One article Laura Grace Weldon wrote dealt with violence. While skimming it, I found that the bigger message could easily be applied to everyday life. Something as small as resolving conflicts within a loving, peaceful family. (she herself may have said something similar, but I was skimming so may have missed some points) And it made me think about my dad's visit this weekend.
"Nonviolence requires a level of conviction and inner strength that makes violence look easy."
Back in the day, my dad's day, kids were seen and not heard and spanking was just part of life. He grew up in an orphanage and I'm sure the mentality there reinforced these ideas. As he's gotten older and raised other kids, including many step-siblings and my 15 year old half-brother, he's softened a bit. But on some things, he hasn't budged.
While visiting this past week, there were several occasions where I saw him shake his head and make that little hrmph sound as an indication that my boys were doing something wrong. Those times included them getting rowdy and back talking. He also said something to me once or twice about not letting them talk that way to me.
On some levels, I see it. On others, I don't. BN and I have always shared the opinion that human beings are human beings, no matter their age. And thus deserve the same dignities and preservation of self.
For one, we don't spank or smack. I always cringe when I see a person smack a baby. Babies don't know any better and smacking is not our solution. Their world is all about the exploration and sometimes that includes the "no-nos". There are plenty of ways to dissuade that discovery or behavior that do not involve violence.
Once the babies leave that phase they are just like us only smaller - both in size and knowledge base.
Anyway, I'm am way off track. Back to the story.
I admit that I probably let my kids get away with small infractions. I always discuss these issues, but don't always act on them unless bodily harm is involved. Or mental and emotional harm in the case of teasing and name calling. Or it involves social norms and how we deal with it. (we homeschoolers have a social stigma, apparently)
Kids get rowdy. As long as they are in our home and they are not bothering anyone else, I don't correct them. Based on my dad's hrmph, I knew they needed to take the fun elsewhere. No problem.
As far as the back talking or what dad perceived as back talking, well, I might be a bit wishy washy on this matter. BN and I believe that kids get a say in things. Do they get a say in our finances? No. Do they get a say in what BN and I personally do? No. But in respect to their own lives, they get a say.
So when I tell them to stop what they are doing and do something else, I allow for some negotiation. My dad doesn't.
But my kids are well adjusted human beings. Capable of thinking for themselves. And that's how I roll.