I used to think that being tolerant of just about anything was a good thing.
There are some things that are really too awful to tolerate, though. Hitting children is one of those things.
If you think hitting children is good, I can’t be your friend. It’s not that I don’t want to, or that I’m being stubborn. I literally cannot be friends with someone who can believe something so awful and horrifying. Partially because it’s awful and horrifying, yes, but also partly because friendship requires some level of trust, empathy, and understanding. I just can’t trust a person who thinks it’s good to hit children. I also don’t really understand them, nor can I really empathize with them. I doubt they can understand or empathize with me, either.
Hitting children is assault, abuse, and an abuse of power. It’s bullying. It’s inhumane.
A person who can’t see that those statements are true has something very seriously wrong with them, and I just don’t know how to connect with such a person. I also wonder if they can really connect with themselves. I wonder what kind of damage was done to their brain wiring growing up that made them capable of believing that hitting children is something that is ever okay.
I guess they were probably hit as children. That must have been really traumatizing. Maybe they believed that they deserved it. That’s awful. No child deserves to be treated that way. But children are wired to look up to their parents as role models, so if their parents hit them, maybe in some way it’s less painful for them to believe that they deserved it, rather than to believe that their parents did something wrong. Imagine being a child and not being able to trust the people you literally depend on for food and shelter. That must be terrifying. To believe that those people are flawed human beings who can do things that are wrong is a very difficult thing for a child to think about. So it’s easier to believe that if your parents are awful to you, it’s because it was necessary somehow, because they’re the adults and they know better.
Then this awful belief follows them into adulthood, and then they end up hitting their own children one day, because that’s what their parents did, and their parents before them, etc. It’s a difficult cycle to break! But it’s not impossible, because quite a lot of people are finally realizing that not only is hitting children horrible, it’s also isn’t necessary, and never was.
So, on one level, I really do feel sorry for the people who believe that it’s good to hit children. But I still can’t be their friend. Sympathy is not the same as empathy or understanding. I literally cannot understand what it’s like to be them, and to be honest I don’t really want to.
I do hope they find the help and support they need though. Maybe someday they will come around.
Also, there’s a difference between people who really believe that it’s good to hit children, and people who are just going along with it because they never really questioned it. There is hope for the latter group if they just learn a bit. This rant was really more aimed at the first group, who really actually specifically believe that hitting children is good and necessary. Why they believe it doesn’t matter. Whether it’s “because the Bible said so”, or just because they think they were terrible children and that being abused somehow turned them into properly well-adjusted adults. Well-adjusted to what though? Maybe to a crazy, sick society that thinks hitting children is acceptable… but that’s not a good thing.
“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti