Sunday, November 6, 2011

I Will Miss Andy Rooney Talking Wryly About The Oddities Of Life

I will miss Andy Rooney.  The Critical Thinker was inspired and patterned after his commentary at the end of each 60 Minutes broadcast. As it was written, Mr. Rooney spent more than 30 years wryly talking about the oddities of life. It is the oddities of life that inspire each new Critical Thinker blog post. Rest in peace Mr. Rooney.

The Same Old Play

Where do these people keep coming from? I don't know about you, but I am tired of this same old play. It seems that every time someone begins to ascend, here comes the women (or men) claiming sexual harassment. It's the same old play. My question is why weren't the allegations made at the time they allegedly occurred? This is not an attempt to defend any of these men or women for that matter because if they did indeed sexually harass someone than they need to suffer the consequences that go along with it, however, it just seems strange that the stories don't surface until the person is running for office or being nominated for a position. Clarence Thomas and Bill Clinton immediately come to mind. Regardless of if the allegations are true or not, it is not the point of this post. The question is why isn't the issue (sexual harassment) dealt with prior to the person running for office? Why does it always only become an issue when the person is now in the spot light?  Where do these people come from? 

My guess is, when all of the commentary, flirting and bantering is going on, it is a two way street between the parties and then when one of the parties now becomes famous or is seeking political office the conversations and fun now becomes sexual harassment. My thesis for my Master's Degree in Corporate and Organizational Communications dealt with sexual harassment. I was completing my degree about the time of the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas case and I learned a lot about sexual harassment during my research. Sexual harassment occurs when one party has clearly said "stop" or makes it very clear that actions or words are indeed making him/her uncomfortable. If one of the parties is in a position of authority over the other party, it takes on an even different meaning. If neither of the parties have expressly asked the other to stop, sexual harassment has not occurred. Calling someone attractive or positively commenting on someones attire does not constitute sexual harassment. If either party continues after it has been made known that he/she is to stop and he/she continues, then a case can be made for sexual harassment.

I am always just a little skeptical of these claims only because of when they are made. I always wonder did someone put the person up to making the claim at that particular time. I sometimes think that Anita Hill was threatened in some way causing her to make her accusations of Clarence Thomas. I am hardly a Clarence Thomas fan, but I do always wonder why did Ms. Hill make the claims at the point of his nomination to the Supreme Court and not earlier when he was virtually unknown. I am wondering the same about these women who are making the claims public about Herman Cain, now that he is running for president. I am not saying their claims are not valid; I just question the motive behind their timing. It would seem to me if it were really that much of an issue, it would have been dealt with at the time that the harassment occurred and not wait years later before speaking out. Had the person not been nominated or decided to run for president would the information have remained dormant? Would the issue never have been resolved? Something to think about.

He That Spareth The Rod Hateth His Son/Daughter

My July 19th blog post was titled "I Am Not Going To Do To My Children What My Parents Did To Me dealing with the notion of there being a difference between discipline and abuse. There is no doubt in my mind that we as parents must be able to discipline our children when we can see that they are going astray and shame on us if we do not. This issue has surfaced again over the last few days with a video shared by a now twenty three year old young lady of her father who is a judge using a belt to discipline her seven years ago when she was sixteen. The first problem I have with this is why was it video taped and who was doing the recording? In the video both the mother and the father appear. The second problem I have with this is the fact that it is just being released seven years later and third problem I have with this is in the video the father is constantly directing his daughter to bend over the bed and she absolutely refuses to do it. It is clearly seen that she would rather take the licks than follow instructions. In my mind it is probably this type of resistance that is causing her to be punished/disciplined to begin with. I don't know this young lady from a can of paint, but I would be willing to bet that she was a very resistant teenager who probably broke the rules set by her parents quite frequently. I could be wrong, but the very strong resistence seen in the video of her not bending over yet at the same time taking the belt links on the legs and arms, etc. tells me that this young lady was probably very stubborn and was trying to show her father that she was not going to listen to him no matter what he said or did. I say again, I bet she was like that in more than just the incident with the belt. If you look at the video, the mother comes in and now tells her to bend over as well and she finally does it and the mother gives her one lick with the belt.

