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Monday, November 10, 2008

Some Stuff I Want to Say

It seemed a bit slow so I figured I could get away with a brief rant in two parts.


One:

On this Jean Thing and some other current discussions; It always leads back to the children. Some people see kids as miniature adults *puke* and sometimes never consider the ha-uge chemical changes that these little human cubs go through. Their brains go through an enormous galvanizing process when they are about two years old (Terrible twos- Who knew?) then again at puberty and finally at eighteen to twenty-one. And therein lies the problem. How many adults are not educated enough to understand the basic sociology behind kids and their needs? That may be rhetorical but in my experience, ignorance rules.

So, they fall back on that old dusty book of myths that their mommy and daddy taught them about.. Trouble, that.

Two:

The Bible. I love the bible. As I have said, I have fourteen copies. Whenever I am at a yard sale or sumpthing I always look for the heirloom types, those supple leather bindings of dimpled and otherwise textured facades. I almost feel holy just handling some of them, but even my revered copy of The Complete Works of Robert W. Service is not leather bound! (Yard sale tip: If you feign meekness, they usually tell you that if you really need it, you can have it for free.)

So, where was I...oh ya....I have never published this on the internet, but I have written several letters over the years to friends and family members answering their question; Does the bible mean anything to you? The answer is Yes It does. The following is a compendium of those letters.

I tried studying the bible in the theological style, and I had a really good mentor, but alas, I could not/ cannot get past the accepting-the-miracles stage.

So, you might ask, OK Frog what what does the bible mean to you? One Thing- Sacrifice.

Over the years I have read the bible sober, mostly, and also under the influence of a couple of preferred recreational substances; forward, backward, start with NT, & et., and slowly but surely I could see the message of the bible and finally one day about seven years ago I had a Revelation. There is a thread running through the bible. I had always expected that, and I had a couple "pet" ideas over the years based on my conclusion that since humans wrote this book then it possibly contained a "human" message. That message is basically, "There is no free lunch."

In the spirit of the brevity that I promised and my inability to stay focused, having hit the road at 4:30 AM this morning, suffice to say that I think the bible tells us that the most important thing we sacrifice ourselves for is the well being of our children. Not even our own kids, but the children of this community who will inherit exactly what we left to them.

Skipping over many other issues related to this, I shall come back to the Jeans of the world and child rearing. If there is anyone here reading this and you beat your kids, stop it now. Do not sacrifice that child to that horrible humiliation. Would you smack your wife? Turn her over your knee? Your co-worker/ subordinate at work? No. But in realty, if someone gets mad at me and whacks me in the ass, I don't care because I am a mature adult and I will merely cal 911, or better yet, fuck you up.

Here is a personal example. My youngest son, then four years old, now almost 19 was the shopper from hell. You couldn't go into a store without the usual shenanigans. One day I determined it was time we had to go, and without buying supper, we would have to go without having our favorite meal that night.

His Mother and I made grilled cheese sandwiches and he realized that he was the cause of the austerity meal. He became the best shopper in the universe, and still is. Why? Because he could see that we sacrificed our favorite dinner to show him how unacceptable his actions were.

Many parents do not understand how to teach values to their kids. They seem to want to teach them myths, or worse, beat them into submission, which is always counterproductive.

Respectfully submitted,
froggie

45 comments:

  1. Many parents do not understand how to teach values to their kids. They seem to want to teach them myths, or worse, beat them into submission, which is always counterproductive.

    Nice post, Frogster

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  2. Well written.

    Sacrifice is certainly an incredibly powerful theme: one of the few movies that ever made me tear up (I'm going to be laughed at for this) was "Armageddon". Yep, Bruce Willis in a space shuttle.

    Perhaps that's why so many, even most atheists, think Jesus as depicted in the bible was such a good guy. Self-sacrifice on any scale lifts our natural empathy to the surface.

    Personally, though, I think there are better works of powerful fiction than the bible.

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  3. Yep, Bruce Willis in a space shuttle.

    /laugh

    /point

    /comfort

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  4. Quasar,
    You said.
    "Perhaps that's why so many, even most atheists, think Jesus as depicted in the bible was such a good guy. Self-sacrifice on any scale lifts our natural empathy to the surface."

    Bingo!

    You and I just reached a newer and higher level of understanding. Thanks.

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. Froggie
    I always like your posts, especially labeled as a rant. They are always very inciteful and full of wisdom from personal experience (the best kind).
    Thank You

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  7. I always liked Jesus for his message of helping the poor and giving to others. His death was stupid and pointless.

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  8. That's supposed to be: 'especially the ones labeled as a rant'...oops!

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  9. "I always liked Jesus for his message of helping the poor and giving to others. His death was stupid and pointless."

