‘More Interesting Than You’d Think’

Caryn: I was going to email Carla this little bit of fun news but thought I’d throw it up here on the blog—to see what anyone else has to say about this. Really, I wish this had happened last fall so I could’ve used it as an illustration in my book. But alas, it works well here too.

Anyhoo, I need to keep details sketchy to protect the person’s identity, but the other day I was talking to someone we’ll call Pat. I really like Pat. He’s nice, intellingent, and friendly. All good. So anyway, Pat told me he had read this blog and really liked it. Pat was telling me how we made good points and were amusing at the same time (which I like to hear). But then Pat says, “You know, you’re more interesting than you would think.”

Huh?

Of course, Pat smiled like it was a joke. But it wasn’t. It’s that same old mom thing (fake ID….?) we got going on. Because Pat knows me from a place where I’m that frazzled mom constantly trying to find one child while making sure the other one doesn’t spill her decaf coffee with too much creamer while trying to keep the baby from plunking too hard on the piano (okay, this is me at church). OF COURSE, Pat has trouble seeing me as interesting. He sees me as a mom.

And that’s what stinks. And why I think we need some sort of arm-swinging/pumping fist/revolution motion and catchy catch phrase (maybe in French?) to at least THINK when someone says something as annoying as this.

So tell me, am I over-reacting? Is it because I’m blonde that this gets me even more? Or maybe I am just actually dull–with or without kids…..?

Either way, a dream of this revolution should be that when our daughters are mothers (and please start singing that “Sister Suffragettes” song from MARY POPPINS) they will “adore us and sing in grateful chorus, Well done!'” because we fight that moms may be seen as interesting.

Carla: I think you’re hitting on a crucial part of the revolution. We are working to redefine motherhood, to rearrange the cultural norms and expectations of what it means to be a woman with children. I love what you said in the comments from the last post about creating a Mom’s World where we make the rules and set the expectations instead of having them made and set for us by, what? Magazines? Books? Conferences? Pat’s comment to you is less about you–although maybe you are boring at church. I don’t know. I’ve always found you very entertaining. But then you and Pat probably didn’t grieve John-John together or talk about trips to the gynocologist. Anyway, my point is that Pat has a preconceived notion of what it means to be a mom based on some random cultural message that suggests people are defined by their work and the work of being a mom is boring.

And honestly, I’ve fallen prey to the same assumption about myself. I think I’m boring. When I’m with my non-mom girlfriends or people I work with, I find myself at a loss for how to talk about myself or my life. I mean, why would they want to hear about how many trips I’ve made to SuperTarget this week (because sometimes that is truly the high point of my week)? Motherhood itself isn’t all that interesting in and of itself. And I don’t ever want to be one of those parents who assumes everyone is as fascinated by my children as I am.

What makes motherhood interesting is the women who do it.

So (everybody now!), “Cast off the shackles of yesterday! Shoulder to shoulder into the fray!”

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13 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by wombcaryn on September 16, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    Okay, so I was thinking more about this at the grocery store this morning. I was only there with the one kid (the baby) and my brain had a lot of free time and space without having to constantly process ridiculous requests for Pop Tarts and the like.

    Anyway, I realized that I actually think being a mom IS interesting–as a job, a role, and a relationship. We get to do all sorts of cool stuff, meet all sorts of cool people, and it affords all sorts of opportunities for creativity. And this just what we’re doing as moms.

    Of course, I still totally agree with—and love—your point that what makes motherhood interesting is the women behind it.

    I think it’s the way we’re painted in shades of beige—and the way we’ve ALLOWED ourselves to be portrayed—that makes us seem so bland. And while some of us may indeed have totally boring lives—what with the bon bons and the soaps all day—for those of us who don’t (and that means you, Carla!), we need to start talking about ourselves in more interesting terms, feel more free to share stuff about our lives—the way they really are. Tons of interesting stuff there. So there you go….

    Reply

  2. Posted by wombswithaview on September 16, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    Oddly enough I was thinking the same thing at the Mall of America today (which is mom central on a Tuesday morning. I thought about all the thinking and planning that goes into being a mom. There’s psychology and biology and lots of human anatomy. It reminded me of a great quote from Peggy Campolo who got tired of people tuning her out when they found out she was a mom. She started telling people she was “socializing two Homo sapiens into the dominant values of the Judeo-Christian tradition in order that they might be instruments for the transformation of the social order into the kind of eschatological utopia that God willed from the beginning of creation.” If I had the brain space to memorize that, I would.

    Reply

  3. Okay, that wombswithaview is me, Carla. And Caryn wrote her comment first. And I can’t figure out how to make the comments show the most recent one last. Honestly, I have no business having a blog.

