It seems to me that children are routinely treated with a lack of respect. Many of us afford more respect to complete strangers than we do to our children. We speak to them rudely, handle them forcefully, and override their needs and wants in order to better meet our own.
A few weeks back, Ted witnessed this first-hand at a grocery store. Here’s the story, and Ted’s reflections on it.
Might Is Spite
by Ted Olson
I saw a mom pull a 3-year-old out of a shopping carriage by her tiny little biceps. As the toddler hung there, feet dangling, her mom murmured with rage and hatred, “If you ever do that again, you’re going to get it.” Mom plopped a teary-eyed child back into the shopping cart.
The mom reminded me of myself, and so much of the might-is-right mentality that completely absorbs us. It controls our minds. I could see it at work in the mom’s face.
We seem to think that it’s okay to use force. We’re bigger, smarter, and stronger, right? Heck, we take pleasure in it! It’s what everyone else does! This “use-of-force” mentality is promoted as the norm everywhere. It is so much a part of our everyday lives we no longer question it.
Though we crave grace, peace, and love, we’re taught strength, power, and control. We’re taught to segregate grace and compassion for non-essentials, and to live by might for all important endeavors. We choose to live this way.
Might is spite. It’s intended to hurt. It says to hell with you or anyone else, this is all about me! Breaking this mind-set is hard. Few ever ponder shifting this thinking; yet, it is the first step to the peace, grace, and true power we all seek.
In addition to being an unschooling dad, Ted is the voice behind HolisticFaith.com, where he writes about religion, faith, spirituality and life.