17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Push him back!

I was at the park with my family and some neighbors. My friend (Mother of 5 year old boy) and I are chatting and somehow the conversation leads to what our kids do when in conflict with another kid. I'm going along, assuming (not verbalizing this to her yet) that her philosophy is as mine--use words, leave them alone, and come get me if they keep bothering you. So, the point comes that I ask her--what do you teach your kid? Walk away or push him back? She thinks a second: "Push him back!" She explained how she didn't want her kid to be labled the tattle tale. Then she nudges her hubby and asks him, what would you tell our son? Without hesitation, "Push him back!" (His wife smiling and nodding like, I knew he'd say that!) Then their friend (father of a 5 year old girl) comes by and they ask him the same question. His sure reply: "Push him back!" He insisted that the bully would leave his little girl alone if they realized she'd shove him back.

So, I think to myself, what's with the "walk away" I learned growing up? "Get help from an adult...etc." Are the differences because of religion (I don't think these two families practice any), is it that we're in New York City where things are tougher? Is it purely just their parenting? I suddenly started thinking, What if my sweet little guy is in a situation where he has to stick up for himself when he goes off to Kindergarten? Is he going to be defenseless? Should I have taught him to push back!? (Not that he never "pushes back" anyway! Goodness! If only.)

But, I suppose I would stick to my original stance, which of course could vary somewhat with age and situations. Tell them to stop (or however you feel), leave the situation, then get help from an adult if needed. Maybe the "toughness" he needs could come in the telling them to stop--like teaching him to be really bold if necessary. (Of course, I'm not addressing real physical self-defense in a very serious situation--he's only 5.)

Are you "walk awayers" or "push 'em backers"? Why?


  • Katie, I'm with you. I saw this episode of Oprah a while back, where this teenage boy was being pushed around by an older teenage boy after one of their baseball games. So what did the younger guy do in self defense? He beat him up with his baseball bat & killed him! Now, that is an extreme case, of course, but doesn't it follow the same principle? Now that kid is in prison.

    For me, teaching my children to walk away from the situation is the best thing to do. I'm all for having them stand up for themselves verbally, and if necessary getting adult intervention (at this age they most likely have the supervision anyway, and the adults are ready to intervene if they need to). I see strength in handling the situation that way, and even though it may be tough at the time, hopefully they will see strength in it as well when they are older and will be grateful we taught them to handle themselves that way!
    posted by Anonymous fellowstew at 6/12/2006 10:38:00 AM  

  • Katie, reading this I wondered if gender had something to do with it as well. It sounded like the one dad was ok with his daughter pushing a male bully?

    I don't want my children to intentionally inflict harm on other children whether emotional or physical. But I want them to figuratively "push em back". I would rather have my kids stand their ground and try to work it out preferrably through words, then to walk away and tell.

    I was both a bully and bullied. I can't remember which came first...I actually think it might have been the same year. 3 boys bullied me every day at recess (turns out they were all "in love" with me as per their card at the end of the year), but they were physically pushing me and chasing me and I fought back with all my might.

    Then I was a bully to one girl during 3rd grade (which I totally regret, and I learned from that too). I used to yell at her and hit her on the bus. I still know this girl and even though we ended up friends in high school, a few times a year I apologized to her for that.

    Though I made mistakes, it was just my personality to handle my own problems, and I for SURE did not want parental or teacher involvement.

    I have to say I am sort of proud/ok with my girls when they are threatened and they push (with Pukey) or scream (with Poopy) in their own defense. I am not proud when Poopy or Pukey push to steal a toy or just out of spite....only when they are defending themselves.

    In conclusion, I don't want my kids bullied nor do I want them o be bullies, but I want them to try every possible way to work it out so that no one is harmed and I especially don't want them to be tattle tales...
    posted by Blogger Kage at 6/12/2006 10:47:00 AM  

  • I was somewhat the tattle-tale. I think I also was just a silent endurer. I wish I had been braver.. but I had little girls and boys (who probably had the "crush") tease me so much but I was too meek to say anything back. I tried ignoring...and that never seemed to help.

    To this day I feel angry at those people who teased me so much because it felt so unfair.

    I was raised in a very soft,tender environment, with a mom who probably coddled me and really never taught me to fight back either verbally or physically. I felt pretty helpless!