    Reply

  4. We need tech support, Carla. I couldn’t figure out why I showed up as Wombcaryn and not Caryn. Now I know.

    I love that quote. I couldn’t memorize it either–mostly because I can’t pronounce “eschatological.” Can’t spell it either—I just cut and pasted it into place.

    Reply

  5. Posted by Scott on September 19, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    [i]”I would never say God calls us to spank kids,” Rivadeneira said.[/i]

    I read your quote in a article online for the Seattle Times. The Seattle Times is a biased newspaper. Whenever a subject arises and has the potential to be extremely divisive, they will not hesitate to pit Christian against Christian as they have done with this article.

    It makes me a little sad when I see things of this nature so prevalent in biased-liberal media these days. On one hand you have an expert on an issue like spanking as Pastor Tripp is. And on the other hand you have another person, who should be supporting him and his position instead of disagreeing and refuting the issue at hand. I have no qualms with debating any issue whether within or with out the Bible, but when one does not correctly quote scripture as you have with your statement above it really makes me cringe. If you are indeed intent on debating with other Christians, at least have the courtesy of doing so with Biblical evidence backing up your argument. You may not agree to say (or even believe) that God calls parents to spank and correct their children, but God has already made it pretty clear in His Word regarding this very issue.

    The verse that best goes with this saying is found in the book of Proverbs chapter 13, verse 25. In it Solomon states:

    ‘ ‘‘He who spares his rod hates his son,
    But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.’’ ’

    And also Proverbs chapter 23, verse 13-14;

    ‘ ‘‘Do not withhold correction from a child,
    For if you beat him with a rod, he will not die.
    You shall beat him with a rod,
    And deliver his soul from hell.’’ ’

    That right there is a simple example of a method that will bring about the results we desire in our children. Do some parents who spank their kids do so out of anger or frustration? Absolutely. Is there a better, more loving approach to spanking? Absolutely.

    Before you are too quick in criticizing Pastor Tripp and his Biblical stance on spanking, I think you should at least do some research on him first. Read his book and see where his position comes from. What was his research? What were his methods? Is he writing this book for self-gain? Or is it a possibility that he has been studying the scripture and praying earnestly regarding this very serious and passionate issue? Find the facts.

    There is nothing worse than Christian against Christian in every issue one can think of, started by the garbage media of the left.
    We need to stand in solidarity of fellow Christians as guides for the lost. We should never renounce another Christian unless what they are teaching is taken entirely out of context; we must come against those who call themselves Christian yet they deliberately misquote from the Bible with the intention to hurt Christ and His church. When not sure or are in doubt, pray and seek what God’s will is regarding these kind of issues. Reading His word will lead you to the right answers too.

    Take care and God bless you all.

    Reply

  6. Glad you read the article! It may indeed be a biased paper, but that doesn’t change the fact that God does not call us to spank our infants because they don’t feel like snuggling. Sorry.

    I, of course, have read the “beating with the rod verse” many times (although the TNIV says, “If you punish them with the rod….”), but to follow this as literal, you must also believe that beating your kids–as another version says–will keep them from dying. Ummmm…. Could it be that this is figurative?

    I’m not anti-discipline for kids. I believe the rod thing is meant to imply guidance more than anything.

    Oh, and I wasn’t “pitted” against Ted Tripp. The capable reporter sought another viewpoint, which is what they are supposed to do. I appreciate her willingness to acknowledge that Christians don’t all walk lock-step with one another.

    If I weren’t so tired I could go on and on.

    But I do appreciate you writing in! Cool. You take care too!

    Reply

  7. Posted by Scott on September 22, 2008 at 10:58 am

    Fist of all, let me say that I write this post without any ill will or intention to offend or make anyone upset. If anyone does, indeed, become angry or upset, I do apologize and ask that you please forgive me. I know that issues like this one can stir some very passionate opinions and debates. For me, I’m just curious to read what others have to say about the subject matter at hand, especially if they are Christians rebutting my own opinion. Again, I’m just posting according to my personal beliefs and morals; from my heart of hearts on this very delicate subject and am very open to different opinions and thoughts.

    I’m able to discern that God does not call us to “beat our children with a rod” equating to hitting them so hard with a thick stick that it leaves them black and blue and in a coma for a week. That verse [Proverbs 23: 13-14] is stressing the importance of how much of a positive difference physical discipline makes in our children’s lives when applied according to God’s way. As parents and having dealt with children, sometimes speaking to them in a stern manner repeatedly is really an obsolete method of discipline. Should we dare say God didn’t love His one and only Son, because He allowed Him to endure multiple beatings, even by a rod I might add, and a torturous flogging that would kill any other normal human being; something our finite minds could never comprehend or understand? No.

