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Seen & Not Heard

Easter Sunday was lovely for our family. We went to church as per usual, and despite a "NO! I WANT TO BE LOUD!" comment from Jane when I requested she be quiet things went OK. Up until last Sunday she had stayed in the nursery during the church service, but we decided to test the waters and find out if she's ready for full-time attendance. (We are decidedly mixed so far.)

During Sunday school we set aside our lesson (starting in Hebrews) to talk about the Easter story -- the differences among the Gospels, the importance of Jesus first appearing to women, etc. It was interesting, although I don't think I learned anything I didn't know. (And I have questions about the evolution of Easter as a church celebration that somehow didn't seem appropriate to ask -- or that those I was with would have the answers.)

Eventually the discussion devolved into parenting advice disguised as general children-today-are-horrible lamenting. Our class is a bunch of retired people and us -- so we're the only ones in the active, day-to-day parenting life right now, and I know that makes me much more sensitive to things they say. And our parenting philosophy is worlds apart from everyone else in the class.

Multiple times I've sat uncomfortably while they extol the virtues of physical discipline -- specifically being popped immediately for backtalk and implying that nothing else works as well. This week someone even said "I come from a time where children were meant to be seen and not heard." (You can imagine how I felt knowing Jane definitely makes herself heard, even during worship.)

Someone made the argument that "I was spanked and I turned out great" to justify corporal punishment. I found myself thinking later about that specifically, and how that line of thinking disregards advances made in understanding children's development. (Such as: spanking doesn't work.) I've read/heard that line of thinking rebutted with the idea of car seats. Just because you survived your childhood riding around without any restraints does that mean all children should live the same way, even now knowing and having access to car seats that save lives?

I didn't remember that until well after Sunday school, but I'm not sure I would have said anything anyway. Sometimes I'm pushed to the limit with things said and I do speak up (racist and sexist comments will always get me riled up), but I know that it's to no effect.

All that said, I really like these people, and when we stick to the lesson and reading Scripture I enjoy our time together much more.


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