    I think the reason I would want my duaghter and son to be able to fight back, in a responsible way, is because MOST of the time no adult is around.. and you are left to fend for yourself! I think it even starts a life of self protection and self defense... I mean if someone else intimidating were trying to hurt/take advantage of them, I would want them to fight like he** to get out. I think times are not what they used to be.
    posted by Blogger Rachel H at 6/12/2006 01:02:00 PM  

  • rachel h, I have had to instill the "push him back" into my NYC life. Believe it or not, when I walk by people handing out papers I have to make a conscious effort to not take what they are giving me. And it feels "mean" doing that.

    Today a strange man who was deranged, came up to my 4 year old on the subway platform and handed her a newspaper, which of course she took, b/c she is four. I was mad, I took it from her, and thought..poor innocent girl thinks that b/c he is an adult she has to just take what she has given. We need to learn to say no to the crazies and others who mean harm.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 6/12/2006 01:22:00 PM  

  • That's funny Kage, your comment reminded me of when I was "proud" when ds "pushed back". He had a little friend (this is probably before they turned 2 even) who was bigger and more physical than him. My boy was often the "victim" of pushing and toy snatching. I remember being glad when he was finally bigger and was able to push back, take the toy back, hold his ground. Yes, there's definitely a difference between being the offender and the defender.
    posted by Blogger Katie at 6/12/2006 01:29:00 PM  

  • I think maybe the most important thing to teach your children is to think before they act in difficult situations.
    The worst thing you could encourage your child to do is to act on raw emotion without thinking about consequences. The world needs more people who are capable of containing their rage.
    posted by Blogger Em at 6/12/2006 01:45:00 PM  

  • Having been bullied in Jr. High, I learned, very quickly, that "pushing back" can sometimes only get you beat up.

    Adult intervention saved my life --probably very literally. Sure, if I was twice as big as those two girls that would push me in the hallways, I probably could have pushed 'em right back, but that wasn't the case. "Standing my ground" got them angrier and more physical.

    I think in all things, we need to be careful how we approach the way we treat people. And that has to be taught to our kids. Giving our children confidence, independence and an optimistic outlook on life could very well determine the way they will treat other people --and, in reverse, allow other people to treat themselves. It isn't a black/white type of a thing: push or walk away --sometimes there must be incredible communication, which should come BEFORE the pushing.

    Kindness, to me, really is the best option. Most people, I'm sure, believe in that --I just get afraid that my kids will grow up thinking that because they are kind, that somehow they are a victim and/or weak. The strongest people I know are usually the kindest and "push back" in kindness. It is a force to behold, that kind of pushing --and I hope one day to actually figure out how to be that type of a character. My problem is that I'm still struggling with that on my own with my adult "friends"-- and trying to determine when I should "push back" --and should it really be in kindness, like I want?
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 6/12/2006 02:35:00 PM  

  • Whew. When did something that was so simple when we were little become so hard? I mean, Christ taught us to turn the other cheek, but even he overturned the tables of the money-changers when they "pushed to far"...

    I was bullied in Jr High, and I lived for months in terror of one particular girl. I never want my kids to experience that, and I think I would confront any child who bullied one of mine, myself. I never stood up to this girl, and I'm not sure that was the best track.

    On the other hand, my kids are bigger than their peers, and both my boys are very strong. I don't want them to be aggressive, either.

    It's a tall order for a child to have the discernment to know when it's ok to Push Back, and when to Walk Away- even as an adult, there is a lot of grey area there.

    Hmmmm. Very complicated. I wonder if it always was...
    posted by Blogger Tracy M at 6/12/2006 04:08:00 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 6/12/2006 04:13:00 PM  

  • I think there are a couple of ways to look at this situation. One is how to keep your child actually SAFE - (abusers, abductors, etc) and the other is how to teach your child to handle more everyday conflicts with (other children).

    I think Katie is really talking about the latter while Kage and Rachel H are thinking about the former.

    Of course I want my children to fight back when it comes to certain extreme situations, but I do not want to teach them this at the expense of their innocent outlook on the world. I don't want them to see the world as full of people want to cause them harm or want to hurt them. I want them to recognize danger but not be to quick to call someone "Dangerous" just because of their appearance. But it is really hard to walk this fine line I think because like Tracy M said, it is hard for children to have this kind of discernment.

