“sex is the most awful, filthy thing on Earth, and you should save it for someone you love”

So, I was doing some much overdue blog surfing… and went to one of my favorite blogs – http://parentingbeyondbelief.com/blog/, and I happened to see a post called: “sex and the balls of the evangelical”, and the following quote at the top of the page really cracked me up.

Life in Lubbock, Texas taught me two things: One is that God loves you and you’re going to burn in hell. The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on Earth, and you should save it for someone you love.“ –Butch Hancock, country singer/songwriter

Now, I don’t really know Butch Hancock’s work – but, this quote alone was enough to make me want to run out and buy his CD.  LOL

The rest of the blog post there was also verrrry interesting…  Read the rest of this entry »

Is Disney evil??

A friend of mine emailed me today regarding being worried that her brother in law has gone over the deep end with religion.  This is interesting, since this friend is a fairly new convert to Christianity herself.  Yet, even she see’s there’s something not right here… She said that she came back from a visit with her family for the holidays.  And, that her brother in law is becoming more and more religious.  She said she couldn’t help to think about all the stories I had told her  Read the rest of this entry »

Response to “spare the rod” post at PBB….

What  sobering posts over on the “Parenting Beyond Belief” blog  – called spare the rod (and spare me the rest)“, and responses to “spare the rod”.  He talks about how many people, like James Dobson with Focus on the Family, use the bible to support spanking and different views on this.  As I recently mentioned, I can’t stand Dobson or FOF. I worry about messages being spread still today, and that good Christian people (like my friend who is a new mom) might buy into because they do like FOF and Dobson. 

My parents didn’t agree on much… but, they did both believe in spanking.  I have to say that my brothers got it worse than I did… but none of us ever got it that bad.  I wouldn’t say either my mother or father was “abusive” in their spanking methods, but I realize that’s a relative statement and matter of opinion. 

I do have vivid memories of my father threatening “the belt”, although, he never used it.  He DID spank with an open hand, though… not very often… but, enough that we believed we would “get it” if he threatened it. Usually, he only had to threaten it, and not do it, but we knew he WOULD if we didn’t listen.  My mother was more sporadic.  She’d whack ya with anything in her hand, usually a wooden spoon, if you weren’t listening. But, she must not have hit us very often or hard, because we were not as afraid of her.  She’d save the important spankings for my father to dish out.   They both believed that was part of his fatherly duties.  The old, “wait until your father gets home!” thing. 

One of the more common threats that my Dad use to say was “I’m going to rip your arm off and beat you over the head with the bloody end of it!”.  Ironically, this was NOT something scary, but rather something my brothers and I found humorous.  We knew he meant it sarcastically.  He had a bit of a warped sense of humor (as do I).  This saying did, however, use to scare our friends when they heard him say it.  But, my brothers and I would just laugh and say, “aww… he’s only kidding…. he always says that… and look – we still have 2 arms”.  No, we were more afraid of “the look”, or the threat of “you’re gonna get it!”. 

I do remember witnessing my brothers getting spanked… never with a belt… and never bare bottomed…  but always dramatic.  Often, if one of us got in trouble, we all did.  And, usually he started with my oldest brother.   I was usually hysterical just from watching my brothers get spanked while waiting for my turn…  and, probably because of that, and the facts that I was younger and a girl, my dad would barely swat me, if at all.  This is something my brothers still like to throw in my face about what a faker I was to get off of spankings LOL.  But, I really wasn’t faking.  It really was traumatic just to watch and wait.  

My oldest brother would always try to act tough, and to not cry…  and so, he’d get spanked the hardest I think…  until he DID cry.  Spanking is all about breaking that will and humiliation, isn’t it?  So, ironic… now that I think about it, being taught NOT to cry… and then punished harder for NOT crying.   ??  (I never really thought about that before now… but, wow… that’s pretty screwed up! ? ?)

My other brother, would go the dramatic route.  Running around screaming and yelling “no no no!”… until my father could wrestle him over or force him to come and get it.  Because he was already screaming and crying (moreso out of anger and frustration and for the pure drama effect, I think), he didn’t get spanked as hard.  Except for the time he put a book down his pants… and when my Dad hit that with his hand, he was really mad.

