Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Parenting or Abuse

With all the publicity the mother of the Baltimore teen that grabbed him, punched and threw him into a fence I find this an opportune time to offer another point of view.  Many people still believe hitting your child (and only your child the neighbor child is off limits), is a good from of discipline. I offer this for consideration.

Children learn from parents, not just by what the parent says, but also by what the parent does. Children learn respect based on the respect in the home.  When I correct my child do I respect them in the process?  If I yell or spank I do not show my child respect?  I do however get them to stop the behavior not because they respect me, but rather they are afraid of me.  

Punishment for inappropriate behavior still needs to respect the child.  If I were misbehaving would I want someone to hit or spank me, to yell or scream at me? NO! So why would I believe it would be okay to do the same to my child? When parenting with respect I teach my child respect. I teach them how to respond to others when others are not being respectful.  I teach them to think about their actions (what they say, what they do).  I teach them to listen to their own conscience as to what is right and wrong in order for them to choose a better path.  Children learn how to act from their parents.  If I wouldn't want something said or done to me, then why would I say or do it to my child?

Parenting with integrity requires a whole new set of ideas and options.  I have to be creative and I have to be willing to spend the time it takes to "teach" a child, not just boss them around. If this mother had been videoed hitting any child but her own, the conversation around her actions would be completely different. She would have most likely been arrested.

Treat others the way I want to be treated is a great guide-line for all of us.  I don't know where the exception came from that gives an exception if it is my own child the transgression is against. Spare the rod and spoil the child doesn't mean to hit them.  It does mean to guide them in the directions you want them to go.

Note to the media and CBS in particular:  When listening to the morning broadcast today (April 29, 2015) I was amazed at the way the news anchors encouraged her actions and even cheered her own to possible be the "mother of the year".  If this is what mother of the year looks like, I don't want to be one.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

What do my thoughts produce for me?

Thoughts held in mind produce like kind (Unity).  A belief I hold to and have even proven to myself is true.  One of the reasons I try to only post positive thoughts and encouragement each day.  I only want good thoughts held in my own brain.  As I am human and still think negatively from time to time, I have learned to recognize those negative thoughts sooner and switch the path to a different topic and direction.  My conscience is my guide and living to my highest good is important to me.

It occurs to me that I and others I know or have had contact with, use the cloak of humor and satire to disguise the negative thoughts that create the negative actions.  We say unkind things about others and ourselves and write it off to “it was joke” wow, just lighten up don’t take it so serious.

Age is the one that stands out most to me today.  If I were to believe all the messages media (TV commercials, posts about getting old, and the losses associated to the process) I’m not sure I would want to get up in the morning.  My two step plan is this I am skipping over as many of these posts on my FB page as I can. If one catches my eye and I do read it (sometimes I just can’t help myself-excuse for not following my plan) my step two is to think in a positive manner of what I just read.

Example: You know you are getting old when “The little old gray haired lady you helped across the street is your wife”.
 My response:  How fortunate to have a husband that cares this much for me after all these years.
We all need a chuckle now and again and to be honest I enjoy a few of these from time to time, I just don’t make them a daily diet.  I don’t let them linger in my mind to become my belief about me and my life. So as we post each day, let us try to keep the humor and thoughts at a higher level lest it drags us to the bottom.

Today’s thought held in mind:  I breathe in and feel the knowing of life and its infinite possibilities no matter my how long the road of my journey has been.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Unity, A Course In Miracles, Abraham are you Crazy?

Over the past few days I have read many articles in disagreement with "A Course In Miracles, Abraham Hicks, organizations (churches) like Unity (where I attend) just to name a few.  Many believe all of the aforementioned are no more than cults and anyone following their beliefs and teachings are simply cult members being lead around by our noses.

