Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Different Interpretatons

This is not meant to be a political entry - although some may deem it that way --but really, it's not. It's just my interpretation of some things that some folks don't particularly like to hear.

Let me explain a little background here first.

A group I belong to has been debating back and forth for several days now who would be a good presidential candidate next year. (This is not, by the way, a political topics group.) Some have said they like Hilary, others, Obama, or Condeleza Rice have been mentioned too. Then it sort of evolved off somewhat to the question of whether this country is ready, willing and able to take one of two giant leaps - either elect a black president or a woman to lead us.

Then, as an offshoot of those two discussions, some began talking about marriage and children - what constitutes a happy marriage, is marriage a necessary thing, are children the best thing since sliced bread, is someone who marries and has children selfish or is someone who opts not to have a child selfish. All really big questions for sure and some which can create some heated debate too.

For a while today, I was afraid the message boards were going to catch afire because one lady commented that some people choose not to marry because they don't care to inflict themself on another person. From what little I have learn through being in this group, I took that lady's comment as being somewhat directed at her own choices. However, another lady almost immediately took offense and fired back that people had no right to think her reasons for remaining single had anything at all to do with her "inflicting" herself on someone. Oh ho, I thought, this might just bring this house of cards crashing down.

Fortunately, the first commenter responded back that she had only been pointing that earlier comment towards herself (as I had suspected) but she also went the extra mile and apologized to the lady who had taken offense that she had never meant it as any being cast in her direction. And a little while later, the other lady posted back that perhaps, she might have been just a tad over in the "sensitivity" department.

How easily little things can be misinterpreted and blown way out of proportion. In this case, it was good that the one immediately apologized and explained her words better in the process. It was also a relief to see the second party finally accept the apology too.

Sometimes, I've felt at times from comments on my blog that I must have been too convoluted perhaps in my writing, that some one here or there didn't get the true gist of what I had been saying. And, I readily acknowledge that I can be a bit jumbled in what I am trying to express so it's understandable that my words could be misconstrued. And, for that I apologize and will try to make myself as clear in my meaning as I possibly can.

One point here is the Bushisms I've been posting. Yes, I know there probably are those who might read my writing who are mega Bush supporters and don't approve of my inserting those in here. Granted, I personally am not a big fan of Dubya but that is not why I post those things. I put them in there because frankly I find them humorous - some of them I find to be absolutely hysterical. Of course, part of my seeing humor in them may be based on my political leanings somewhat, but if it were a well-known democrat making the same statements, I would find the same humor in them then as I do in these. Anyone in a position of power, leadership, etc., who gets the English language that convoluted as Dubya does at times, in my opinion, deserves to have those things put out there and be made fun of.

Another thing that bothers me too which has to do somewhat I suppose with our government but pertains more to the history of this country - actually the history of the world, if you would, is how many opt to villify various people from the past because they did terrible things 200, 300 or perhaps thousands of years ago and therefore, those events should not be printed in history books today because the things done were "wrong" from a sociological standpoint of today.

I think history must be taken in the context of what people at that time knew, understood about themselves, about society, about science, etc. A professor I had in college told the students in this particular course (and I don't even remember what course it was now) that because Columbus came here by accident and turned the expedition into one of killing and maiming and capturing natives to take back to Spain to be sold as slaves, this then made him not a great explorer but a man of ill repute and because of his actions towards the natives where he landed, he should not be included in the history text books.

I am not saying the actions of Columbus and his sailors was a wonderful thing - to capture, torture, maim, kill or take people prisoner to be sold into slavery is not something I am endorsing - not by a long shot. But, one must remember that was the "norm" in the 15th century. It doesn't make it right to do that but the educational level of most of society at that time said it was acceptable and even expected behavior to do that. And, I believe it should be taught in that manner - they did these things - they were of the "norm" for that era but subsequently, society finally outgrew that mode of thinking. Well, for the most part anyway or it has tried, is still trying to "outgrow" ideas like that.

