When Activism Becomes Extreme.

On observations…
 
Activism, no matter what form or shape or cause, is comprised of passion. An injustice is seen and vigorously fought for. As with any activism; there are extremists. Those who find themselves so overtaken with the injustice that emotions often drive the conversation, which frequently leads to heated arguments instead of civil discussions.
 
I fully understand these individuals. I was one; and still am sometimes and trying to change. These are the people who attack on a personal level because they find it very difficult to separate the person from the act. A good friend told me once: “Sometimes you have to punch someone in the face to get their attention.” It’s a beautiful saying and I fully agree. However, it can be done without making it personal.
 
As soon as you go on the offensive (or defensive) with attacking, an insurmountably wall erects itself and the conversation becomes dead before it begins. No one will learn, or even be interested in learning, at this point. Why would they? At this point you’re defending your pride, not your argument.
 
In many instances it’s best to just disengage and walk away. Save your sanity from those who have no desire in learning your side. Being rude and uncivil is what makes movements seem to be led by a bunch of unhinged loons that people take with a grain of salt. Unfortunately a bad reputation is a common byproduct of activism.
 
Before I became a father, I thought nothing of spanking, circumcision or allowing a child to cry in a vein attempt to train them. Now as a father, I have learned better and fight vehemently against them. I see the injustice in these. I voice these opinions. I will not stop voicing them. But just because I don’t allow myself to lash out at a naysayer by arguing or allow myself to walk away upon realizing their intent is not to truly understand but to simply argue and pot-stir; in no way am I condoning that injustice or accepting it’s continuance.

On my blog, I have many many people that don’t necessarily agree with everything; but do listen. They lie in the background, absorbing what is being said and reading the comments. They take some advice and leave some advice. What if one of these people are on the fence and see someone admit they spank or someone that circumcised their child or left them to cry or any else you don’t agree with. What if this person who admitted this was attacked and pounced on by ‘peaceful’ activists? What if this person watching then decided to deem the cause as batshit crazy? I will always defend my opinion. I will always discuss my position. But I will never attack or bash.

The more we are the crazy, the bashing, the unhinged offensive attacks; the less we allow the movement to move forward. The more we are willing to teach through understanding, modeling and with poise; the more we will be listened to as a sane voice. A voice worth listening to. We can be that voice without the extremism. Extremism is not a good thing.

Oh, dear experts…

According to the experts I should have a clingy child. One that will not venture out or become independent. Supposedly he will need us forever because of how he is being raised.

Confused Expert

Confused Expert

Little do these experts know my son is the one I have to constantly remind to stay close because he is so eager to explore all of his environments. When we are out he seldom needs our guiding to navigate his world. Should I tell these experts that my son often shuns my help in an attempt to conquer his endeavors all on his own? “I can do it!” he will scream as he takes control.

These are the same experts that said my son will never sleep on his own or through the night if we allow him to nurse to sleep and not have access to our bed. Or that he will be unruly if punishment wasn’t provided for misbehavior. Or that we are creating an entitled brat because we reach agreements by compromise instead of dictating demands.

No dear experts. You are quite wrong. Independence is fostered through connection and a safe, secure home-base. Respect, validation and responsiveness provide that foundation. Oh experts, I hate to inform you that my son is quite capable, independent, respectful and cooperative despite going against your expert advice. Thank you anyways.

Spot the difference.

Imagine a scenario if you will:

You are walking around in a department store and you hear a man raising his voice. Curious, you seek out the source of the voice. Turning down an isle you see a man scolding his wife: “Put that back on the shelf! Now!” Stunned the wife stood there “But, but…” was all she could manage to say. Just then the man struck the woman hard across her face and once on the thigh. “I said put it back!” he continued as he forcefully turned her toward the shelf.

Now consider this:

You are walking around in a department store and you hear a man raising his voice. Curious, you seek out the source of the voice. Turning down an isle you see a man scolding his 5 year old daughter: “Put that back on the shelf! Now!” Stunned the little girl stood there. “But, but…” was all she could manage to say. Just then the man struck the child hard across her face and once on the thigh. “I said put it back!” he continued as he forcefully turned her toward the shelf.

Now I fail to see why one family member is protected under domestic violence and punishable by law and one is considered an acceptable disciplinary technique. Both involve the same action taking place against a family member, both leave emotional and physical harm to the recipient. Yet it’s accepted practice to violently reprimand our most defenseless, voiceless, trusting members of our society; our children.

A brief perspective from a spanked toddler.

A brief perspective from a spanked toddler.

You are on the floor, minding your own, enjoying a toy car your mom just got you. Rolling it back and forth, blissfully unaware of your older brother entering the room. Without any warning he swiftly grabs the toy out of your hand.

An emotion overcomes you that you have never felt before. You have no clue what you are feeling or how to express it. It slowly takes over your body, causing you to lose control of your cognitive behavior. Unable to control yourself or process this powerful alien feeling, you communicate the only way your autopilot allows: by frantically reaching out to grab it back and inadvertently slap your brother during your confused yells.

Your older brother runs off and tells mom you hit him. She enters the room where you’re still sitting, trying to figure yourself out. She rushes over, stands you up, roughly swats you on the backside a couple of times and says in a harsh tone: “You do not hit your brother! Your sitting in this chair until I say you can get off!”

You are left alone, on the chair, crying and physically hurt. The feeling that overtook you moments ago is replaced with utter confusion and an emotional breakdown. Why am I on the chair? What did I do wrong? Why did mom hit me? My bum hurts really badly. My brother took my toy and she hits me. I don’t even know what I’m feeling right now.

You sit. Sobbing. Waiting. Alone with the confusion. You are no more aware of what you did wrong or how to handle the situation or cope with this powerful emotion. Instead, you were reprimanded for this feeling and punished for not knowing how to manage it.

Nothing was resolved, learnt or taught.