    When it comes to everyday interactions, I am all for teaching non-agressive confict resolution. I am all for teaching my children that most things they will ever get into conflict over are really not worth it. I believe in teaching them to turn always to kindness because I believe the natural instinct is the opposite and doesn't ever need to be taught. Maybe this means my kids will be the ones getting bullied, but I figure I will work on our communication and deal with that problem when it comes.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 6/12/2006 04:16:00 PM  

  • I think I'm most taken aback by her definition of Tattle-tale. I always thought a tattle-tale was the kid that just wanted to get you in trouble and 'told' on you when you were doing things that aren't even wrong. (I have tattle-tale niece who comes and tells grandpa that her cousins are "playing with the dog," something that was never forbidden.)
    I don't think it's tattling for a kid to let an adult know when they're being bullied, and it worries me that some adults would disagree with that.
    posted by Blogger Starfoxy at 6/12/2006 05:08:00 PM  

  • Starfoxy--who's definiton of tattle-tale? I think tattle-tales through a child's eyes are the kids who tell on other kids who are doing things wrong. (Maybe some do it when there's no offense, I just haven't seen that.) Usually it's the small things, which is why it's annoying to adults--the problems are so minor. "He called me a dork." or "She poked me." waa waa waa. Those are the things we wish they'd just deal with on their own. Kids also don't want others to tattle when they're doing something REALLY wrong, which is what it sounds like rachel h endured too much (while maybe tattling on other things--just conjecture rachel, feel free to correct).

    Yeah, we have to teach kids what they SHOULD "tattle" on. And that seeking help at that time is GOOD. My sister had an eating disorder that I didn't know about until I was an adult. I remember my Mom telling me as a kid if I ever saw "signs" of an eating disorder in someone I SHOULD TELL.

    I don't think seeking help from an adult once a child has tried to solve it is annoying tattling. It's considered getting help. I'm pretty sure the ladies here agree. It's the kids who are being told on (esp. for more serious offenses) who want to pin the "tattle" name on the person to make them afraid to tell. And it works, doesn't it? Peer pressure. Part of the bullying.

    But, yes, Carrie, I was originally talking about wee ones in every day situations. I guess you gotta start teaching them the basic principles young. I really like what em said about THINKING first. And when they are this young, most problems are still so minor and lack serious reprocussions. (again, I'm not talking abuse or abduction) Better to be chill, take a deep breath, and let it go. Wow, sounds like good advice to ME when the kids are making ME nutty!

    And I'm so sorry some of you girls were bullied! What rotten schoolmates you had! (Sorry Kage, I guess you were temporarily rotten.)
    posted by Blogger Katie at 6/12/2006 06:45:00 PM  

  • You know, I wasn't even thinking about the big dangers when I commented earlier. That is a whole nother ballgame...

    We have absolutely told our four-year old to fight, bite, kick, yell, scream, do anything he can if a stranger ever grabs him or touches his body. We even have roll-played in FHE how to do it.

    But I read this post as just regarding interactions with peers... and that is where all they grey areas and discernment issues come in.
    posted by Blogger Tracy M at 6/12/2006 09:31:00 PM  

  • I am mother to 3 boys and 1 girl. My 8 1/2 year old is the size of an average 11 year old. My almost 7 year old is more like a 10 year old. BIG BOYS. My daughter is average size and the youngest boy hasn't quite gotten big enough to tell yet. Here's the point to my story: my kids are big, they have every reason to bully, but they are gentle giants. We have taught them to be respectful to all people.
    Now, we have few moms in our ward who have a different philosophy. Their kids are skinny, scrawny, and downright mean! They are seriously half the weight of my boys. So here's our rule: first time they hit, ask them nicely to stop. Second time, go tell their mom, and third time they hit... HIT THEM BACK AS HARD AS YOU CAN. (so they'll never forget who's boss!) We try to have them solve it without physical intervention, but there comes a time when you just have to do it. Parenting styles really differ and some parents just don't reprimand. This mom is one of the nicest ladies, a good friend of mine, but it has come to a point, that for the safety of my kids, we don't do much together anymore. Sad, but true.
    Everyone parents in a different way for very many reasons. It is unfortunate when someone's "lack of parenting" gets in the way of healthy friendships both between the kid and the moms.
    posted by Blogger BJHBHB at 6/12/2006 10:19:00 PM  

  • As I raise my two boys I really want to teach them to "turn the other cheek" and "think before they act," but I am often told that I need to toughen them up. Ugh. Its a fine balance between being assertive and being mean.