    In one sense, I agree with you completely Kaitlyn, and in a completely different sense I don't.

    In the context of the narrative, his sacrifice for the sins of all humanity was the ultimate act of charity.

    In the context of history, him being nailed to a tree for telling everyone to be nice to each other for a change was stupid and pointless.

    Besides which, the actual 1st century cult leader may not have been anything like the character in the book. The authors were writing a holy book, not a biography.


    PS: Extra points if you noticed the Douglas Adams reference.

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  10. quasar,
    I spotted it :). "telling people to be nice to one another for a change".

    Things like this tend to "make a lot of people very angry". (paraphrased from memory)

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  11. Frog,

    I really enjoyed reading that. Your narrative was very well crafted.

    I think that part of learning this message of sacrifice is being able to control anger, and an inability to control it is a sign of immaturity. There's a reason we talk about shouting adults as behaving like "petulant children". Since people at that mental age have a huge notion of the self, and minimal notions of others, self-sacrifice would be a difficult to concept to wrap their egos around. It would explain why certain parents can't understand why self-sacrifice ultimately works.

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  12. Quasar,

    "His sacrifice for the sins of all humanity was the ultimate act of charity."

    I don't agree with this. There is no real connection between his death and absolving humanity's sins. Anyone can try to die for a cause, but the death itself doesn't enable that cause to be fulfilled. For example, had that student been run over by the tank in Tiananmen Square, it would not have furthered the democratic movement. Sure, sacrificing oneself "for a cause" may inspire onlookers to acts of goodness, but it's not preordained or in any sense guaranteed. It's more of a "well I'm going to die for this cause, and fingers crossed, people will take home a nice message".

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  13. I see a thread trough the bible, which I have read a few times, bothe cover to cover as well as study of individual books.

    I see the thread as "God needs sacrifice"

    Initially, sacrifice of animals, doves, sheep, lambs etc. Then sacrifice of Jesus, and then through the epistles and now, continually, sacrifice of self.

    Of course, it is such a big book that you can pick just about anything and find a thread through the bible. that was one of the things we used to do in church bible studies, choose a theme and then hut for it through the bible.

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  14. Stew,
    I agree with you. Obviously, I write about my own preferred "thread."

    At one point my pet thread was that we are all like little Israels. We go along OK for a while and then make a mistake or some disaster befalls us and we start over again. But the new testament doesn't fit well with that.

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  15. And of course I agree with Quasar too. There are wonderful "threads" that run through many books. I loved reading Mobey Dick with the kids back in the day. There are quite a few "moral stories" in that classic, and countless others, Kurt Vonnegut being one of my favs.

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  16. My son just finished reading "The Kite Runner," setting, contemporary Afghanistan, but I haven't had a chance to talk about the "message" in it. He seemed quite interested in it though.

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  17. Froggie -

    Nice post. I would have changed very little if I had (could have) written it myself.
    (Not that I would expect you to change your style, it's usually pretty spot-on.)

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  18. http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/11/09/america/Child-Charged-Optional.php - something sad that happens to tie in with the subject. :(

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  19. Thanks for the link beamstalk. That is a truly saddening story. Is there any reason why they'd want to try him as an adult? I mean, it doesn't sound right. Especially if he could be put in detention til he's 18. What would that achieve. In the UK criminal responsibility starts at 10.

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  20. I agree with 'frodosaves'. This is a sad case, and just heard about it this morning.
    I agree that he shouldn't be tried as an adult and hope that they have mercy on him. There is no doubt in my mind that there had to be something horrible happening to him to have this happen.

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  21. Beam,

    That article is almost too much to comprehend.
    It will be important to see if the authorities can discover the cause, or the boy's justification for this.

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  22. I actually kind of agree with certain points in this post.

    I mean, beyond the typical "I believe the Bible contains truth, and that it in many places is more than myth" thing, I can nod my head with this.

    Beating kids should NOT always be the immediate response. Though, I personally don't believe that a good spanking is always evil.


    And the Bible DOES have a lot to say about how we should live our lives. I would go on to say that it teaches more about how Christians should live their lives, but if people who aren't believers realize that there's something good in the Bible who am I to say "THAT'S NOT FOR YOU!"? It can't hurt anything, and only serves to provide common ground for discussion.

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  23. Rob Penn,
    "Though, I personally don't believe that a good spanking is always evil."

    You will need to justify that in some way extant the bible lil buddy.

    You don't spank your wife or co-worker, why would you spank a child?

    Rob, you claim to be a psych major. Have you not learned the detrimental effect of corporal punishment on children?

    Maybe you are one who says, "I got spanked, and I turned out all right."

