There's a woman in my church who is approaching 40, but her firstborn is 4 and she has a 1 year old. Today she was asking me advice in the church parking lot about how to tell if the 4 year old was throwing fits because of emotional trauma at daycare, or because of her passionate personality. Quite frankly I didn't give a flip as to the diagnosis. I just knew if I had consistently thrown a fit like that child was - and does every time its time to leave anywhere - my existence would have ceased altogether! It was one of those situations where I was like, 'Can I borrow your child for two hours? I won't be too drastic; I'm just going to sign them up for a chain gang that chants catholic confessions in Latin as they march."
But I don't know how to communicate such sentiments without being completely offensive, and so I hemmed and hawed and dashed off to the youth minister's house as soon as I could politely excuse myself to ask his wife what she thought I should have said.
"I dunno but that girl needs spanked." was the sage reply.
I had a friend tell me earlier this year after she gave birth that she couldn't WAIT til I had kids, because she knew I was gonna be an expert at it and she wanted to watch me to take notes for her own child-rearing skills.
See, I didn't realize that we had passed Graduation for being adults to the point where we were the ones actually swapping personal birth stories and becoming discouraged over our OWN kids. For some reason my mind hasn't made the leap that I'm no longer listening to my mother and her generation discuss such topics; now its my turn. I thought I was still studying for the final exam for the class of Able to Speak Intelligently on Adult Matters. Shoot, I gripe about gas prices and taxes and discuss world politics with people! Ugh, when did I become an adult?!
I know I ought to be complimented that there are those who want to engage in such discussions, and seek advice from me, and watch and learn from me. I ought to be thrilled. But while I smile outwardly and give the facade of confidence and mastered ability, I'm terrified inside.
I don't like leading, I'm tired of counseling people, I don't like making decisions that effect masses, and quite frankly I have no tolerance for bratty kids. There is no excuse for rudeness from your spawn - and if that makes me mean I'm ok with it.
BUT if your child is well behaved, then I am far more interested in discussing the finer points of fairy dust with them than how they ought to comply to your model of behavior better. I give the appearance of liking children and being skilled in teaching them but its a lie. I'm really still a kid deep down inside. Just ask the church secretary. When my office is quiet its not because I'm studying lesson plans; its because I am glitter-gluing the lesson plans together.
I'm sorry if this topic isn't one of my more eloquently expressed ones. Its just something I've been grappling with a lot the last two weeks and I'm trying to make sense of it in my own mind. I like kids but they terrify me - because while I'm taller than them I haven't quite computed that I'm not one of them anymore. I like talking with my peers but they terrify me - they may discover that I just grew taller but if given half the chance i will abandon their mature conversation in pursuit of ladybugs and fireflies.
And I feel the need to find whatever reconciliation with the topic I require quickly, because people keep wishing a baby upon me. And while there are things that modern medicine can do to halt such blessings, eventually Jesus may pay attention to their prayers and overrule technology.
So in the meantime, while I'm making sense of my own internal Peter-Pan complex:
Please spank your kids. Spank them well, spank them joyfully. Don't tell them it hurts you more than it hurts them. We all know its a lie. Don't abuse them, but do put the fear of disobedience in them. You are the parent, they are the child. Please be the parent so that I don't have to become one and show you how its done. Because I'm too busy playing with glitter glue and fireflies.