    Understandably, the whole spanking infants was completely blown out of context and as typical humans we jump to wrong and impractical conclusions. It is not the idea of spanking kids just to spank (especially out of anger or frustration –that is absolutely wrong) them as I had stated in my first post. Again, it’s doing so Biblically, with love and tenderness. If a parent applies spanking lovingly from a Biblical perspective and understand God’s heart for rearing up offspring according to His righteous standard, there should be no worry about the ramifications that so many people misunderstand and fear regarding physically disciplining their children.

    I do sincerely believe He calls us to spank our kids. As does my wife, my parents, and all Christians I personally know (who are the most caring and kindest people you could ever meet) and even non-Christians I know cannot understate that spanking is an effective form of discipline. To give more weight to my argument, I have grown up with friends from both sides of the fence. Some were spanked when they were youngsters and others… not at all. And I can safely say those who were indeed spanked by their parents turned out to be more successful and better adjusted to various things in life: fiscal responsibility, moral responsibility –something severely lacking in our nation today-, and yes, disciplining their children by spanking –compared to those who weren’t. The other people I know who were not spanked as children simply go their way still yet today, along a self-destructive path that sadly, will lead them to hell. So all in all, the verse in Proverbs is not figurative at all, but very much scary truth and a sad reality. In any case, there is more evidence in the Bible that calls us to properly discipline our children compared to the amount that pleads with us not to.

    The term “rod” does not signify a “time-out” or “go stand in the corner”. According to the Bible, the “rod” is an expression of physical discipline, not even a mental one that so many parents misinterpret and use, wondering why their so-called discipline isn’t really effective with their kids. Grounding, making children go to bed without dinner, standing in the corner, and going to “time-out” just isn’t going to cut it; that is why God tells us to properly discipline our children in a physical way. And no, I’m not saying that one should only use spanking either. The way I see it, spanking should be the main foundation for discipline (of course resting on the standard that God gave for Godly parents) and things like time-outs or standing/sitting in a corner when applicable. But the physical aspect of discipline should be spankings according to the Bible.
    You may not believe that you weren’t “pitted” against Pastor Trip, but trust me, all the anti-God and anti-moralistic liberals see it like that. All they know is according to that article one Christian is taking a stance on an issue that is in the [Christian] minority according to general consensus and another Christian is supporting the majority [worldly] view against. That is the game liberal media like the Seattle Times like to play when it comes to issues like spanking children, abortion, gay marriage, and the complete separation of Church and state. Regardless though, whenever there is a difference of opinion among Christians – as there certainly will be since we are all human, the only standard we use as a measure for clear, concise, and perfect truth is nothing but the Word of God. Who can argue against what He says?

    Again, it’s never what we think, nor how we feel, but what God says. And more often than not, literally.

    Take care and God bless.

    Reply

  8. Posted by welch units on September 22, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    I was taught that “Rod” was meant as a metaphor of sorts. The “Rod” mentioned was a shepherd’s rod, used to gently guide sheep back into the fold. When extra convincing was needed, the hook part of the rod swiftly brought them back where they belong.

    Spare the rod, would mean let your kid go and do whatever he/she felt like.

    If it *is* possible to raise children well and successfully without hitting them, would we all agree that would be the goal?

    Reply

  9. Posted by Scott on September 22, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    Perhaps the straight handle of the rod is the teaching that God wants parents to do and the hook part of the rod is for training and correction.

    I think one of the bigger issues that spanking addresses when properly used is a spiritual one, not just the physical aspect. When you have a parent who corrects their child via spanking (Biblically of course), it has a much different effect then time-outs, groundings, and corner sitting/standing.

    Most non-Christian parents don’t have too much trouble teaching their children what is supposedly right or wrong. But the Bible goes one step further. God wants parents not only to teach their kids right and wrong, but to “train” them in His righteous ways. The short-term pain of spanking can have long lasting benefits as a corrective measure when properly applied and has the potential to save their lives as they grow older. Their training in God’s ways can help them make the right decisions, keeping them from engaging in risky behavior.

    Some parents yell and threaten their children, but hardly ever follow through. Once the child sees this, they take advantage of it and act up even more later on. Instead, a quick swat on the butt and an explaination as to why they were punished, not only makes sense to the child, it enforces the idea that they cannot get away with being disobedient as well.

    It is possible to raise children well without spanking them, but without spanking applied correctly and Biblically as part of the training in obedience, I don’t see it possible to raise them correctly in God’s ways.

    I think nothing worse than seeing my children grow up not in the ways of the Lord because I was unable to correct them as the Bible taught and trained me to do so.

