Without a paddle!
Is it ever “okay” to hit a small child?
Or to hit anyone, for that matter?
In the small rural community of Ocala, Florida, as reported by www.Ocala.com, “Newly elected School Board member Carol Ely wants to bring corporal punishment back to Marion County schools, two years after the controversial punishment was banned.” And she is receiving support to reinstate this primitive method of discipline, one which involves an adult school official swinging forcefully a large wooden or fiberglass paddle with the intention of striking the tender buttocks of a young child.
Another Marion County board member, Angie Boynton, said while she “does not personally believe in paddling, she would support it as long as parents give permission.”
I am only left to imagine the significantly diminished level comfort and security that public declaration offers to a young child whose home life may be painfully lacking in boundaries, a young child whose own parents’ preferred form of communication is physical force, behavior born out of an “Old Cultural Story” way of thinking where “spanking is a matter of tradition and good old-fashioned discipline.”
If, as Ms. Boynton said, she does not “personally believe in paddling” but will “support it as long as the parents give permission,” why is she not standing in the light of her own truth, what she has publicly professed as her “personal belief”? By the way, the percentage of parents who gave permission to school officials to paddle their children during the years this “code of conduct” was in place and being utilized was reported by Ely to be 95%.
In a recent article reported on FoxNews, in Springtown, Texas, “When Taylor Santos, 15, allegedly let a classmate copy her homework, Vice Principal Kirt Shaw disciplined the girl with a large wooden paddle, which he swung with a violent, upward motion, according to the girl’s mom, Anna Jorgensen,” leaving her teenage daughter feeling numb and burned and humiliated.
As disturbing as these stories are to me, what really caught my attention is not so much the observation of what is happening, but the observation of what is missing…the absence of which pointed me, once again, to one of the critical questions posed to us in “The Storm Before the Calm”:
“Is it possible that there is something we don’t fully understand about God and life, the understanding of which would change everything?”
The answer is undoubtedly yes.
Stories like the two I’ve illustrated invite us to consider the importance of and the possibilities held within having a conversation around questions like this. But are the limitations and restrictions placed upon our children in relation to what they are allowed to hear about and talk about in school blocking their opportunities to see the infinite number of possibilities, all leading to the experience of knowing more fully who they really are? And is it possible that, likewise, that the teachers, administrators, and school board members are also being prevented that same opportunity to experience life at a higher level? Thus being the reason why the only or best choice they are being allowed (or choosing) to see is the one based in fear and not the one based in love?
If every child had the opportunity to learn about the God of their choosing, to explore their own spirituality freely and openly, to appreciate the diversity of their fellow classmates, and to understand a new definition of “relationship” within a new context, a new perspective, a Soul Perspective, could we not potentially eliminate a “need” for most, if not all, of what we perceive to be, for lack of a better word, “bad” behaviors?
What if, in our children’s most formative and delicate years, instead of paddling them, we gifted them with the wisdom to create the life of their dreams by utilizing a process of asking and answering the Four Fundamental Questions of Life:
1. Who am I?
2. Where am I?
3. Why am I where I am?
4. And what do I intend to do about that?
Perhaps if we incorporated larger explorations of Oneness and Beingness into our children’s current curriculum of history and mathematics and government, we would (maybe even in our lifetime) truly witness the birth of a new world, where politics would inspire and unite, instead of dividing and separating; where world countries would co-exist in peace and celebrate each other’s diversity, instead of condemning and engaging in war; and where our children would grow up entering into purposeful and meaningful life partnerships and experiencing relationships without conditions, relationships which nurture Self-expression and provide for the ultimate demonstration of each individual’s Highest Self.
Life is inviting us.
How will the pages of our New Cultural Story read?
Is there, as “Conversations with God” says, another way….a path without a paddle?
(Lisa McCormack is the Managing Editor & Administrator of The Global Conversation. She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team at www.ChangingChange.net, a website offering emotional and spiritual support . To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com.)