One such article suggests "if you can't prove it, it isn't true".  Hmmm.... the only requirement in any of these alternative beliefs is that one explore and determine for one's self what one decides to believe in.  I also notice many of those authors spewing concern and outrage at the fact I might have a different view of my own life and belief system would have me choose a "religion" based in fact and connected to a respectful and recognized sect such as Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, First Christian"... you get my point. How many can "prove" the parting of the Red Sea, the burning bush Moses spoke to when he climbed that mountain, the crippled and maimed that Jesus healed when walking among us, his resurrection?  Are these not stories, ideas, beliefs that have been written down and in some cases many years after the fact? Are we not asked by the chosen few following strict doctrines, to believe and follow only what they as faith leaders want us to believe?  That to do otherwise will surely lead us to no good end and we will burn in Hell forever. One such leader said, to follow any idea other than the laws and beliefs of organized religion is to only be a lost sheep following other lost sheep and no good can come to me or anyone who strays from this straight and narrow path which has been so carefully laid for me to follow. Okay now I am really scared.

I have to wonder just what it is that intimidates them about me thinking there might be something different or better our there for me? Could it be my wondering from the flock lessens the control they once held over me. Following my heart and how I choose to believe in a God, Higher Power, or Spirit denies them what? Being a free thinking person with her own ideas, concepts and conclusions is a risky business. Following one's own heart isn't for the timid or meek I am telling you.

For many years I looked and desired to find something that made sense to me about how I felt and believed. I could never put it all together when sitting in the pew listening to the man in front of me saying I was no good and a sinner and if I didn't stop my evil ways God would surely send a lighting bolt from above and bring me to my knees. I can tell you as a ten year old this was a pretty scary message.  Why was it that a loving caring God would want to hurt me and punish me for not obeying rather than assist me in learning a better way?  When I remember the kindness and caring with which my own earthly father treated me even when I didn't always follow the rules, to hear this leader of God tell me how bad I was just didn't resonate with what I was feeling on the inside.

A few years ago I walked through the doors of Unity of Indianapolis where I was welcomed with open arms, no judgement and invited to simply be. "BE" in a place that was filled with unconditional love, encouragement to feel good about the me I knew I was, and to share the space with others like me. To this day no one has said "no you are wrong" and every week I am encouraged to question more and to find and follow my own path to happiness and well being.  I invite anyone reading this to take a step out of the fog open your mind and follow your heart for that is where true love and peace lives.  It is the acceptance of self and understanding it is okay to be a Spirit having an human experience that makes me happy.  Much love and light to you always.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Women Should Cover Up (Justifying the wrong)

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month postings have begun to bring attention to this subject. This was the first story I saw as I signed on to Face Book today.
“Telling all men not to rape is somewhat simplistic. I’m certainly not justifying the evil in any way-but…”
  • Women didn't get rape in the 1700’s they wore clothing that covered them from head to toe.
  • When you look like a slut, you get treated like a slut.
  • It’s like looking both ways before you cross the street; you wouldn't  because it is dangerous. You have to protect yourself again the danger.

Yes you are justifying rape.  Telling men not to rape is exactly what we should be saying. Sexual assault isn’t about what I am wearing or not wearing.  It IS about power and control. Men have been raping for as far back as time has been documented.  We are still living in a rape culture.  Men are still taught they are superior to women.  Television, movies, commercials, advertising all sexualize women and few people are objecting to it, including women.

The culture we live in tells girls and women in order to be seen you must look a certain way.  If you use your body and looks you can have a blank check... (Provided you are willing to participate in the very behavior that exploits you and other women).  Teaching our sons to not look at women as objects as toys, or that in some way women are somehow lesser than being male is exactly the right thing to do. 

*Following is an open letter from a father to his son: 

