Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Be Kind

"Three things in human life are important.
The first is to be kind.
The second is to be kind.
And the third is to be kind." - Henry James

These are the ornaments that I made from the acorns Satch collected. We hung them on some fallen branches that we gathered for the vase on our table to celebrate the season (an idea that I ripped from RealSimple - I can't remember the last time I bought a magazine, but the holiday issue was too enticing).

I also designed some new goodies here!

We tried to do our holiday shopping early so we wouldn't have to deal with that pre-xmas craziness, so we can sit back and enjoy the shifting seasons and not contribute to the frenzy. (Can I say, by the way, that I resent seeing all the xmas decorations out before we've celebrated Thanksgiving? What kind of message is that giving to our children?) Toys R Us had absolutely nothing on my list (though they did have a lot of plastic crap and branded toys). I walked over to target and they didn't have any of the toys on my list either. I have now resolved to do all my shopping on line. We are now finished with Satchel's xmas shopping, 'cept for a season related book and an easel from Ikea. list?

Here it is:
While I was in the toy department of Target, I heard a father say to his child, "if you touch one more thing I'm going to take you over to the hardware store, buy a hammer and break all your fingers".

I felt sick. As I walked past I said, "Nice way to talk to your child, real NICE!" I wish I could have thought of a comment that might have helped the be an enlightened witness for the child. But I couldn't think of anything else to say because I was in shock. I remember reading in Jan Hunt's book, that we shouldn't turn away when we witness an abuse, we should act so the child feels seen. If we see a parent overreact due to stress, we should respond with something like, "It can be really stressful, is there something I can do to help?" In this way, it's not an attack on the parent, the child feels validated and yet it acknowledges that the situation is unhealthy while restoring some balance, consciousness.

However, in that toy section of Target, I felt paralyzed. Moments like that one make me realize that even on my worst day, I could never be THAT wretched.

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posted by Wendy at 6:03 AM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

yikes wen..
that guys a sicko... boy do I wish I had been there.. I woulda ripped into him for ya!!
miss you

12:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOVE the decorations.. and what a cool idea about the vase thing.. and to think.. I have the COOLEST vase EVA.. thanks to you!!

12:58 PM  
Anonymous amanda said...

That story about the dad at Target makes me so sad. Ugh. Makes me want to go wake up my kiddo just to give him a hug.

On a happier note, those acorn ornaments are beautiful and I am definitely going to be making some. Thanks for the seasonal book link, too.

And we are also fans of eeboo around here. Don't they just have the cutest graphics?

8:40 PM  
Blogger jenica said...

thanks for the link to the witness article. i just feel sick about that poor baby in target. no one should feel like that. i'm so glad you said something. and i think you are so right about helping an overwhelmed parent. with 4 children 5 and under i'm often extremely overwhelmed at stores. a few kind words can really help to put things in perspective and diffuse the children.

i love your acorn ornaments. i wish oak trees grew here!

2:28 AM  
Blogger Cloudscome said...

I love the acorns. I am glad to see your toy list too, since I am drawing a blank on what to get for my little boys. Tub toys are always good. It seems like we already have everything we need...

I am sad for the dad and son at Target. I can actually relate to feeling that way, although I shudder to think of anyone actually saying that. I have no idea what a helpful thing to say would be. He clearly was frustrated beyond coping and could use a hand.

6:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sure the dad was just joking, I sometimes make extremely exaggerated threats to my young loved ones to let them know I am serious but humorous at the same time ("if you don't ______ I am going to shoot you with a space laser" etc).
He probably was just tired of saying "stop touching that" and was thinking of new ways to say it. I doubt his child was truly petrified of having their fingers smashed. I suspect the kid would fake-threaten the dad with a laser if he thought Target sold them.

10:41 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

The tone wasn't that of a joke. I should make it clear that the man didn't speak in jest. The threat was detailed and realistic unlike the fantasy of being able to procure an actual laser gun. While I am sure the dad wasn't serious about his threat it was extremely hostile.

5:50 AM  
Blogger Jan Hunt said...

What a sad story. Don't be too hard on yourself, though - it's so hard for anyone to think clearly when suddenly confronted with something so upsetting. But even if we can't find the perfect words, the message may still get through that his parenting is not being accepted by his community. Walking past silently also gives a message – of acceptance of the parent's behavior.

While I often recommend a gentle offer of help in these situations, a strong threat like the one this dad used calls for a strong response - perhaps something like "Oh my goodness, I hope you won't really ever do that!" This would let the parent know how extreme his words were, and at the same time let the child know that it's not actually going to happen (I assume the parent would reassure the bystander, if only through fear of an accusation of child abuse).

It may help to remember that parents who treat their children harshly were almost certainly treated this way in their own childhood, and may not have had anyone speak out on their behalf. But even if they can't hear our message, their child is likely to hear it clearly, and start to understand that he is not at fault. In this way the cycle of abuse can finally be stopped.

We have 4 articles on intervening on our Natural Child Project site, listed at

Thank you for mentioning my book!


9:21 PM  

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