Spare the Rod, Save Your Child
Once upon a time I shared a cubicle with the detention supervisor.
Mr. Hell was swift and severe detention.
I was lavish and immediate positive attention.
We got along great, Mr. Hell and I, as I did not say anything to him,
And He felt equally compelled to share stories with me.
One day when I entered the school late, after the district wasted my morning
On a mandatory counseling meeting which was a complete and utter waste of my time,
And took me away from the children, which put me in a bad mood to boot
The secretary said, “Oh, it’s BAD in the detention room right now. I wouldn’t go in there if I were you.”
So of course I ran right in, with all my usual reserve and finesse.
Three grown men were standing along the walls.
Each one of them had their arms crossed and frowning faces.
An eight-year-old-boy who was regularly beaten with a belt by an angry severe father
A particular favorite of mine actually, being able to relate well to this side of him,
Was in the middle yelling, screaming, and SHRiEKING at the top of his lungs.
I said, “Tray, do you want to go with me?” To his credit he glared, stuck out his tongue and threw a vase at my head.
Having swift reflexes, I caught it and carefully handed it back to him, which I could see almost made him smile.
The arm-folded men could not see this from their vantage points, being in back and at his sides.
“What would it take to get you to come with me?” I asked Tray after he threw the vase at a now-angry-looking six foot three two-hundred and ten pound DARE officer, which means a police man, and how dare an 8 year-old bully one of them, right?
Tray thought for a long time.
I was SO hoping the men would stay out of it.
One started to talk and I gave him the HATE look, so he stopped. He was the vice principal.
Neither Tray or I take any guff from adults, especially adults in authority; it’s a result of having had the belt when you are young, thus learning you cannot trust your care-givers or anyone else.
In case there is any doubt in your mind here, every enraged child I have ever seen, every out-of-control –I-hate-the-world child I have ever spoken to had parents who were uneducated and insensitive and in complete ignorance of how the belt on a child will break their hearts. Especially if the parent waits to use the belt when she is already mad, and mean, and the wailing sobbing child feels the out-of-control parent is relishing using a big bad, welt-giving belt on them oftentimes Christian parents, which is why I HATE Christians so damned much.
Lost my thought again.
Back on track now.
Tray finally said, “You’d have to dance.”
If anyone ever saw me dance you’d still be laughing, but I danced, and danced and danced some more. I danced around Tray and Mr. Hell and the Detention supervisor and the Superintendent and the incredulous DARE Officer. Boy, did I dance.
I did the chicken dance, the Macarena dance, the good-grief-is -this- even-a-dance-dance.
Then out of breath, I asked, “What else, Tray? What else can I do to get you to come with me?” The reason a great counselor will ask a child such as belt-child-Tray, permission for every little thing, is that Tray, a belt-child, had so much power taken away at a young innocent age. He is a heartbroken victim of parents who gloatingly used a belt, flyswatter, shoe, hairbrush, switch from a tree, or whatever to show the child how angry they were about something.
A little warning here, now, parents, if you do not want to raise a psychopath or a manic depressive or a child with schizophrenia, please do not beat your children. A parent who shows a small child their angry-I-am-going-to-really-hurt-you side has lost all respect and awe and love whether they know it or not at the time.
Worse, their little child, an innocent child who has now had the full wrath of an angry adult unleashed on them in a I-will-kill-you-sort of way, a child like Tray and I, who have had the belt and immediately felt a broken heart, the I- have-had-the-belt-and-hate-everyone-now-children are going to need to get some power back somewhere down the line. They can do it in positive or very negative ways, and thank their parents, please, will you?
In the rare case you are slow, and do not fully understand what I am saying yet, at the age of two or three years-old, belt children are completely powerless when their ignorant, uneducated, I-will-show-you-how-mad-I-am-parents with mean faces, are giving them the belt, sometimes putting welts up and down their arms and legs too.
This added bonus reiterates to the now powerless heartbroken child that their parents, their heroes, the ones they loved and adored, are now monsters, who might be hiding under the bed or in the closet, and might come out at night and kill them next time. The unexpected side lesson is, there is no one to turn to, you are helpless, and we can kill you at will. Oh, by the way, pray to Jesus. Jesus will help you with everything BUT your parents.
Belt children are hyper-vigilant. They are always waiting for the other shoe to drop, for something to happen to make Mom mad, so she will have an excuse. They make great detectives, but not yet because they are children. The real lesson, the one you want to teach your child when she is young is: please understand you are no longer safe. Jesus cannot save you here. Your mother is mean and mad and powerful, and you had better do whatever you can to not make her mad.
Lesson learned, Mom. Lesson learned.
But let me just say, now that I’m an adult and I can see what you could not. Beating your child or children, is not the best parenting practices. Being a spiritualist I have to ask, “These men of old, these men who wrote the Bible to keep their women in place with fear, these men who wanted their women to hope for a good life later on, but not now as it might be an inconvenience to them, Why did they take the six books about reincarnation out of the Bible but leave in “Spare the rod, spoil the child? What the hell, you MEN of old? What the hell?
A big smile crossed Tray’s face because he and I have spent many hours together, and we both knew that he was now going to demand I do something we both knew I was not capable of doing. ”Now you have to whistle,” he said.
I stuck out my tongue at him, making him laugh, put my hands on my hips and said in my best 8-year-old-girl imitation, “YOU KNOW I can’t whistle!”
He laughed then, and could not stop. Loud guffaws of laughter, and I put out my hand, and he walked over, took it and we walked across that cubicle and I put my little “Go away and don’t come back” sign out, and we began to talk. We talked about the belt and how angry we are, oops ….I mean how angry and hurt and heartbroken he is when his dad acts like that. And it made me sad, and I told him it’s not best practices for a parent to do this, and I told him I had never used a belt on my children, and when he grew up, he would not have to use it on his children. I told him it’s okay to end the cycle of child abuse in his family, and he was amazed and said, “I would never hurt my children,” and we made a pact, and we hugged.
The end of a very good day for us. A very good day.