One of the blogs I follow recently had a “conversation” (and I use that term loosely) about the c-word.
Don’t worry, I won’t get into it. Already dealt with that one, anyway.
I was struck most by the overwhelming number of responses on the momversation that indicated that “it’s nobody’s business” and “who are they to question my parenting?”. Sure, everyone has different parenting techniques, and different things work for different people, but there’s a basic understanding that to be a good parent, you need to try and avoid chopping off body parts.
And we say those things, but…do we really mean it? Do we really think that “whatever floats your boat” is a good way to navigate parenting? To navigate life?
Say you see a mother beating her kid in the Kroger parking lot, apparently not a simple disciplinary spanking. It’s obviously hurting the child. Do you say anything?
What about if it was a dog? In a story by Anne Lamott, she sees a man abusing a dog on the beach. And she’s powerless to even speak, to say anything that would get the man to stop. What’s worse is that her son is watching, seeing the abuse, calling it by its name, and watching his mother do nothing.
What if the parent was locking the child in a closet, and you knew about it? Would you say something- to anyone that could change it?
What if the issue were FGM?
A good friend recently had his first baby, a little boy. I asked if they were planning on a circ, and he said, “Yeah. Why not?? I had one and I don’t remember it.”
When we get to the point that it’s ok to hurt our children, as long as they don’t remember the abuse, haven’t we lost it? Isn’t that where the boat stops floating, and we’re left in the deep end?
I’d love to hear your thoughts, since I am by no means clear on this. Where does our responsibility to others intersect their personal freedom? At what point do we become the neighborhood watch?