw it that way. In actuality I might be and probably am exactly where I am supposed to be at this point in time.

How many of us believe or even think about why we find ourselves treading water at times or even going backwards at other times? Perhaps we view this as big problems  and ask ourselves why it happened to us. None of us would say “Well I am glad for that set back  because now I have time to review what it is I am doing.”

I venture to say none of us enjoy obstacles of any nature and perhaps we question why obstructions had to happen to us. We do move and get beyond what occurred but we build up our anxiety over it, feel frustrated and angry, and basically either take it out on ourselves or those who are close to us. That leaves all of us burdened with issues of all kinds, because we are all dumping our dilemmas on each other constantly.

Suddenly light dawned as I observed a young three-year old messing around with toys. He worked hard to build something which eventually came crashing down. He observed it and then  laughed and proceeded to construct it again. There was no loss of activity nor tears of remorse. He was surprised that it had happened but to him the surprise was worth the destruction of his creation.

If adults could only accept the twists and turns in the road as the small child did our anxiety and fear would decrease.  As I continued to watch the child he began building the tower in exactly the same way and he watched again and again as it toppled to the ground. What was he thinking I reflected. I would be in tears and thinking how I could build something that would stand against any kind of destruction. He obviously was greatly amused and had discovered in his own mind, how to make the occurrence happen all over again. That was his reward. When he got tired of it he turned to a totally different activity and became engrossed again.

What I took from it was his ability to remain pleased and content with his world. He didn’t try to control it but instead he let things happen at their own will. He was satisfied with every new discovery. He was the investigator of research even though he didn’t likely know what that meant. Most kids do appear to use the hands on method of discovery until we guide them into ways of doing it “right” so we believe.

I wonder if adults lose the power to think not only outside the box but outside of their own heads. I know how much I re-examine everything I say and do and what others say and do. I spend so much time within the walls of my head that it allows me little time to be present in the moment.  Kids are our complete opposite. They simply tell you like it is right down to the fact that they need to poop in the middle of a movie. It is a fact of life and they are not ashamed to admit it.

Is it adults who begin blocking kids in with our taboos and ideas of right and wrong? Of course we should teach morals and values but do we actually teach it or just explain the repercussions of not obeying rules. Do we blindly follow guidelines everywhere and from everybody without questioning why we are even doing it? Kids appear to keep a simplistic version of behaving.

They are not afraid to tell you they don’t like something,  and they will refuse to act on something that scares them despite our prodding. They quickly admit when they are afraid of things that we would assume they shouldn’t be afraid of. Some kids  are timid in making friends. They are shy around adults, and close their mouths tightly when an adult is forcing food they don’t want to try or medicine they don’t like.

They keep it simple and trek forward at all times. They see the positive in things and will use boxes, dirt and a stick for a shovel when necessary. They make do and laugh at so many things we fail to see the humor in. An anxious expression on our face may send them into a roar of laughter. Hearing us say we have to go to the bathroom can send a  five-year old howling. Most times adults miss the humor and only smile to acknowledge the child’s happiness.

How did we come to take so much so seriously. Are we teaching that to our kids? Are we flushing away love, life and laughter from our own lives and the lives of our children? We put up signs about living laughing and loving yet we don’t follow it most times. Perhaps we appreciate what we should be doing but can’t seem to go against the crowd and do it. Kids have no problem being themselves at all times. Adults ought to imitate the kids and do the same. If only we could admit it when we are hurting, disgraced at least in our own minds, unhappy, scared, sick and numerous other emotions we keep hidden from others.

We treasure strength, ability, power, and sometimes the skill to squash our emotions. We place humility, compassion, love and weakness under wraps as if it should be hidden. No wonder we can’t be ourselves anymore. Kids will cry and then admit they can’t do something. We stand in resolve to accomplish what we likely are unable to accomplish never asking for help which would be cowardly we believe.

I see kids as grouping together and running in all directions in happiness and squeals of laughter. Adults scurry to their jobs attempting to please a relentless boss and perhaps a spouse who is expecting more than we can possibly deliver. The camaraderie and cooperation we experienced as kids is slowly drained from us and we are left alone within our minds in doubt about how where and why we are navigating anyplace.