    But you don't realize how much better you would have turned out had you not been spanked.

    Actually, one of my favorite child psychologists is Dr. John Rosemond, from whom I learned many of the successful techniques for discipline that I have employed, begrudgingly tells people that- "OK, I suppose that a little swat on the butt to interupt an unacceptable behaviour is probably ok and not traumatic overall."

    But, I contend that once we understand the positive disciplinary techniques, based on sacrifice and the well being of the child, there is no need to use the swat on the butt.

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  24. And Rob,
    Just what is a "good spanking?"

    I'll tell you what it is. It is physical abuse of a human being.

    A "good spanking" is a euphamism for "beating a kid" as opposed to "a swat on the butt.

    This is the twenty first century for crying out loud. Get real Rob.

    If I am a teacher and you send a kid to school all red eyed and melancholy and I find evidence of physical abuse, I will do everything im my power to send you to jail where you belong for assault and battery.

    Anyone that says a kid deserves this is a dumb head.

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  25. Froggie -

    are you a teacher? I don't remember if you revealed this about yourself or not, and I don't necessarily 'take notes' on all people here.

    Just interested, as I see by your photo that it may be a classroom of sorts that you are in.

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  26. ...just clarify -

    I don't take notes on ANYONE here...

    Sorry peoples, I don't have that much interest in your private lives unless something sparks my interest(s)...

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  27. Laof,

    You ask if I am a teacher.

    ThatI started with, "If I am a teacher...," Should have tipped you off that I am not a teacher in the sense that you are referring.

    I have been a teacher in another sense though for 33 years this month. I presently manage a group of 27 people and act as liason to two other divisions of this organization.

    In this capacity my job is to help all those people reach their maximum potential. So I teach, and I encourage, and empower them.
    And I smoke out those of low integrity and I get rid of them because they are a pox on an ethical enterprise.

    I am also a Catcher, in the sense of the Catcher in the Rye, and when I see someone running toward the cliff I rush out of the Rye grass and catch them.

    That is what I do.

    And you?

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  28. A new post at Jean's asserts that school shootings are the direct consequence of teaching children to have self-esteem.
    "Their "self-esteem"-centered parenting is what has brought us to the sad state that were are in today with school shootings and the like."

    Yes, read that again.

    The guys whose self-esteem was thoroughly demolished through peer pressure and ostracization of anyone not fitting into the norm, freaked out because they had high self-esteem. Makes perfect sense.

    Really, if they had had any self-esteem they would not have looked at weapons to feel stronger, they would not have felt ignored by the people around them. They murdered precisely because they were treated as wretched, no-good outcasts for months and years.
    Now, where have I heard the words 'wretched' and 'not good' recently? Hmmm.

    Seriously, do people who say utterly stupid stuff like that ever turn on their brains? They behave like a swarm of robots and are proud of it.
    I wish they were robots, so we could just turn them off.
    But they are humans, apparently content with their right to be dragged along by people who choose to advance and provide for them, and happy that they have the right to hatefully mock any humanitarian advance made over the last millenia.

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  29. To clarify, the post is not from Jean but a comment left there.

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  30. Although I'm tempted to be either surprised or disgusted, I had to stop myself.

    This idea has been around for at least a hundred years in the US; I suspect it goes back further but I can't say for sure. From the information I've seen, it's concentrated in religious circles, but can also be found minimally secular schools of thought.

    I only mean to say: it's sad but well established

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  31. @ Froggie:

    I have claimed a psych major, yes. I haven't had any classes yet that say "Spanking messes up your kids."

    I have had classes that say "You probably shouldn't spank your kids for hitting some one. If the punishment mirrors the crime, it's not really all that effective."


    I have some lines that I draw between "good" and "bad" spankings. Mostly from examples set forth by my mother and step father respectively.

    My stepfather once caught my stepsister smoking. They're a country bunch, so she has some of those little cowgirl belts that have the small metal plates on them with designs etched in. He spanked her with one of those. A lot. So much that one of the little metal things fell off.

    When my mom spanked me, it was only after she tried other forms of punishment first, and she never left any bruises or broke anything. She left only a stinging sensation on my butt. She rarely used a belt, and NEVER used anything stiff and hard like a switch or paddle.


    But, I contend that once we understand the positive disciplinary techniques, based on sacrifice and the well being of the child, there is no need to use the swat on the butt.

    Actually, one might consider spanking a positive punishment in the literal psychological meaning. It's positive because the punishment adds something that is undesired to the recipient's life; namely discomfort and a bit of sting.

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  32. Both of my parents were professional psychologists. I was never spanked or physically disciplined in my whole life. Maybe my self-esteem is too high now, I actually dare to discuss controversial issues on teh intertubes.
    Just sayin'

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  33. I wanted to pipe in to pipe in on this spanking thing yesterday, but I held off for some reason.

