Thursday, July 22, 2010

Popular Practices Examined... Part Two(Spanking)

Disclaimer: So this will likely not be a gentle, dont hurt anyone's feelings kind of post (but then again, are any of them?)

While in Maui(a beautiful place with beautiful people), I ran in to some not so beautiful acting locals in a general store. There was a young man with two teenagers and a very young child. I did not even notice the child at first because the others were so boisterous, but then I heard a very hard whack and a child scream and fall into tears. Then I heard another whack and another. I couldn't see the child yet, I just heard his very sad cry that was bringing me to tears as well.

Then the party of four emerged from the aisle towards the cash register. The dad (I use that term loosely), was paying for his goods and telling the store clerk how spoiled his child was, while the child obviously humiliated and in pain was rubbing his bottom and trying hard to hide his face and tears in the pant leg of his father. Apparently though crying is also a capital offense in his family so after telling him to stop crying several times, he raised his hand again to go for another. If this is how this child is treated in public, what happens at home?

I couldn't take it anymore so I jumped in and not so gracefully as I would have liked. I shouted, "Hey, just because you are bigger than him doesn't mean you have the right to hurt him."

Lots of mind your own business comments ensued from the teenagers and father, but the comments that disgusted me the most were:
"This is my child" from the young man and from the store clerk, "he needed it".

So lets start with the first one:
When one decides to place their penis in another woman's vagina, that automatically gives him the right to hit and humiliate any person that happens to unfortunately be the result of that sex. That is interesting determination.
I am sorry, but No. Children are not property. Most people would argue that even pets are not one's property to do as you deem fit.

and the second:
He needed to be physically hurt and humiliated? When has that ever worked to teach anything more than anger, resentment, violence, and revenge? If you don't believe me, you may want to check out the volumes of research on this topic.

I am really not OK with the term spanking at all because I believe that it exists simply to make hitting another person sound acceptable in conversation. Many justify spanking as a form of discipline. Discipline comes from the word disciple which means "to guide". I am having a hard time imagining Jesus guiding others by hitting them. I am trying to envision having any of the people in my life who have been a guiding force hit me. In fact, I have very strained relationships at best with any person who has ever "spanked" me.

While I may attempt to intervene on the behalf of children in a more helping, positive way in the future, I urge you all to step in and stand up for children who are unable to help themselves. I could tell it truly shocked this dad that I even thought his behavior was inappropriate and it probably made no difference at all (especially with the way I handled it), but maybe, just maybe one of those teenagers or that little boy will think twice before hitting their own child one day.

It is time for this practice to end once and for all.

"There never was a time when a major social problem was solved by beating a child. And there never will be such a time... For centuries adults have injured children and have lied about it, and other adults have heard those lies and then merely turned away,"
-Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop, 1989


  1. Oh Tracy, I can not tell how happy I am that you were there for that little boy. I'm pretty sure that father is filled with guilt and hopefully he will think twice before hitting his child ever again, let's hope. People like you are such a blessing but, its too bad that people like you are few and far between. That little boy is in my prayers. I hope Elijah didn't see this.

  2. That's awful :( Good for you for saying something, I hope you planted a seed in that man's mind that his actions are not ok.
    ~Dionna @ Code Name: Mama