 Seeing a Woman: A conversation between a father and son
August 14, 2013 —
Someday I am going to have to have the conversation with my son.  No, not the conversation all parents dread giving and all kids are mortified having.  I enjoy making people uncomfortable so that conversation should be fun.
No, I’m talking about another conversation.  The one that happens after I catch his eye doing what male eyes do well – following an object of lust.  We will probably be out at the mall, because that’s what dads do with their sons, and I’ll catch the look.  Maybe we’ll go to the beach and see it.  Doesn’t matter where it is, there will come a time when I will see it.  And then it will be time for this conversation.
Hey, come here.  Let me talk to you.  I saw you look at her.  I’m not judging you or shaming you.  I know why you did.  I get it.  But we have to talk about it because how you look at a woman matters.
A lot of people will try and tell you that a woman should watch how she dresses so she doesn’t tempt you to look at her wrongly.  Here is what I will tell you.  It is a woman’s responsibility to dress herself in the morning.  It is your responsibility to look at her like a human being regardless of what she is wearing.  You will feel the temptation to blame her for your wandering eyes because of what she is wearing – or not wearing.  But don’t.  Don’t play the victim.  You are not a helpless victim when it comes to your eyes.  You have full control over them.  Exercise that control.  Train them to look her in the eyes.  Discipline yourself to see her, not her clothes or her body.  The moment you play the victim you fall into the lie that you are simply embodied reaction to external stimuli unable to determine right from wrong, human from flesh. Look right at me.  That is a ridiculous lie.
You are more than that.  And the woman you are looking at is more than her clothes.  She is more than her body.  There is a lot of talk about how men objectify women, and largely, it is true.  Humans objectify the things they love in effort to control them.  If you truly love a person, do not reduce them to an object.  The moment you objectify another human – woman or man, you give up your humanity.
There are two views regarding a woman’s dress code that you will be pressured to buy into.  One view will say that women need to dress to get the attention of men.  The other view will say women need to dress to protect men from themselves.  Son, you are better than both of these.  A woman, or any human being, should not have to dress to get your attention.  You should give them the full attention they deserve simply because they are a fellow human being.  On the other side, a woman should not have to feel like she needs to protect you from you.  You need to be in control of you.
Unfortunately, much of how the sexes interact with each is rooted in fear.  Fear of rejection, fear of abuse, fear of being out of control.  In some ways, the church has added to this.  We fear each other because we have been taught the other is dangerous.  We’ve been a taught a woman’s body will cause men to sin.  We’re told that if a woman shows too much of her body men will do stupid things.  Let’s be clear: a woman’s body is not dangerous to you.  Her body will not cause you harm.  It will not make you do stupid things.  If you do stupid things it is because you chose to do stupid things.  So don’t contribute to the fear that exists between men and women.
A woman’s body is beautiful and wonderful and mysterious.  Respect it by respecting her as an individual with hopes and dreams and experiences and emotions and longings.  Let her be confident.  Encourage her confidence.  But don’t do all this because she is weaker.  That’s the biggest bunch of crap out there.  Women are not weaker than men.  They are not the weaker sex.  They are the other sex.
I’m not telling you to not look at women.  Just the opposite.  I’m telling you to see women.  Really see them.  Not just with your eyes, but with your heart.  Don’t look to see something that tickles your senses, but see a human being.

My hope is that changing how you see women will change how you are around them.  Don’t just be around women.  Be with women, because in the end, they want to be with you, without fear of being judged, or shamed, or condemned, or objectified, or being treated as other.  And that’s not just what women want.  That’s what people want.  Ultimately, it’s what you want.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

I Can Say What I Want

Today I read a posting which said: “I like when I don’t have to be careful about what I say. That’s when you know you're with the right people.” (Spirit Science)

Caution to not confuse this with saying whatever I please because I know you well. In the work I do with families of domestic violence it has been my experience abusive people use familiarity as a justification to say or do what they want. For example: one session we were discussing the use of words that are considered profanity.  I was trying to draw out the thinking behind the actions. Many times the thoughts are “that fuckin’ bitch”.  I was having difficulty getting the group to use the language that is inherent to their habit level thinking which produces abusive actions. I stopped and asked why they were having difficulty saying those words in class.

Them: I am trying to be respectful to you.
Me: Why do you believe you need to be respectful to me?
Them: Because you are a woman and you are older and the teacher.
Me: I see.
Me: How long have you known me?
Them: The answers range from 1 week to 26 weeks based on the client’s attendance.
Me: I see. So what I am hearing you say is I deserve more respect from you than the people you profess to love the most (mothers, fathers, wives, girlfriends, and children).
Them: Well they know me and how I am. I am with them all the time so I say what I want. You know when people get to know you that’s just how you talk.

No matter how well I know someone I still am required to be respectful, kind and considerate. Many times abusive people have habit level thinking of no matter what I say, my "wife, husband, child---whomever, understands that's just the way I am. In these families, there is more consideration given to strangers than the people they profess to love. Even in the most intimate of relationships there is still the need for basic respect.  Being able to tell you anything is much different than saying anything I please.