Then there was me.  Watching and waiting… trying not to cry, but failing miserably at times like this…  obediently going over when called without trying to run… and, I must have looked so pitiful, that my dad couldn’t/didn’t really spank me most of the time.  A couple times, he shut the door so my mom and brothers couldn’t see, and he whacked the bed or himself instead of me for sound effects… and told me to not tell (my mother) that he didn’t spank me. 

This leads me to believe that he didn’t always want to be “the enforcer”, but did feel like it was his job… and like he needed to do it to make my mom happy sometimes.  Which also leaves me feeling a bit bitter and resentful…

Looking back, I can not think of a time that I feel these spankings were really beneficial.  I have a hard time remembering what any of them were even for??  All of the memories that I DO have of important life lessons, or times I DO think I learned something good – had absolutely nothing to do with being spanked. 

I admit to having spanked my first child a couple times… which was more like a swat on a padded butt…  and nothing like the “proper spankings” described in the post at PBB. Each time I did, I immediately felt guilty and regretted it.  Each time I did, I was completely frustrated, upset, and/or scared when I did it.  Like, when my son was at the defiant 2 year old age and liked to  say “no” and run away as most 2 year olds do.  One day, though, he almost ran in to oncoming traffic as I called him and chased after him.  When I caught him, I was both relieved and upset, and it was almost a reflexive swat that I gave him. Part of me thought it was just the normal and right response.  Like it was something I ‘should’ do, or ‘had’ to do… “for his own good” (ugg… I am wincing at that saying as a I type it).  Once I calmed down, a bigger part of me just felt it was wrong. 

I am glad that I felt that way, and that I did not continue to use spanking as a form of punishment.  I realized there were other ways….  better communication, and if necessary threats and punishments (time outs, no more TV or Computer, no treats, etc.) that I could follow thru on more easily, that were also more effective and obviously the better choice.

It’s funny, we do not spank our boys now (ages 5 and 10) and we do not go to church.  My boys are also probably more concerned with doing the “right” thing , and “being nice” than most of our friends kids that go to church every Sunday.   I’m not just bragging here, and I know I’m bias – but, I can’t think of ANY kids we know that have better behavior or attitudes than our boys.  Sure, our boys and aren’t perfect angels – but, I tell you what… they are genuinely GOOD kids.  You might not believe me, but, this is not just my opinion.  We constantly have have friends and family tell us how they are impressed by how well behaved our boys are. 

~smj

The Call

Saw mom yesterday at my brother’s. She seemed to be doing well… except she started in again about not knowing where she was going to live in a few months… and complaining how broke she is. I mentioned that my oldest brother said she could go there… and she scoffed at the idea. Too far from her church, she said. Well, then, I told her she better start looking into cheaper apartments.

She was fishing… hoping I’d give her the slightest hope of coming to live with me.  She was being downright blunt.  So, I was very careful not to move too fast or give even the slightest glimmer of a chance of this to her.   Sort of like being at an auction, and afraid to move and make a bid.  LOL

After going on and on about how broke she is, she then went on and on about her latest plans for ministries. She’s flying to Nashville for “The Call, Nashville, direct from Tennessee with Lou Engle”. Then, in a few weeks later, she is traveling to help out with some other missionary trip to help (and preach to) folks still rebuilding after hurricane Katrina. Read the rest of this entry »

No more sleigh bells for my son…

Whelp…. my son is on to us (my husband and I). We will never be able to make him jump into bed again with threats of hearing sleigh bells on Christmas Eve…

I was reading my new “Parenting Beyond Belief” book… laying on the loveseat this morning with a cup of coffee, while my 2 sons were across the room watching cartoons. Or so, I thought!

