Thursday, January 03, 2008

On suffering...and associated thoughts

As parents, we will do almost anything to avoid suffering in our children. A lot of therapy, parenting, teaching, is based on developing certain capabilities in our children that will make the road they travel easier, at least in our minds. It seems so many of the decisions we make keep this elusive "road" in mind. Yet even those who seem to have all the capabilities needed for a successful life suffer, sometimes unto death.

I am at a difficult time in my life, having a difficult time making decisions for Ben. That road that I always held as a direction not to be veered from, is becoming less obvious. I'm beginning to think it isn't even a road at all.

Escaping suffering is unrealistic. Life is messy, and sad, and joyful, and hard, and easy, sometimes all at the same time.

One of the greatest teachers I ever had was an 11 year old student, in a wheelchair, tube-fed, without speech, unable to take care of herself in any way and totally dependent on others for every basic need, as she always will be. She wasn't an "angel", in the patronizing sense. She was a highly loving, smart, tolerant human being with a bit of an attitude, who gave 110% to life and kind of demanded respect. (She had ways I tell ya, ways)

Ah, hell, I don't know.

Here's something else on my mind, related to my worries about my son. I didn't have a perfect life. My father sometimes drank too much and with all the messiness that goes along with it. My mother was the church lady, but far from judgmental. We were spanked as young kids, but not a lot. But they were EVIL, and I'll tell you why. We were seldom, if ever, punished. Maybe because there were 10 of us. They could have been just too tired. Dad often said, "I think you've punished yourself enough!"

Because we were seldom, if ever punished...we developed these highly acute consciences. They didn't have the guts to do it for us, so we had to do it ourselves!! Everybody turned out honest, and hardworking, and kind.

Should I punish Ben for his failing grades (no t.v., no computer, no_______). Or should I be evil, like my parents were, eh?

It's a tough one.


Marla said...

This is a tough one. I was never punished for bad grades and I personally think that is the way it should be. My husband was punished and it made him choose to do worse in school just to prove a point.

I am sorry you are going through a difficult time making decisions for your son right now. It seems all of the decisions involving our kids are not easy.


Casdok said...

I think it would depend on why he failed? Did he not study? Or does he find it too hard and needs extra help?

Val said...

Through suffering we find our connections to the rest of the human race. And through those connections, we are allowed to work together in partnerships, seemingly otherwise not allowed or accepted, to achieve great great things not for ourselves, but for all.

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