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SHOOTINGS IN CONNECTICUT, PART TWO
REAL PARENTS, REAL CHILDREN
As I continue exploring the culture of violence in our society in this two part Hub, I also continue to be extremely and respectfully aware of the real parents and the real children who have suffered incomprehensible loss in the shootings at Sandy Hook elementary.
I do think people can heal from such horror, but obviously it is a wound that will heal slowly, very slowly, and there will be lasting scars. And to the degree that we value our own gifts of comfort, caring, and healing, and then offer those gifts to them, their journey may be more bearable. We often think that there is nothing we can offer in such horrific situations, but we each have arms, we each have time to spend with, we each have our own tears to affirm and console with. Yes, we have much to offer and to give.
So in writing these hubs, I contribute to the social conversation about the shootings in Connecticut what I consider to be wisdom as well as to counter what I consider distractions to the very basic issues, namely the culture of violence that we all have a part in creating. Gun legislation, mental health or mental illness, the end times, these are not the issues. Talking about these issues will not prevent another massacre, but only distract us.
So what will? I believe that you and I, you and I deciding to change the way we live our lives and change the way we think will contribute the most to preventing another mass shooting.
So what can I decide to change? I can decide to eliminate my violent thinking and my violent behavior. I believe that such a change on my part can create shifts within society at large, ultimately, shifting from a climate of violence to an appreciation and respect of all life.
If you choose to see it that way, then it is just that, idealism. Perhaps it also means that idealism can be your excuse not to buckle down and decide to eliminate all the violence, the little violence, the big violence from YOUR life. Perhaps calling this idealism indicates you are lazy and not willing to do the hard work, and it is hard work.
You know, it doesn’t matter who joins us or doesn’t join us in this endeavor. It doesn’t matter how many folks continue to practice violence. You and I, yes, we can still make the decision to eliminate violence from our life. And yes, it makes a HUGE difference.
Remember, batting 300 in baseball requires only 30% success, but it also requires a willingness to step up to the plate a hundred per cent of the time knowing full well that 30% is the best we will achieve! So drop the idealism bull, and step up to the plate with me.
HEALING IS SLOW BUT THE DAY WILL DAWN
WHAT DOES VIOLENCE LOOK LIKE IN OUR LIVES?
I can tell you what it looks like in my life and then you can tell us in the comment section what it looks like in your life. Just in case you're still in denial, I will give you some hints.
VIOLENCE IN MY CURRENT LIFE
When I am traveling down a winding two lane country road divided by the double yellow line, no passing, and the person behind me riding my bumper decides to pull out and pass despite the double yellow line, and then cuts in front of me so closely that I have to pull off to the shoulder of the road to avoid getting my left fender taken out, it takes an incredible amount of self control for me not to lay on and pound on my horn vehemently, and not to scream at the top of my lungs “You efin idiot.”
For some of you, it will take even more self control not to speed up and return the favor. It also takes self control for me to stop my violent fantasies and my violent wishes namely that the driver will lose control of his car around the next turn, drive off the road, flip his car, and die.
Within a six mile stretch of this same country road, there are two bridges that have room enough for one car at a time to cross. There are warning signs as you approach the bridge, and in all the times I have traveled this six mile stretch, everyone has always followed a polite protocol, probably because no one wants to spend the money or time having the side of their car remanufactured.
Can you believe that one day last week, on both bridges, while I was already on the bridge, an oncoming car, one was a large SUV, decided there was enough room for both of us. Through some miracle of the universe, there was no scraping of metal. I would like to have a video of our "passing" to measure the infinitesimal space between our two cars. Do you think it was enough for me to be relieved that I ended up on the other side of the bridge alive? Oh no. I had to call the other drivers every name I could think of, and then! Yes, then I began hoping that I would encounter the same cars the following day on the same bridges, and I would intentionally plow into them headon! Yes, my brain has enough built-in inhibition not to act out the impulse, but here is the kicker. It took the rest of that day to stop myself from fantasizing about it. You can call it normal, but it is not normal. It is violent. And since that day, I have monitored myself very closely in all of my violent thinking and am working hard to eliminate it from my brain. Does that make me someone special? Hell no! I am no better or no worse than anybody else. I have all the same potential for goodness and violence as every other human being on the face of the earth.
VIOLENCE IN YOUR LIFE
For me in my life right now, most of my violence is in my thoughts. But for many of us, our violence is acted out, and worse we actually convince ourselves that we are justified in our violence.
Any of this sound familiar or strike a chord or sound like YOU?
I’m an adult, I’m over 21....I’m a man, not a whimp....if you’re going to dish it out, you better be prepared to get it back....no one is going to get away with pushing me around....no one is going to get away with hitting me, not even a (woman) (man)....no child is going to talk to me that way, well and get away with it....that (bitch) (bastard) is going to pay for the way (he) (she) treats me....I have a right to my anger....it’s just a hole in the wall....we didn’t need those dishes anyway....the kids have way too many toys as it is....we can always buy another remote....I only had a few drinks and I can drive better with a few drinks under my belt....I only had a few drinks and no, it doesn’t make me crazy or violent. You do!....Look, I smoke this stuff to calm myself and I can stop if you want, but then you’ll see a monster....you’ll think twice before you try to slap me again....I’m sorry, but you made me do it....
