Butterfly Sparks Designs

Thursday, August 2, 2007

don't you hate it when...

you think of the appropriate thing to say about 10 minutes too late?? this was my experience today. i'm feeling a bit blue- it has been raining all day in orlando, on top of the fact that i'm wrestling with my response (or lack thereof) to something i saw. i was checking out at the gap outlet and there was a mother with an adorable little girl behind me. the little girl was probably 2 or 3 years old, and she was sitting quietly in her stroller. next thing i know, i see the mother take off her sandal and slap the crap out of her daughters leg with the bottom of the shoe. the pop was REALLY loud, and her daughter started wailing. i could see a huge red mark on her leg. i looked wide eyed towards them, and somewhat turned back towards the front. (i was next up to a register). the lady directly behind the offending mother began muttering under her breath, and we looked at each other with expressions of disappointment and shock. the mother then says something to the effect of "i believe that parents have the right to discipline their children the way they want to." to which the other woman continued to mutter and i just stood there. she was basically saying that primarily to the other lady, because of her muttering. in the midst of this, i'm praying, "Lord, what should i do? do i say anything? and if i do, then what?" part of me is thinking that maybe she didn't intend to pop her so hard. if i'm honest, i would admit to giving a spanking or two that came off much harder or louder than i intended. so maybe that's what happened, right? but then i'm thinking that she surely had done that before, because who in the world would even think of taking off a shoe and hitting someone with it? she must have had experience in spanking with that tool before. these are some of the thoughts that go coursing through my mind as i stand there and say nothing. and the other lady really didn't say anything either.
now, of course, as soon as the lady strolls off, i think of PLENTY of things i could have said. like confronting her distorted logic that parents have the "right" to discipline their children any way they see fit. hmmmm. really? so it's ok to take a cigarette and put a burn mark on my child because i have the right to discipline the way i see fit? that's just silly. there is such a thing as RIGHT and WRONG- APPROPRIATE and INAPPROPRIATE. the logic that says you decide for yourself what is right and wrong is ridiculous. maybe that's why there are children starved, malnurished, beaten, abused EVERYDAY in the good ole USA. people think it's ok to do what they want to whom they want, and they have no fear of consequences. immediate or eternal. i'm mean, really, they'll probably get away with it just fine. at least on this earth. as i think about my response and the folks around me today, and i know that i am part of the problem. my silence.
i'm not trying to be overdramatic, but this has been sobering experience. and to my defense, it was a bit of a gray area. if it had been severe or obnoxious abuse, there is no question i would have intervened. but it wasn't and i didn't. and maybe i should have anyway. i'll just continue to ask the lord for grace today in how to process this piece of life.


lindsay said...

oh my! that makes me sad for that girl. i probably wouldn't have thought about my response before i glared at her or said, "WHAT are you doing?!" but yeah. what do you do? i used to watch my neighbors across the street slap and holler at their kids unnecessarily. i didn't know what to do. it's such a sticky situation, anymore.

ziondreamer said...

there have been numerous times where I have thought, "maybe they would respond if I just went over there and calmly and graciously mentioned that the way are behaving MIIIGHT not be the best or most profitable way to handle that situation."
Maybe we should just buy multiple copies of "Love and Logic" or "Total Transformation" to just keep in our bag or car. That way, when we see something like this, we can do something productive and possibly help that person take a positive step in their parenting.
For example, my dad had NOOOO positive model for parenting. Therefore, he was a terrible parent - clueless. But he is however, a teachable person. So I might reason that there are other people out there who may respond positively to some kind of gracious confrontation.
I don't know - it is just a thought. Because I have had very similar experiences.