    Recently I gave the advice to my son to just walk away from a bully and he came home to tell me, "Mom, I can't run fast enought he is just too fast."

    At that point I wanted to be a bully, but I told my ds to be strong with his words (back off buster was my suggestion), defend himself if necessary, and get an adult if needed (he's 4 and this if after repeated incidents). He learned to be more assertive with his words with this particular classmate and the bully has finally backed off, but now he is bothering Michael H :(

    I lean towards the "walk away" approach because it encourages forgiveness. As I raise future husbands and fathers I really want them to lead with gentle hearts, so I am hoping that teaching them to think before they act will have a lasting impact.
    posted by Blogger Tri Mama at 6/13/2006 07:38:00 AM  

  • Philosophically speaking, I am not opposed to pushing back. In fact, forget pushing, I think there are times when the bully just needs to be punched in the nose. Draw a little blood and even if you get a little of your own spilt, the bully will likely go pick on some else in the future. (The key to this is to punch the bully in the nose when you are standing right next to the teacher so that everything gets broken up rather quickly).

    But the truth is that I will try to teach my children to stand up for themselves, without pushing back. Kindness is more difficult to develop than vengeance, and even though vengeance might be proper in some cases, I want my children to attempt to discern those situations through the lens of kindness.

    I also think that if my children are truly kind to other children, they will rarely have to "push back" on their own. Most of the time, a good group of friends will do more to repel the bullies than will fighting. And friends are also good to have around when fighting become necessary! : )
    posted by Blogger Todd L. at 6/13/2006 11:18:00 AM  

  • Yeah, Todd...I hear you have a history in this arena... :)
    posted by Blogger Katie at 6/13/2006 01:24:00 PM  

  • My boys inspire other kids to attack. My oldest was the favorite target for a biter, and a scratcher. These kids would walk across a room just to hurt him. I know what you're thinking, but I have other parents and teachers who will back this up. I remember wishing that eventually he would just DO SOMETHING about it. He never did.
    Now my youngest has a friend that will inexplicably walk up, tackle him, and try to bite his head. For what it's worth, his parents even say my son should sock him.
    Can the other kids sense that my boys won't fight back? I'm happy that if someone takes their toys they will (usually) just find a different toy and be fine instead of starting a brawl, but it REALLY irks me to see them get hurt without offering defense. After 3 straight weeks of coming out with scratches down his face I finally had to pull Thing 1 out of nursery until they could promise to keep him safe. So yes, I wish my kids would hit back, but that opens up a huge can of worms.
    posted by Blogger Mo Mommy at 6/13/2006 02:18:00 PM  

  • The rule at our house is to walk away when possible, fight back if you get hurt. So if a toy is taken away, choose another. If your hair is getting pulled hit the kid in the stomach.

    But this only works to a certain age. When the kids get older you have to worry more about psychological bullying and that's harder to walk away from. But I still don't think that "pushing-back" is the right philosophy.

    I want to teach my kids to be confident in themselves. If they are stong with their actions and words they won't become targets as easily. Bullies pick on the weak, so the key I think is to put out a stong image, without the need for violence.

    I have no idea how to do this . . . but in theory it should work :)
    posted by Blogger Trivial Mom at 6/13/2006 05:14:00 PM  

  • I think the most important thing is just for the kids to know that you'll have the back of whoever isn't the instigator. I remember sitting through some pretty awful treatment under the presumption that because the other kid was bigger and older and more charismatic (I was the youngest person in my grade, and then they started sending me off to classes for higher grades for half the day) the adults would side with them. The "crying yourself to sleep because Mom won't care and the teachers pretend it's not happening" thing? Not fun for an eight year old. A lot of the interviews I've read of these kids who've "snapped" at bullies mention that abandonment issue. If the environment I was in in 1st grade had continued indefinitely, I don't know what I would have been like by 7th or 8th grade.

    And after 2nd grade started, I developed a nasty habit of allying myself with the girls who were bullies -- I stopped being treated badly by people in my own grade, at least (obviously, very few female 8 year olds, even the bullies, can intimidate a male 12 year old,) but then I was now facilitiating some very unkind behaviors.

    Of course, when people asked me what I thought of school, I always said I liked everything except recess and lunch. I was so happy to switch to homeschooling, for so many reasons... Now, working in a more or less adult environment, I find a lot of the same kinds of people from elementary school -- but there's the possibility of being fired or arrested to contain their behavior. Children do horrible things to each other and adults often tolerate it, for reasons I've yet to decipher.