I happened to be on the chapter about Holidays and Celebrations. There was a part called “To Easter Bunny or Not to Easter Bunny” (which was by, and can be found on “Agnostic Mom’s Blog” here)… and, as I’m peacefully reading, I suddenly hear my 10 year old say – “What’s that you’re reading about the Easter Bunny? HmmmmmMMMMMmmm??”. He was smiling and looked like the cat who ate the canary…

He caught me off-guard. Mostly because I thought he already was well aware that there wasn’t an Easter Bunny… he’s 10!

But it quickly dawned on me that he never really flat out asked or announced his disbelief. I just assumed he was going along for the sake of his little brother still. I smiled at him… and he smiled back. He looked like he was proud of himself – not upset. He started chanting, “There is no Easter Bunny! There is no Easter bunny!”.

I sort of shot a glance to him and eyeballed towards his little brother (who just turned 5), and told him to “ssssh”. Then, I called him into the other room so we could talk privately.

Me: “First of all… the book I’m reading was talking about all different holidays and celebrations and beliefs and religions… and how some people believe one thing… and others believe something else.”

DS1: “OoooooOOOOOOoooh. ….       But, IS there an Easter Bunny???? hmmmm???” (smiling)

Me: “what do you think?”
(I thought – wow… what good timing that I was JUST reading about this and different approaches to handle it! Of course, if I HADN’T been reading it, this wouldn’t be happening, because he wouldn’t have seen it! LOL)

DS1: “Nooooooo. I don’t think the Easter bunny is real” (laughing)

Me: “Well then, it sounds like you already knew then. And, yes… you are right. You didn’t really still think there was a bunny bringing you eggs and candy anymore did you?”

DS1: “Noooo. (more laughing). So what about Santa? Is HE real??”

Me: again, “Well? What do you think?”

DS1: “No. There’s no way he could go all the way around the world in one night! (more laughing)

Me: “Well then…. Again… it sounds like you already knew. So you aren’t surprised if I tell you that you are right again, right?”

DS1: “Ah HAA! I KNEW it!!!” (big grin)

Me – surprised: “So you still thought maybe there were?”

DS1: “Well.. I KNEW the Easter Bunny wasn’t real for sure… and I was 99% sure about Santa but wanted to make sure just in case”

Me: “Well… you know… the SPIRIT of Christmas and Santa is real – about giving to others and all”

DS1: “oh yeah…. Sure… but, there’s not a guy who flys around.  The presents come from you and Dad.”

Me: “right. But it was fun to pretend and believe in magic for a while, wasn’t it?

DS1: “yes”

Me: “so, do you think you can not tell your little brother just yet and we’ll wait til he asks? I think he likes to pretend too”

DS1: “I already tried to tell him last year that Santa wasn’t real – but he got mad and hit me”. (laughing)

Me: laughing back… “See? He doesn’t want to know yet. Let’s wait. He’ll know soon enough”.

DS1: “Okay”

I pause… studying his face briefly. He doesn’t LOOK upset. Still.. I can’t help but worry. It’s my job as a mother – to worry. I find myself wondering if he’s going to be damaged for life now and gingerly ask,

“So… what do you think about all this now that you know for sure?”

DS1 paused… and, blurted out, “I can’t believe when I’m a grown up I’m going to have to spend all that money on my kids!!”…

We both laughed hard… and I gave him a big hug…. I told him he didn’t HAVE to spend anything… you give because you want to… and that he didn’t HAVE to have kids… (to which he said “YAY!” ;)… but, I continued.. “But, you know… your father and I love you and your brother very much… and you are worth every penny.”….

=)

All in all… I think it went very well… I see no visible scars.

I know there’s a lot of controversy on this.  My Christian friends struggle with it too.  I always thought, my being NOT religious, made it easier to pretent because I wasn’t worried about sending the wrong message of the holidays not being religious enough. 

I seriously don’t remember being upset myself when I figured it all out.  I don’t even remember when I actually DID figure it all out.  I think I was like him, where I knew for a long time… but, went along for a while anyway.. just to make sure.. and because it was fun. When my next son wants to know the truth… we will tell him… but for now… I don’t think it is hurting him at all to have a little magic in his life.

 Of course, I could be wrong.  Someday – they might hate me for it…  and I’ll loose my mother of the year award – again. 😉

~ smj