    My parents were (and are) excellent. They were smart, tried their best to guide me while letting me chart my own course through life, and kept me stimulated by exposing me to new stuff.

    I can remember them using corporal punishment only twice, but I'm fairly sure there were other occasions. Probably no more than a half dozen over my life time.

    What made those 2 instances memorable (and the others not)?

    Context.

    In the first, I was a little kid (5?), and I remember sitting with my Dad in the livingroom. I remember being rebellious though not about what; I think it had something to do with the way I treated my mother while he was at work, and not wanting to own up to it. Anyhow, he used the classic "this will hurt me more than it hurts you" phrase, and whacked me on the arse several times, with his hand. Afterwards, he said something along the lines of "I didn't want to do that, but you forced me to. Please don't make me do it again".

    The second time was kind of random. I think I must have been sixteen or so, and got something in my eye. Something painful, like a household chemical (rather than a piece of dirt). I was at the bathroom sink and my Mom was yelling at me (probably a little panicky) to wash it out with water. I don't remember why, but I was both angry and scared, and after being yelled at a few times, I yelled at her to shut up.

    My dad slapped me. We were both kind of surprised, and I don't think we ever brought it up again.

    ---

    In my humble opinion, the context (and intent) of the punishment is what determines how justified it was. I tend to think there's no good reason to use sticks or belts or whatever, but I can't say they shouldn't be used either.

    It's far more damaging to a child to be punished by someone exhibiting anger, rage or hatred, than it is by someone who's resigned, or tries to convey that a lesson is being taught. It's also painful if the child fails to understand why he/she was punished.

    IOW, I don't think such punishment is bad by itself. The situation that resulted in it, the relationship between the punisher and the punishee (heh) and the intent of the one doing the punishing - those three determine just how much long term damage will be done.

    IMHO

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  34. Froggie -

    Thanks for that. I was unsure if your 'If I am a teacher...' was a typo or what, thank you for the clarification.

    I am not a teacher; I am a trainer. I train groups of people (ranging from 2 to 20, normall) from other organizations on just about anything that needs to be trained, within my area of expertise.

    I have definitely not done this as long as you have been doing your 'thing' and I admire your fortitude. I would guess that you sometimes have a wide range of 'situations' that you have to deal with, perhaps some similar to those I encounter.

    Perhaps I sense something that isn't there, but I did not intend to be too 'nosey' into your business. Also, if you'd explained this to the general population before, I apologize for not catching it.

    I like to understand the background and experience of the people I'm 'conversing' with, that was my reasoning. I was not trying to find a 'hole' in your life-experience to question anything you may state here.

    Thank you for your feedback and explanation.

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  35. Felix,
    "The guys whose self-esteem was thoroughly demolished through peer pressure and ostracization of anyone not fitting into the norm, freaked out because they had high self-esteem. Makes perfect sense."

    That, as well as the rest of your comment is precicely spot on. Thanks.

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  36. Felix,
    "Both of my parents were professional psychologists. I was never spanked or physically disciplined in my whole life. Maybe my self-esteem is too high now, I actually dare to discuss controversial issues on teh intertubes.
    Just sayin'"

    Ohhh yeah! I admit it is nice to have my idea validated by a personal story. My story is very similar.

    And I don't think anyone is going to recommend that you go and get yourself abused so you can shed some of that self esteem!

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  37. Laof,

    No problem. We have posted threads here where we shared our personals to whatever degree we wanted to. But new people come along and etc.

    I have to laugh sometimes as my degree is in engineering but I only worked at that for three years before I was asked to manage a dept in the company I was working for and I never looked back after that. Thus, I don't consider myself an "engineer."

    I am amazed sometimes at the circuitous route that my career took me through to end up where I am.

    By the way, in reference to your comment, I still say that spanking a kid results in teaching them that phisical abuse is somehow acceptable in a loving relationship.

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  38. Froggie said:

    "By the way, in reference to your comment, I still say that spanking a kid results in teaching them that phisical abuse is somehow acceptable in a loving relationship."

    To which comment do you refer? Are you sure it was a comment I made?

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  39. laof,

    "To which comment do you refer? Are you sure it was a comment I made?"

    I thought that you had said that you didn't see anything wrong with a "good spanking," but I could be wrong.

    I came back here because we had this dialogue going on and It has been a good exchange, but I can't come back this far again because I am bareky able to keep up everything else I am doing right now.

    Perhaps sometime we could have a personal chat in one venue or another.

    I consider you as a very "practical" and insightful guy.

    I'll catch up with you on an earlier thread, and take care.

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