    I'd never say "just push him back," but I also think it's important that kids be provided tools, including physical self-defense, verbal tactics, how to get help from adults, etc. Though, um, not necessarily the physical self-defense part at preschool ages. There ought to be adults in sufficient physical proximity to actually intervene when someone is hitting someone else. I certainly intervene when there's physical violence in Primary, and that's usually with 8-10 year olds.

    And my brother and sister, when they were at daycare, had a zero tolerance policy in effect: if your child bit another child, they had to leave for (IIRC) two weeks (ordinary hitting was less serious, though they'd eventually suspsend a child for that too.) It mostly functioned as a "don't bring biters to daycare here" stick for the parents, much in the same way that the $15/minute/child "overtime" policy (for kids left at the center after closing time) functioned as a "don't be leaving your kids here till 6:45 or later" stick. If you did it three times in a school year, you had to go to an hour long counseling session with the director of the center, reapply for your spot, and pay a fine (on top of the insane penalty for showing up late in the first place.)

    My siblings never got bitten, and always got picked up by 6pm. Maybe your first response ought to be "the play date ends when the fighting begins;" my sister knows not to get lost at Disneyland anymore from my stepmom's ironclad "we're going home if you get lost, even if we've only been here for ten minutes" rule. Whatever (civilized) tactics that are required to prevent fighting, that your children are comfortable employing, will probably be implemented shortly (and uncivilized behavior can be punished, as well.) Though that only works well with older, more or less rational ages (6 or 7 and up); I don't think most 4-year-olds are as good at complex reasoning like "I need to walk away from Jimmy because he's getting that look in his eyes that says he's going to bite someone, and then Mom will say the playdate is over..."

    Wow, that was a long comment. Heh, sorry.
    posted by Blogger Sarah at 6/13/2006 06:50:00 PM  

  • This is all so good. I must add that I kind of fall back on the idea that our children exhibit the behaviors they are taught at home. If they live in a bullied environment, I am sure that's what they'll become. But if they are surrounded with kindless and love, confidence and strength, and the ability and trust that they can go home to mom and dad for support as needed. I want an open line of communication with my children, and I really hope it's possible, so that I can be aware of their lives as much as they need it.
    posted by Blogger Rachel H at 6/13/2006 07:07:00 PM  

  • I just stumbled across this site, and I'm fascinated. I tip my hat to all of you ladies who are not afraid to be what us men cannot: nurturing, feminine, motherly; and you're all very articulate. I must inquire, are you the last generation of such? The girls of my generation seem so corrupt. (I'll add though, I'm not Mormon so really don't know much about your church's culture.)

    Anyway, wanted to add a little bit to this discussion. Mothers don't want their children to be fighters, and that's natural. And that's fine for girl children. Girls didn't used to fight. I blame TV.

    But boys need to be the fighters, because when we grow up, we are your protectors. If we're taught not to ever, ever, fight - to always be passive and weak - how will we learn to slay the dragons and fight off the Indians to save our wives and children? Boys are naturally more agressive, but this energy must be channeled constructively. Martial arts training, such as jujitsu, is excellent for that purpose. Not all punching and kicking - the young students are also taught that fighting is the last option. Boys who have the self-confidence that martial arts training instills don't feel the need to beat other kids up to prove themselves, and are rarely, if ever, given to bullying.

    I speak from experience. Having skipped a grade early in elementary school, I was after that the runt of the class until high school. I was a natural target for the bullies. Having pacifist parents, I was never encouraged to stand up for myself. That was something I had to learn on my own. Lo and behold, when you hurt a bully, they move on to easier pickin's. The first time I punched one, he never bothered me again after everyone saw him running off, blubbering, to tell the bus driver what a meanie I was. It was an epiphany.

    And while it may be a different story with girls - with boys, tattling is not an option. It only makes things worse to get school administrators involved. Boys must learn to handle problems that come their way without relying on authorities - this is a lesson that lasts a lifetime. I cannot stress the importance of this enough. Self-reliance is a very desirable male trait.

    As for kids trying to bite and scratch other kids, as was mentioned in one comment, I have no idea. That's definitely not normal. Where do kids learn behavior like that? I have a guess - the boob tube. I urge every good parent to keep their kids away from the idiot box - totally, completely. Mothers didn't have problems keeping kids occupied before TV was invented, and I suspect it can still be done.