Now we re following silly rules we don’t really care about. We have stopped attempting to understand the why’s anymore and just do the jobs that need attention. We have in essence given up more of our own power of control than we should have given up. Understanding the reasons of life and living, is a more profound goal than buying a better home or trumping our friend or neighbor. We are not separate entities but actually one in our world. We  can help each other support each other and allow each other to be who they are. We can let go of the judgments and embrace the pleasure of each others company. This brings a profound enlightenment and a peaceful co-existence

I have faith that if we all opened up our hearts, our minds would follow and a deluge would ensue. We might find all the support and love that had been bottled up within each of us, spill out in all directions. The  falseness would disappear and the masks and costumes we display daily would fall. We would and could feel like the young child who could enjoy his blocks regardless of failure with the understanding that failure is a myth. None of us fail we just make mistakes that can most of the time be corrected. We can try again because nobody is keeping a tally and we can admit failure and victory because we are on the same team. We don’t have to win alone. We actually don’t have to lose alone. We can technically win all the time when we share the victories of life with each other.

Parents teach their kids, and siblings teach and inspire each other. Relatives of all kinds aid prompt and encourage each other at any point in time.  Friends are quickly here and gone but each leaves a mark on us regardless of the length of time of their involvement. Getting out of our heads allows us to live and begin each new day with high hopes of doing some awesome positive support for others.

Before we hang up rules or signs we should contemplate the reasons they inspire us. Understanding what it is about them that makes them valuable is crucial to our understanding life. Like a puzzle we have broken apart into a zillion pieces. The picture of our lives will become clearer as we place those pieces together and actually and finally look at the real picture. Alone we are a shining light for a moment until the light is turned off. Together we create an awesome bright luminosity  gathering all into the comforting serenity of love in action.

Kids love everyone and their love is unconditional. They  forgive everything and forget transgressions as they begin playing with a friend the next day after having fought with them the previous day. They don’t judge who can or can’t climb up the ladder they just send out the cry, “Let’s do it.” Together they work, play, live, laugh,  and love. There is a message here for us to witness.

“The only person who can pull me down is myself, and I’m not going to let myself pull me down anymore.” C. JoyBell C.

“I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you’re going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.” C. JoyBell C.

SPANKING

SPANKING“Tired mothers find that spanking takes less time than reasoning and penetrates sooner to the seat of the memory.”    Will Durant

“Spanking and verbal criticism have become, to many parents, more important tools of child rearing than approval.” Phil Donahue

“Spanking is simply another form of terrorism. It teaches the victims that might makes right, and that problems can be solved through the use of violence by the strong against the weak.”

 “Infliction of pain or discomfort, however minor, is not a desirable method of communicating with children.”     American Medical Association

How and why did the state of Massachusetts hinder the advancement of our human evolution? I truly was shocked to hear of the Massachusetts, Justices decision to promote the guidelines for the use of physical punishment by parents. As a teacher, I am aware that loving a child and displaying kindness works far better. How is there anything LEGAL in guidelines promoting physical punishment by anyone? I suppose it sounds good and appeases parents who choose this form of discipline.

They say it is permissible to discipline by spanking, so long as “Reasonable Force” is used, and the child is not harmed. Is this not ludicrous? How does one use force of any kind on a child, and then decide how much the child has been harmed physically, mentally emotionally or spiritually?  Who are we kidding? I am sorry if we are leading such busy lives that we anger quickly, have more burdens which frustrate us, and have little time to discipline because we have no energy, time or effort remaining by the end of the day. The quick fix of a Spank, which is also defined as a smack, slap, hit, strike, paddle, thrash, beating and paddling, is the solution which fits in nicely with our busy lives and perhaps uncontrolled tempers.

The justices of the court issued this Framework, while reversing the assault and battery conviction of a man who was seen spanking his almost three old daughter. Now the question comes to mind regarding the force of a grown man against a less than three old child. How angry was he? Is he very strong? Is the child little for her age? The Framework that was construed by the Justices also includes a parental privilege defense. How convenient that is. No more liability towards smacking our children, except our consciences which have apparently gone on vacation.

Does this mean if we strike our neighbor’s child for their ill behavior, we will be charged with battery? I know if we hit any adult, we will face consequences, yet our children are fair game with the courts blessing. If we can’t hit our neighbor, then why is it okay to hit our small helpless children? I have an issue with the degree of the smack, as well as the judgement of how harmful it might be, especially when the person making these decisions is the one doing the hitting.