The same thing can also be applied to children, instruction and discipline. My son watches how I react today to my grandchildren and also to my 15-year-old stepgranddaughter. And he makes fun of the fact that what he sees before him is obviously a much different person than was the one he group up with. And, to a large extent, yes - I have changed.

But other things changed along the way too. For one thing, I don't have the same level of responsibility for my grandchildren as I had for my own children's upbringing.

My children were 12,6 and almost 4 years old when their father and I separated and divorced and that left me with the full responsibility of seeing to all their needs. Yes, I did receive child support - financial - but virtually no moral support in raising these three children. What manners, what ethics, what levels of responsibility they learned had to come from my trying to instill ideas in them by myself and trust me, that's no easy task for two parents who get along to agree on some times. And doing it alone is hard work, damned hard work.

My son noticed a week or so back one day when he was here how I was dealing with my granddaughter that day. Maya, as you've heard me mention many times before is three but has some developmental delays so at times, her level of comprehension is not at the same point where a normal three-year-old's might be and I have to take some of those circumstances into consideration when she becomes a little unruly, out of control now and again - or, just plain being bad or mischievious.

There are things that I know she now DOES understand and when after several warnings, she doesn't listen, Grammy does get a little stern with her from time to time. Yes, now and then, she gets a hard grip applied on her arm, is led from one area -away from what she was getting into and placed rather abruptly at times, on the sofa or in the playpen. Now and again, she might actually get a little tap on the behind - one that with all the padding there from her diaper, she isn't feeling as "pain" per se but yes, it does register with her that she is being forced away from doing what she wants to do and this causes hurt feelings as opposed to feeling that she was actually physically hurt. And no, I'm not apologizing for those actions either as she has to learn that she is not the person in charge - her parents or I are - we are the ones responsible for teaching her to learn decent behavior.

My son's point though was that when he and his sisters were small, my patience levels then were much, much thinner than they are today. He wasn't saying taht he felt he and his siblings had been abused, just that I put up with much less from them than I do from "Miss Maya." And, to that, I freely admit it is true. When she gets really contrary, I do find myself turning my face away so she won't see me laughing at some of the little tricks she tries to pull to get away with things. But, as I said above, although because we all live together and I frequently am the one caring for the two little ones - so by virtue of default I am the authoritarian/disciplinarian then - ultimately, it is up to her parents, their responsibility, to see too it she gets the proper amount of discipline, learns manners, rules, ethics, etc.

And then too, there one other thing that comes into play here.

For years, I told my three kids that I couldn't wait until they married, had children of their own because I had a game plan all laid out for my prospective grandchildren. I planned to teach them every rotten trick their parents had ever pulled on me, every dirty word I know (And yes, I know a good many of 'em too) and once I felt the child had mastered those thing, I planned to send or turn the child over completely for the parent to cope with!

Years back, when my older daughter was nearing time to graduate from high school, my son came to me and told me his sister was afraid of getting married and having children some day. I asked him why this was and he said it was because of the threat I was always making about what I would do if I had grandchildren, the things I would teach them, etc.

Wish you could have seen the look on his face when I told him point blank, that was exactly what I did intend to do someday!

But of course, how tough I am ultimately in disciplining my grandchildren now, compared to how I dealt with my children - well, that's subject to interpretation, I guess.

And, before I forget - since I'm late making my entry for Monday January 29th -and it's now actually January 30th - here's the Bushism for each day.

"It is not Reaganesque to support a tax plan that is Clinton in nature." Los Angeles, California; February 23, 2000.

And - for January 30, 2007
"This has been tough weeks in that country." - Washington, D.C.; April 13, 2004.


Anonymous said...

Jeni, I wouldn't worry one little bit about offending people with Bushisms, or anything else. This is the new medium. Any one who doesn't like it can "change the channel".
Did you see the new blogs? Now you know why I've been so distracted!

Vic Grace said...

I left you a long comment and I think it disappeared in to internetland. Maybe it will show up later.