    Sorry to ramble so. Best wishes to you all, and if any of you have younger, single sisters in CO....
    posted by Anonymous Mike in CO at 6/13/2006 11:56:00 PM  

  • Thanks Mike in CO.....your advice and input is great! It's wonderful to hear such diverse experiences, I think you have given some great ideas about being a "boy" and having to deal with this a bit more than girls. Thanks again!
    posted by Anonymous cali at 6/14/2006 03:57:00 PM  

  • Mike in CO - I doubt you will ever come back to this strange place you stumbled upon to read this, but I just can't let your comment go without a response.

    I will admit that gender still plays a part of how we teach our children to react in conflict. But I am not sure it should.

    "If we're taught not to ever, ever, fight - to always be passive and weak - how will we learn to slay the dragons and fight off the Indians to save our wives and children? " "

    First off, I think teaching a child not to fight does not necessarily mean you are teaching them to be "passive and weak". I think the latter happens when parents just teach their children that fighting is wrong without teaching them how to handle situations of conflict with confidence, strength and kindness (and helping them discern between this and fists, bullying, aggression, etc).

    Secondly, the last time I checked, dragons don't exist and Indians are no longer savages. I realize you meant it as an analogy, but I don't need my man to be a fighter so he can save me. And I most certainly won't teach my sons to fight for that reason because I would never want them growing up viewing women as weak and needing to be saved. I can't imagine what needy, disasterous women they would end up with in life!

    If you are indeed looking for a woman like those you have found here, you better think about updating your views a bit.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 6/15/2006 10:21:00 AM  

  • Oh, and Mike, I really am glad you stopped by. I hope you come back again!
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 6/15/2006 10:22:00 AM  

  • I didn't agree with everything precisely, but I enjoyed your comment Mike. Poor guy! I agree with you in thinking men need to be more of a "fighter" type than women......another opinion I guess.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 6/15/2006 04:14:00 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 6/15/2006 06:40:00 PM  

  • Did I come off that mean? He's a man, he can take it.:) If he comes around more, he'll realize it's just my way of debate and all in good fun. And I guess I shouldn't have spoken for everyone. My apologies.

    There may be reasons why the male gender should be more of the "fighter" type, but his reasoning just made me roll my eyes.

    Anon - I am not sure what you mean by "fighter" in quotes. Because when I say fighter, I mean the use of physical force. Which I still don't really see the need to teach to my children. I would be fine placing my sons or daughters in karate or jujitsu or whatever because I don't really see it as learning how to fight, but as more of a sport and an art.

    I do think we should teach our children (male and female) to be "fighters" in spirit. To stand up for their beliefs, their rights, and other people who cannot stand up for themselves. I guess some would say that this neccessarily would include physical force, but I don't think so.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 6/15/2006 06:43:00 PM  

  • While I think women don't want to be thought of as helpless "princessees" in need of rescuers, I think a strong man is quite attractive. If a guy was into jujitsu or whatever and was smart about real-life fighting I'd think that was awesome and manly. :) Quite frankly, I'd even feel safer. Guess I got to sign dh up for classes...ha ha.

    Thanks for visiting Mike, and thanks for your compliments about us bloggers! I do have a sister...but she's only 16...too young for you? :) I used to live in CO--love it there!!
    posted by Blogger Katie at 6/17/2006 04:29:00 AM  

  • Of course I had to come back - at the very least to see if anyone replied to my comments! Plus, I am the eternally curious sort, so perhaps you can count me as a semi-regular reader.

    tftcarrie - I don't think you're mean at all. I also wouldn't expect you to agree with my reasoning. You are a woman. You see the world differently than men do, and I really hope you're not so misguided as to think otherwise. I respect your opinion - er, rather, your right to your own opinion. It just comes from a different place than mine.

    I simply cannot understand where you think I'm coming from. You seem to think that I am in favor of random violence. I thought I made it quite clear where I stand: boys should know HOW to fight, and WHEN to fight. Most times, it's not necessary, but fighting skills are like a first aid kit of sorts - mostly it sits there, but it's there when you need it. The simple truth is, the more skills and confidence a man has, and the less fear he has of violent conflict, the LESS likely he is to become engaged in it. For example, elite military commandos (the deadliest men in the world) are far less likely to pick fights in bars than the ordinary street punk.