    Reply

  10. As I was reading these comments, I thought of something I read online awhile back. Here is that text from http://www.askdrsears.com–and while I can’t speak for the content/writers on the site, I can say that this is a well-reasoned approach to the topic:

    “HITTING IS ACTUALLY NOT BIBLICAL
    Don’t use the Bible as an excuse to spank. There is confusion in the ranks of people of Judeo-Christian heritage who, seeking help from the Bible in their effort to raise godly children, believe that God commands them to spank. They take “spare the rod and spoil the child” seriously and fear that if they don’t spank, they will commit the sin of losing control of their child. In our counseling experience, we find that these people are devoted parents who love God and love their children, but they misunderstand the concept of the rod.
    Rod verses – what they really mean. The following are the biblical verses which have caused the greatest confusion:

    “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.” (Prov. 22:15)

    “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.” (Prov. 13:24)

    “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death.” (Prov. 23:13-14)

    “The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to itself disgraces his mother.” (Prov. 29:15)

    At first glance these verses may sound pro-spanking. But you might consider a different interpretation of these teachings. “Rod” (shebet) means different things in different parts of the Bible. The Hebrew dictionary gives this word various meanings: a stick (for punishment, writing, fighting, ruling, walking, etc.). While the rod could be used for hitting, it was more frequently used for guiding wandering sheep. Shepherds didn’t use the rod to beat their sheep – and children are certainly more valuable than sheep. As shepherd-author Philip Keller teaches so well in A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23, the shepherd’s rod was used to fight off prey and the staff was used to gently guide sheep along the right path. (“Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” – Psalm 23:4).

    Jewish families we’ve interviewed, who carefully follow dietary and lifestyle guidelines in the Scripture, do not practice “rod correction” with their children because they do not follow that interpretation of the text.

    The book of Proverbs is one of poetry. It is logical that the writer would have used a well-known tool to form an image of authority. We believe that this is the point that God makes about the rod in the Bible – parents take charge of your children. When you re-read the “rod verses,” use the concept of parental authority when you come to the word “rod,” ratherthan the concept of beating or spanking. It rings true in every instance.

    While Christians and Jews believe that the Old Testament is the inspired word of God, it is also a historical text that has been interpreted in many ways over the centuries, sometimes incorrectly in order to support the beliefs of the times. These “rod” verses have been burdened with interpretations about corporal punishment that support human ideas. Other parts of the Bible, especially the New Testament, suggest that respect, authority, and tenderness should be the prevailing attitudes toward children among people of faith.

    In the New Testament, Christ modified the traditional eye-for-an-eye system of justice with His turn-the-other-cheek approach. Christ preached gentleness, love, and understanding, and seemed against any harsh use of the rod, as stated by Paul in 1 Cor. 4:21: “Shall I come to you with the whip (rod), or in love and with a gentle spirit?” Paul went on to teach fathers about the importance of not provoking anger in their children (which is what spanking usually does): “Fathers, do not exasperate your children” (Eph. 6:4), and “Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will be discouraged” (Col. 3:21).

    In our opinion, nowhere in the Bible does it say you must spank your child to be a godly parent.”

    As welch units above pointed out, the “rod” interpretation seems to be a point of interest and debate.

    Reply

  11. Just to contribute a nugget to this discussion, I recall this article from Christian Parenting Today back in the summer of 2003 which I found helpful in providing another perspective on the issue of spanking:

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/cpt/2003/002/6.50.html

    Personally, I have found that I with my older two sons, I have had to used different discipline techniques based on their temperaments. My eldest is a very sensitive child, and the one time we tried spanking it just did not have the desired effect. I regretted it immediately and have not used it since. My second son is more of a “wild child”, and I have resorted to spanking several times as a last resort when I have sensed outright defiance. Even so, I wouldn’t say that I have full confidence that spanking was the best option. But I have used it as an absolute last resort, not as my first choice of discipline tools.

    This is one of those issues where Christians will just not completely come to agreement this side of heaven. I think it’s important to represent the many differing views on discipline that exist within the family of God (and probably even within many Christian families!) and I am glad that Caryn had the chance to offer a different perspective; I just wish she’d been given more “ink time”!

    Reply

  12. Posted by Robyn on January 6, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Spanking is not an effective discipline tool. It is punishment, not correction. Many studies attest to this, but of course I don’t have links.

    Feel free to spank your kids, but don’t you dare tell me that I am violating a call from God by choosing to discipline mine differently.

    Reply

  13. Posted by Heidi on January 9, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    So there you have it, Caryn and Carla – several different viewpoints – and no one is right or wrong – we all mother (parent) in our own way that works for us. Wasn’t that one of your manifesto points?

    I agree with Helen that each child is different and some may get the point of spanking while others may not. The child bearing the brunt of the spanking has to be taken into consideration.

    In addition, I don’t think there should be spanking in schools. It is for parents use only in the preshool years. (Although I only have preshoolers. Maybe I’ll change my mind when my wild-child first born starts Kindergarden next year.)

    Reply

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