Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Acceptance, Change, and Truth

I have been lucky that in my life, I have had wonderful experiences to teach me acceptance of people -- all people. I grew up in a miniscule town. Around this town lived grumpy opinionated older people, rebel flag waving red necks, fundamentalist Christians who don't allow the women and girls to wear pants, cut their hair, or wear any jewelry, proud Ku Klux Klan members, the Choctaw nation, blacks, farmers, gays and lesbians, the more moderate Baptists and Methodists, and others who eluded niches and cubbies. Diversity is everywhere, but in a small town enclosed by swamps and poor roads, diversity is personal. You know to call out to Mr. Malcom before you touch him because he will turn around swinging. You know that Clem is not buying antiseptic for a cut, but to drink. You know that Mr. Willie Dee knows every rule and is on as mathematical a schedule as Philias Fogg. You know who has a short fuse, who likes to drink, who likes to fight, and who is in trouble. There are few real secrets.

Living here has taught me to find what I believe to be truth within myself and then stay true to that center. No, I will never agree with the prejudice of the Ku Klux Klan nor the closed mindedness of the exclusive conservative Christians here, but I live here and I belong to the community. Belonging means thinking about individuals. Yes! The individuals in the community are not always people I want to invite over for dinner (So, I don't). In fact, many times, people get angry, stomp around, and say terrible, hurtful things. Yet, even on the worse days, no one here would be left in the cold, stranded on the side of the road, or hungry. After a healing period, communication resumes.

Living here has taught me to bite my tongue in anger and wait; stay true to what I believe and live my life from that point; and, finally, to live a life that may show others who don't believe as I do that there are other options -- a Dickensian type of existence. What this means is that I am kind to all individuals, listen to ideas without attacking or sacrificing my morals, and continue to seek changes in small ways through individuals.

And . . . . The point is. I do believe that using a supply line to "train up" your child is abuse. I do believe that luring children into wrong, just so you can punish them is cruel. I do believe in positive discipline in which natural consequences, none of which include hitting, are allowed to occur so that your child will learn. Of course, this natural means of training takes more time and patience than scaring your children into submission, but the outcome is a child who respects you - not as a rod wielding child beater - as someone who sets logical and thoughtful limits. The outcome is a child who is not scared to voice his opinion, ask a question, help the family problem solve. The outcome is a child who grows into an adult who will not beat his children or wife. The outcome is respect for a fragile human being who is depending on you for care. I am not a Saint. I have lost my temper on more than one occasion and screeched and yapped, but my children do not fear me. I am human. My children are human. If we make a mistake we apologize and move forward.

And . . . The next point. I still cannot support Homeschool blogger or the Pearls which means I cannot be a full participant in the Carnival of Homeschooling, but I will participate whenever I can (when a Homeschool Blogger does not host) because each time someone enters my site I have an opportunity to show that the calm in our family does not come from fear and that I am not scared to make mistakes and learn from my children. I will write for the Country Fair every opportunity I get because I believe in the Boycott and I respect the passion of the organizers who have brought so much attention to the wide spread "Christian" use of child abuse. I want change, yet I realize that change will pass from individual to individual(like the Pearl's method). I remain true to my heart and realize that sacrifices have to be made for ideals, yet I still shudder thinking of the personal attacks endured yesterday by brave individuals who believe with passion in an ideal.


mom2radata said...

Small towns do teach you something about acceptance. I will look forward to seeing your posts on the Country Fair. I am steering clear of the Carnival altogether, though. I don't know the bloggers well enough to know which articles to read and which ones to leave alone but it obviously goes beyond boycotting HSB.

wisteria said...

Becky at Farm School taught me a trick. You can check the link before you click by holding your mouse over it with mouse. I think on a Windows system you can right click to check the link. All this being said, I rarely find enjoyment in the carnivals because of extra step. I, too, am so excited about an alternative.

Samantha said...

Did you grow up in Mississippi? I live in Southern Alabama (will be moving soon) and I have also lived in a small town in Tennessee. I've learnt to keep my mouth shut. I'm not a conservative, and I'm not a christian, but I am opinionated - it's not easy remaining quiet. It does force you to really think about who you are when you are surrounded by a majority that holds some very different views.

wisteria said...

I grew up here, left for college, returned for 6 months and left for Chicago where I attended graduate school, taught, and lived for 12 years. I returned here when my son, now 10, was almost a year old.