    You also seem offended at the notion that women might be perceived as the "weaker sex." In terms of physical stature and strength, do you really want to tell me otherwise, and with a straight face? Don't forget, either, that when you make statements like "we don't need your protection any more," you are insulting all of us men. We feel that it is our honor and our duty. To be the king of our castle (figuratively speaking); to protect and provide; that is our highest calling on this Earth given to us by our Creator. Think about who else you are insulting, too, like other women who would prefer their men to be strong. Come to think of it, saying that women have no need, and should have no need, of a man's protective nature, is insulting to all men of character, all women whether they feel insulted by it or not, and dare I say, offensive to our Creator, though I will not pretend to speak for Him. That's my educated guess.

    katie - Thanks! And I'll check back with you in a couple years...! :-)
    posted by Anonymous Mike in CO at 6/17/2006 06:29:00 PM  

  • Mike in CO

    I believe a man can fulfill his divine role given to him by our Creator, without knowing how to use physical force to protect his family. I concede that some women do prefer this characteristic, but to me that has little to do with any God-given mandate.

    But to get back on the original track of this thread. Let's say you feel boys need to learn how to fight for some God-given, innate reason and I might agree that boys should learn how to fight for some other culturally based reason, how do we successfully teach our boys the appropriate times to pull out the fists? Many people's comments center around discernment. To me, this is where the question of "Should you teach your child to push back?" becomes problematic.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 6/17/2006 10:17:00 PM  

  • You are right on Mike!!! I'm very impressed.........also happily married with 4 kids :) I appreciate where you are coming from and believe 99% of what you said is actually the truth. Come visit often!
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 6/18/2006 08:55:00 AM  

  • Oh good grief. I don't know if I have the stomach to engage in this, but Mike, it sounds like you're trapped in a medieval world or the Wild Wild West. (castles, kings, dragons, Indians...?)

    I don't see why it's any more important for a boy to be able to defend himself than for a girl to be able to defend herself. I agree with Carrie that other types of conflict resolution are far preferable to fisticuffs, but if a person is attacked, why wouldn't we want boys AND girls to know a few things about self-defense? I just don't buy into a world where a man is going to be around to slay my dragons, or whatever. Or a world in which he should.

    And in 6 years of marriage, not once has my husband had to physically protect me or fight for me - or for himself. So I don't see how Carrie has "insulted" you and all mankind by referring to a world in which she doesn't need a man's protection. This is simply the reality that we (at least she and I) live in.

    And if my husband and i were physically confronted with danger, I'd like to think that I'd throw myself in front of the bullet at the same time he tried to do the same for me.

    And where are you getting that man's highest calling on earth by God is to be a protector? How about everyone's (male and female) highest duty given to us by God is to be kind, loving, and good to those around us?

    Anyway, I'm sure you're a great guy and all, and as you can see, some women are very attracted to the chivlaric, me-Tarzan, you-Jane, kind of world you are presenting, but it's just not going to work for all of us. Best of luck to you.
    posted by Blogger Caroline at 6/18/2006 03:42:00 PM  

  • Last time I read the "Proclamation to the Family" which is straight from our prophet (for Mike in CO) it did state that fathers or husbands are to "preside over their families in love and righteousness AND are responsible to provide protection for their families." I don't think he meant to remind them to put their helmets on when bike riding. I believe it does have to do with a physical protection as well. I love it and love that I feel very safe with my husband because I know he honors that call. No, I'm not a whimp, I can stand my ground if need be......I don't teach my kids to fight, but I agree that in general men have that "fight" in them especially to protect their families. That's AWESOME!!! So, you're in bed one night and you hear someone breaking in.....is it the man that immediately jumps up to take care of it and fight(or protect) or does the woman of the house say "no no hunny, let me see what's going on down there, you stay here!" Yikes, if it's the latter of the two. It doesn't have to be me-tarzan, you-jane....just what makes the most sense.
    posted by Anonymous sara at 6/18/2006 06:04:00 PM  

  • "it sounds like you're trapped in a medieval world or the Wild Wild West. (castles, kings, dragons, Indians...?)"

    caroline: Okay, I gather that you're a feminist, but that shouldn't preclude you from knowing what a figure of speech is. Should I have been more specific, i.e.: crackheads, muggers, burglars, carjackers, et al? Or do you live in some lush paradise where those don't exist? I envy you if you do. You may indeed never face that kind of danger in your life. But you might. That's why the Boy Scouts say, "Be Prepared."