The rationalizations may be ridiculous when you read them here, but for some reason we buy into them and convince ourselves that we are justified in our violence when we’re saying this bologna. We just don’t want to look at the violence that we, ordinary people, upstanding citizens, church goers, all walks of life, are perpetrating DAILY.
VIOLENCE PERPETRATED ON OUR CHILDREN AFTER WE DIVORCE
Parents who are separated, divorced, and in excruciating pain from both the relationship itself as well as the end of the relationship, perpetrate violence on their children each time they attempt to seduce the children into siding with them against the other parent. The child has no other choice but to side with us at the moment, but it literally hurls them into a loyalty conflict that has the potential to literally kill them in many different ways. KILL them. Suicide, drug and alcohol abuse, self mutilation, underachievement, violence in their future relationships, failure in future relationships, promiscuity, the whole nine yards.
If you have children from another partner, and you are still engaging in negative intimacy with that partner, then you need to educate yourself about all the obvious and subtle and sometimes insidious ways that you are not figuratively, but literally killing your children who you have placed in an untenable position, the MIDDLE, where they are constantly having to choose between Mom and Dad. This is violence par excellence. You are an expert at perpetrating violence.
Want some help with this? There are boo koo (slang for the French beaucoup–learning all kinds of stuff here!) books on this topic. Simply go to Amazon or Barnes and Noble and put coparenting after divorce into the search window, and then make your selection.
There is also an organization called Solutions For Families whose website has many no fee online resources. And, of course, you can always contact me. I would be privileged to assist you in becoming a nurturing parent once again.
The other place I see violence is in father-son relationships. I cannot tell you how many fathers have sat in my office, after having gotten their asses kicked by their sons, and wanting to know what to do next. It’s a sad sad sad moment. It is also violence perpetrated by Dad who had defined his relationship with his son by prowess up to the point when it became all too apparent that his son had learned the lesson too well.
Yes, part of our heritage, is to treat our sons as if they are in boot camp. We work really hard to be sure they are not whimps, pussies, or fags. And yet all we accomplish is to train our sons to be violent. In essence, we erase for them the word gentle in the word gentleman.
Again, we rationalize. "I have no other way to get through to him but to scream at him and threaten him....What am I supposed to do when he gets straight F’s?”
Well, you know what? I know plenty of men who have gotten straight F’s in school and are now millionaires, so it is NOT the end of the world, and certainly not a good reason to perpetrate violence, and in turn to train your son to be violent with his sons.
Alternatives for violence in your parenting? I have numerous hubs on parenting, with no nonsense, down to earth, realistic methods for addressing most if not all parenting issues. Check them out. You could also go to dog obedience training, and you would learn all you need to know to raise your children well and without corporal punishment or violence! It's a funny thing to me. We buy into raising our dog non violently, but we do not believe it will work for our kids. What is with that?
I would like to share with you a couple of paragraphs from my book, Feeling Your Way, A Man’s Way, which is currently under revision and will be available in the coming months.
Think about the conversations with your son over the last week, the last month, the last year, maybe even last night. Can we see how we go out of our way to wound them enough to insure that they, like ourselves and the previous generations of men, will abandon their bodies and souls and commit to an addictive life style? Remember, addiction is a sure fire way to escape pain and an expressway to spiritual bankruptcy. And some of us, as we read this, are still asking, “what are you talking about? How do we do that?”
Bludgeoning Our Sons To Death
Well, we bludgeon our sons to death with our ranting and raving over the “F” in geometry, over their excessive amount of time playing video games, over the earing in their ear, their hair style, their music, their choice of friends, their lack of responsibility, their budding addictions, and their pregnant girlfriend. By our futile and degrading attempts to warn them that they are going to amount to nothing in the future, we destroy any hope left in them. We seem almost driven to make sure our sons get to repeat our own stories of abandonment, pain, and humiliation with our fathers.
Buried In Boxes
AND we are so preoccupied with earning money, lots of money, (and there’s nothing wrong with earning lots of money) that we are not even aware of the sons (and daughters) being buried in boxes, just like our own souls. We do not have the time or the hope to insist that our leaders sell peace to the world instead of war. We don’t even realize we have the power to do that. We just assume that war is a necessary evil and assume that every man must be a warrior no matter the cost. In the movie mentioned above, "Act of Valor," the box in which the soldier buries his emotions obviously and predictably becomes the image and the foreshadowing of that box, the coffin, the so-called resting place for the dead soldier’s remains. The remains, what is left after being sacrificed to the gods.
I am sure we can look at Father-Daughter relationships as well and we will save that for another hub.
I hope I have left you with some important insights into how each of us can make a change and can begin to dismantle the culture of violence that we have chosen to create, chosen to participate in, and chosen to live in. I say "chosen" because if we don't come to terms with the fact that we have chosen the culture of violence, then there is no way for us to choose to dismantle this culture of violence.
THANK YOU FOR READING AND COMMENTING.