"When I was about twenty years old, I met an old pastor's wife who told me that when she was young and had her first child, she didn't believe in striking children, although spanking kids with a switch pulled from a tree was standard punishment at the time. "But one day when her son was four or five, he did something that she felt warranted a spanking--the first in his life. And she told him he would have to go outside and find a switch for her to hit him with. The boy was gone a long time. And when he came back in, he was crying. "He said to her, 'Mama, I couldn't find a switch, but here's a rock you can throw at me.'
All of the sudden a mother understood how the situation felt from the child's point of view: that if my mother wants to hurt me, it makes no difference what she does it with; she might as well do it with a stone. "The mother took the boy onto her lap and they both cried. Then she laid the rock on a shelf in the kitchen to remind herself forever: never violence. Because violence begins in the nursery--one can raise children into violence." ~From a peace prize acceptance speech given by Astrid Lindgren, author of Pippi Longstocking
I read this quote the other day and it has torn me up one side and down the other. I held Dane for a while and cried big tears all over his big melon head. I still can't stop thinking about it and can hear that sweet little boy's voice every time I look at the big, round eyes and droopy cheeks on my nearly-four month old. We spend hours each day playing in the floor together, he watches me cook almost every meal from his bouncy seat on our big kitchen island, and he snuggles up with Tevie and I in the morning and before bed each night. I cannot fathom those giant blue eyes looking up at me with hurt in them. Not only can I not bear the thought of hurting him, I couldn't bear to know that he was afraid of me and what I was going to do him. Of course I want him to be reverent, but never, ever fearful.
Tevie and I haven't finished discussing how we are going to go about punishment as Dane gets older, but this definitely sparked a great conversation the other day. I read a similar article, written in the child's point of view, regarding the "cry it out" method. That helped us come to a decision on that topic.
I don't mean to say that not spanking makes one a superior parent. Tevie and I were spanked and we have amazing, loving parents and we didn't turn out too warped. :) Kidding! Maybe this quote will spark a conversation in your family as you decide what's best when it comes to raising your precious gifts from God.