    "How about everyone's (male and female) highest duty given to us by God is to be kind, loving, and good to those around us?"

    Perhaps you can tell me where the scripture is with exactly those words. From the Bible, and from what I've read of the Book of Mormon, there is much violence in scripture - and in many cases, it's COMMANDED by God that his people slay their enemies. Holy scripture is clear: we should indeed treat others with kindness, but we are well within our rights to use force against those who would do us bodily harm. The verse I am most familiar with is something like: 'when a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are at peace.' (Somewhere in the NT)

    Someday when you meet your prophet, perhaps you can inquire of him why your folk carried guns on the westward trek, instead of fighting off the Indians with hugs and kisses. Oh, and I do know that many of the women on that trek were also quite capable of using weapons, and often did. So were any kids big enough to lift a rifle. Those were certainly people made of stronger stuff than people today.

    And spare me the "that was then, this is now" platitudes, please. Last I checked (this morning) the world is still a dangerous and violent place where the police still can't protect everyone 'round the clock.

    Please give me a physical description of yourself, so if I ever see you in danger, I won't bother to help since you don't need it. With an attitude like yours, I'd be inclined to let you jump in front of a bullet. (Ouch... that's harsh... but it stands.)

    In conclusion, I say to you and every woman like you, we WANT to be your champions because that's the way we're wired. Why do you hate us so much that you deny our nature? Yeah, I know a lot of us aren't perfect either. I'm working on that, too.
    posted by Anonymous Mike in CO at 6/18/2006 07:51:00 PM  

  • sara said: "I believe it does have to do with a physical protection as well. I love it and love that I feel very safe with my husband because I know he honors that call."

    And I bet that lucky man would charge Hell with a snow cone for you. I would. A fine measure of a man's worth is how much trust his lady puts in him. Isn't that how we look to the Creator, too?
    posted by Anonymous Mike in CO at 6/18/2006 08:00:00 PM  

  • tftcarrie said: "how do we successfully teach our boys the appropriate times to pull out the fists? Many people's comments center around discernment. To me, this is where the question of "Should you teach your child to push back?" becomes problematic."

    Short answer: that's their father's job.

    Long answer: teaching sound situational judgement is just one of the many things a parent is responsible for. If a child is taught to first walk away, and only use force as a last resort, that's just what he'll do. Boys don't overcomplicate things. And if they are obedient, disciplined boys, they will very likely consider the result of bad judgement when they get home.

    But teaching a boy to be a pacifist, a tattletale; in short, a victim; is not good parenting.

    I'm not quite sure I can phrase the following to the best effect, but I'm going to try. Men and women handle conflicts differently; always have; always will. We were created that way, and you need look no further than your Bible to learn that (if you believe in it). It is simply not right for a mother to force a son - a future man - into a woman's way of handling conflict. I think we've tampered with nature for too long.

    If the above is wrong, then tell the One who made us, so He can correct His mistake.
    posted by Anonymous Mike in CO at 6/18/2006 08:24:00 PM  

  • Very well addressed Mike!! It's just a true thing!
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 6/18/2006 09:23:00 PM  

  • Mike said:
    "Perhaps you can tell me where the scripture is with exactly those words."

    Easy. New Testament. "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matthew 22:36-40)

    (ok, so maybe being loving to one another is the 2nd greatest commandment)

    Mike said:
    "if I ever see you in danger, I won't bother to help since you don't need it"

    Deal :) And if I ever see you being attacked in an ally, I'll remember to try to not help you in any way since it might be an affront to your manly manliness.

    Mike said:
    "With an attitude like yours, I'd be inclined to let you jump in front of a bullet."

    Now, now... That's not very chivalrous :)

    Mike said:
    "Why do you hate us so much that you deny our nature?"

    That made me laugh. Where did you get that I hate men? I love 'em. Especially the ones that see and treat me as an equal partner. As for "our [males'] nature" that I am denying, I simply prefer more nuance. It may very well be that you are personally hardwired in a certain way. But I highly doubt we need to shove every male on earth into such rigid stereotypical gender categories. Likewise for females.
    posted by Blogger Caroline at 6/20/2006 12:00:00 AM  

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