I grew up in a law enforcement family and, not surprisingly, I joined the family business where I worked for several years before becoming a teacher. I still have a law enforcement family - both in the literal and metaphorical senses, as those bonds are never broken.
I have learned much, experienced much in those years and I thought I'd share with you a few of the more important lessons as they apply to Zen Parenting.
- never put your children in personalized clothes or accessories
What better way to get a child's attention than to call him or her by name? Why give creeps that information willingly? Backpacks with their names emblazoned or T-shirts screen-printed with their first, last, or nicknames look adorable, I know. They also look like a prey's name tag to a creep who would approach the child and say, "Hey, Luke, your mommy asked me to bring you to her in the parking lot."
- guns are not toys, thus they should not be playing with toys that are guns
Someone recently told me how ridiculous I was being not allowing my son to play with guns, as kids make guns out of the most banal objects, like sticks, anyway, so there's no getting away from them. That's not the point. That's not why we don't allow guns of any type in the house (yes, that includes squirt guns and guns on little action figures). We don't allow them, because guns are not toys. I never, never want my son to mistake a gun for a toy. I don't want him so used to playing with toy guns, some of which look very real and are even easily mistaken as such by those who deal with guns daily (like law enforcement officers), that he would see a real gun and see it as just another toy. No. Guns are not toys, thus there will be no toys that are guns in our home.
- if lost or in trouble and cannot find parents or loved ones, kids should look for someone in a uniform or with a name tag, or a parent with kids with them
Does this mean that every one of these people are "good" and "wholesome"? No, but chances are better that they'll find someone helpful in these folks than if they go with anyone who takes their hand to "help".
- nobody thinks they're a child abuser...they ALL think they're "disciplining" just the right amount, for just the right reasons, and in just the right way
Whether they're spanking, swatting, popping, using a belt, using a spoon, just tapping the hand, inflicting physical pain, not inflicting physical pain, slugging in the face, slapping in the face, pushing, screaming at, calling names, intimidating, or a bevy of other evils, none of the parents I've ever encountered believe themselves to be child abusers. They all think they're doing a bang-up job as parents. They're all justified in their own minds. They're wrong.
Agree with me or not - totally up to you. What I offer you is a perspective to which you may not have been privy under normal circumstances. What I ask of you is to think on it all. That's all. Just think on it.