Watching this video brought back memories of my own childhood where every now and again I got "The Belt."  Yes, my parents used the belt and I did not die from it. They did not kill me and I did not have to receive it often because I learned that whatever I was receiving "The Belt" for I was not going to do again because I did not want to receive the belt again. Interestingly enough, I received very few beatings because my parents did not have much trouble out of me. In my home as a child, my sister and I both knew who the children were and who the adults were and we rarely crossed that line. Funny enough when my mother tried to beat us with the belt she would wind up actually hitting herself more than us as we ran and squirmed trying to get away; my father on the other hand was left handed and did not miss. In the end it was clear that we were being disciplined out of love and to keep us from behaviors or doing something that could ruin our future. My parents kept us in line and both me and my sister were and are the better for it. One of my worst beatings was one I never got. I was about four or five and my family was about to go to a department store called Grand Way. Right before our leaving I was caught trying to insert something into an electric socket. My father grabbed me and said you are going to "get it" when we come back home. My entire time at Grand Way was miserable. I became sick and began vomiting the popcorn that was purchased for us at the store. When my father saw all of that, he said that I had suffered enough and that he was not going to use the belt on me. I tell you what, I have never stuck anything other than an electric plug in an electric socket and it has been over forty five years ago since that happened. I can remember it like it was yesterday. My point is, my parents were disciplining me to keep me from doing something that could have gotten me killed.

The lashing that I saw the judge giving his daughter in the video was nothing less than what me and my sister received every now and again as kids. I can remember yelling and screaming just like that girl, but guess what, the sting lasted for a few hours and I was on my way again. I don't believe I was a repeat offender for anything I received "The Belt" for.

Please let me be clear because I know someone out there reading this will take what I am saying as me advocating for abuse and violence. I am not. I do believe however, that we have gotten so far off of the mark in our ability to help our children understand what is acceptable behavior and what is not acceptable behavior with all of these soft tactics such as "Time out" and all of this soft soaping and sugar coating children's and teen's wrong behavior. Too many teenagers and children truly feel that they have a right to do what they want to do and disrespect their parents and any other adults. I know of what I write about because I work with children every day and I know of what I see and hear. I also know of the parents who have come into my office talking about they don't know what to do with their own children that they gave birth to or in fear that their children will call the police or local Division of Youth and Family Services on them if they make an effort to discipline them.

The judge's daughter has no idea how blessed she was/is to have parents who loved her enough to discipline her in her youth to keep her from ruining her life. While I don't know the dynamics of this family, I am sure with this man being a judge, that he would not be stupid enough to do anything illegal that would cause him to be disbarred or locked up himself. He knew and knows the law. Just as the video was shown seven years later, it could have been shown then. He was not hitting her with the belt buckle and to be honest it did not appear that he was not hitting her that hard. Whatever she had done, he was trying to send her a message, not to do it again and even during the disciplining she was resisting.

Proverbs 13:24 makes it very clear that "He that spareth the rod hateth his son; but he that loveth him chasteneth him."  This is not saying to abuse. Let me be clear again, there is a difference between discipline and abuse and I am not advocating abuse of any kind. I am with the judge on this one. I don't know him from Adam's house cat but I am with him on this one. It was this same issue that I was addressing in my July 19th post and my position has not changed. I can count the amount of times on one hand that I had to actually discipline any of my children with a belt and it was because they understood that if that was the discipline method required, that would be the discipline method used. I rarely had to use it and when I did, my kids understood the old cliche that it was actually hurting me more than it was hurting them. As parents it is our charge to set our children up for success. When we spoil them and allow them to think that they are always going to get what they want, we are setting them up for failure. Society does not work that way and they are in for a serious let down and disappointment if we mislead them into thinking that things will always go their way. That is what happens when we give them everything they want and allow them to do anything they want to do whether it be right or wrong. Every now and again "The Belt" speaks louder than any words.