It blows my mind that people use eternal punishment as a way to make their children behave. I read on facebook this morning the sentence “I love that no one can punish better than our Lord!” talking about threatening her children with the idea that “Jesus watches you all the time” and that he’ll punish you if you misbehave.
I don’t have children so I might be out of my element here.
But the way I look at it is based out of how I felt being told as a child that Jesus was “always with me”.
My grandma told me that “Jesus lived in my heart”. and I screamed, and cried and begged her to get him out, because I was terrified of having a little tiny man living in my body. Of course the idea of that is ridiculous, but how scared I felt was very real. I couldn’t have been more than 4 years old when that happened, because my grandma was still living in Nashville, she moved away from the city when I was 5 years old. My family loves to tell that story as a joke whenever I am around.
Now, that was the nice sweet version of “Jesus is always with you”, and I was terrified. I cannot imagine how scary it must be for children to be threatened with eternal punishment. Not to mention the extreme amount of guilt that comes along with being told you are ~always being watched~ there are so many rules against everything. What if you do something wrong on accident? Which, as humans we tend to make mistakes. If Jesus is the ultimate punisher, won’t he be very strict?
Won’t that guilt and fear carry over into adulthood? (yes) Why should you be a good person because god is always watching? Why not be a good person because it’s the proper thing to do?
I’m no expert on parenting… but isn’t that just wrong? To scare your child like that?
I like to think that the way Lyzz and Chris parent Annabelle is a good starting point for “If you misbehave you will be punished.” Instead of teaching Belle that she is going to upset Jesus, they teach Belle that Mom and Dad will be very upset. That she has hurt Mom and Dad’s feelings. Belle will be legitimately upset if you tell her that she has hurt your feelings. She will cry and cry and cry like you spanked her (which they don’t have to do because she is sensitive enough to be upset at the idea of upsetting you.) She’ll even say “I’m sorry.” sometimes hug you. The point is that she is genuinely sorry. Not because she’ll burn for eternity but because she has hurt someone that she knows. Now of course sometimes the 3yr old “I don’t care attitude” comes along and that’s where harsher punishments are needed like taking something away, not doing something for her etc etc.
I’m just trying to process the idea that god is the ultimate punisher. Which I mean isn’t a new idea.. but the idea of applying that to your parenting… Blows my mind.
For “all the good” that religion does (which can be disputed. Another post for another time.) it sure does have to be very scary to be effective.
I love the idea of a Living Museum, but I had a few concerns when I was reading over the instructions for this project. The introduction to the project as well as the grading criteria for it specifically explain that the people the students are supposed to choose as their subjects should be American leaders, explorers, inventors, or scientists. However, several of the people you’ve included in your list of suggestions were not, in fact, Americans.
- Jane Goodall [Jane Goodall IS NOT AMERICAN. Maybe you mean Diane Fossey?]
- Marie Curie [WAS NOT AMERICAN. She was Polish, married a French man, and did all of her work in Europe, with the exception of fundraising tours in the US in 1921 and 1929. However, she is constantly used as a token lady scientist on these sorts of lists.]
- Albert Einstein [ALSO NOT AMERICAN, although he did do a lot of work in the US and finally became a US citizen late in life. I’m iffy on this one. He wasn’t born or educated here, so I don’t like the idea of erasing the first half of his life in order to claim him as American.]
- Isaac Newton [Not even remotely American. He died in 1727 and never even set foot in the New World.]
- Christopher Columbus [NOT AMERICAN. As the “discoverer” of America, I suppose he is applicable. However, his contributions and the consequences of his actions are a bit complex for 2nd graders to understand.]
Sylvia has chosen to do her project on Marie Curie, which I have allowed because she was so excited and because it’s inspired her to read the Marie Curie biography I got for her some time ago. Not to mention the fact that there aren’t many other woman scientists who are household names, and it’s really important to me as a parent to make sure that Sylvia is encouraged in her interest in science. I have, however, had to discuss with Sylvia that Marie Curie was not American and try to explain why there seems to be such an obvious error in a list of recommended people for a project on famous Americans. I just wanted to be sure that you were aware of this inconsistency in the project instructions.
My other concern with your list of recommendations was that, while I can see that there is an attempt at diversity, it fails to be truly inclusive while at the same time suggesting a couple of people that I am not sure can be discussed in an age appropriate manner without over-simplifying their stories and glossing over some very ugly facts about American history.
I find Christopher Columbus and Pocahontas both to be quite problematic as people to discuss with very young children unless, of course, you are going to be discussing Columbus’ enslavement of the natives that he found already living in the New World or the importance of Pocahontas’ story as illustrative of (and her story later helping to perpetuate) white European colonialism and forcible assimilation of Native Americans into European culture. Indeed, Pocahontas herself, although already a wife among her people, was captured by the English, converted to Christianity, had her name changed and her previous marriage invalidated so that she could be married to John Rolfe, at which point she was taken back to England and exhibited as an example that Native Americans were educable after all. This all seems a bit heavy for children to understand at age 8.
As far as increasing the inclusiveness of your list, I do have a few suggestions of my own. I would also suggest including writers and artists along with “leaders, explorers, inventors, and scientists” to help account for the fact that, historically, all of the fields that you originally named in the assignment have been heavily dominated by white men. Also, there is no reason to devalue the arts by failing to include them as influential parts of American history.
Here are my suggestions for a more inclusive list:
Isabel Allende - Chilean-American writer
Luis Walter Alvarez - American physicist and inventor
Amy Tan - Writer
Chien-Shiung Wu - Chinese-American physicist
Wilma Mankiller - First female Chief of the Cherokee Nation
Grace Hopper - American computer scientist and Navy officer who helped develop some of the earliest computer programming languages
Madam C. J. Walker - African-American entrepreneur and philanthropist
Maria Mitchell - American astronomer
As I said at the beginning, I think the project is a great idea, and I’m looking forward to helping Sylvia with writing her paragraph about Marie Curie this weekend. Just wanted to let you know my concerns and throw a couple suggestions your way.
Thanks for your time.