One Justice, stated that two very important interests needed to be balanced. We must protect children against abuse, and not interfere with the parents in the way they see fit to raise their kids. Now some people may falsely believe this has made it easier to solve some court cases. It appears to me,  to be at the expense of our kid’s welfare. I also can’t understand how it will be easier to protect the children from child abuse when parents have just received a legal right to assault them. Using tame words makes it more palatable for the general public.

I use the word assault because how can we limit the extent of the spanking, if we are not present when it is given and only have the perpetrator’s version of the incident. A hard smack to the back of the head may not display any discoloring. If one was brought up on charges the defense could be that the parent swung a bit harder than they realized, the child turned and the strike was given in a place the parent did not mean to hit. The list can go on. We don’t want to look at the details. We want something that works fast, easy and makes everyone comfortable. Kids don’t question or vote.

I am confused about the “Force being okay as long as it is reasonable,” “it is used for safeguarding the child”, “it is promoting the welfare of the child”,” or “it is punishment of the minor’s misconduct.” So I think we are teaching the kids that it is okay for the ones they love to hit them, yet we don’t want our kids striking others. How are we actually making any sense? Do we see the paradox? Now we tell the children they can  thrash their own kids when they are adults. We have gone back to the old rules of do as I say but not as I do.

I think we have given offenders a free ticket at least for the first offense, if they used too much force. They can offer the defense that they did not feel it was that strong a hit. How can we judge these personal and subjective opinions? Has anyone thought of the emotional scars of the children who are beaten? No one is supposed to cause lasting emotional or physical harm. How are we going to fix this one? Do we wait for broken bones? Down the road do we blame the emotional problems the child is having on the spankings or do we call upon other issues in our defense? Balance of any kind has been tossed under the bus. It certainly isn’t balanced towards the children.

There is supposed to be respect for parental decisions. I profess that there should be respect for children and all life in general. It seems to me that we have disregarded the welfare of the children in favor of solutions, be they right or wrong. The end never justifies the means. I don’t see how anybody can come to the defense and protection of children with such a law in effect.

As I continued the reading I was confused upon hearing an officer of the Massachusetts Society for the prevention of Cruelty to Children, credit the justices for balancing views on both sides. Did anybody get the reviews of the children? Have we asked them how pleasant demeaning painful embarrassing, and at times terrifying it is to be at the mercy of an angry intimidating adult? There is always emotional and physical pain in this situation in my opinion. She also credited the Justices for their strong position on “Child Protection.”  I am shocked at that statement and really have no words to fit my shock and deep pain for the complicated lives the children are forced to experience.

Somehow in my opinion, people were sleeping on the job. Have we spent any time with kids lately? They are the ones who love parents unconditionally. They are concerned immediately when we are in any kind of pain. They accept everything we dish out and come back smiling and forgiving. If we love our children unconditionally, perhaps we might reflect on the plight of children who are going to be abused, in my opinion, because of this Law. It makes hitting legal. Adults are arrested when they hit someone. We are taking a big step backwards in becoming a more humane society. We are choosing brute force rather than talking, explaining, negotiating, providing understanding feedback tolerance and compassion to a dilemma.

If we want our kids to forgive and love others we must demonstrate this behavior. If we demonstrate force, control disrespect and intimidation, we will promote a society that reinforces these attributes. We have no right to complain at the world we are creating. The choice is in our hands. Parents are not bad people but if under duress, they must learn how to deal with their stress and anxiety problems rather than take it out on the kids. Model and teach the ideals you wish to observe in your children. Make no mistake; they will become what you teach. If you want compassionate, kind, tolerant, loving empathetic children, begin by showing them what that looks like and be that kind of person.

A transformation sends out sparks of love and enlightenment.  A wildfire burns relentlessly without remorse. We are burning away our problems.  I hope God doesn’t tire of us and our world. The simplicity of it is that love can perform miracles,  while fury succeeds in burning anything in its path.

If we are ever to turn toward a kindlier society and a safer world, a revulsion against the physical punishment of children would be a good place to start.

“Researchers have also found that children who are spanked show higher rates of aggression and delinquency in childhood than those who were not spanked. As adults, they are more prone to depression, feelings of alienation, use of violence toward a spouse, and lower economic and professional achievement. None of this is what we want for our children.”    Alvin Poussaint, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School: