Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

The tragedy in Connecticut was devastating, and my heart goes out to those families. That being said, I’ve thought long and hard about what I wanted to say regarding the topic of gun control. This is a sensitive issue right now, and a very important one.

Throughout the history of mankind, we’ve found a way to hunt, to harm, to wage war. Cane slew Abel because, in his eyes, his brother was “favored” (no motive is ever really given, it’s always assumed the motive was jealousy). But Cane did not have a firearm when he committed this act.

We are in the midst of another debate of gun control because of a terrible event that occurred – something that should never have happened. We cannot ever replace those lives. However, we cannot change the fact that the perpetrator would have found a method to harm these people if he did not have access to guns.

My friend, Stephen Pope, has a far more eloquent post on this topic. After reading it I got his permission to incorporate it into my own post over here:

http://stephenbpope.blogspot.com/2012/12/reacting-and-preventing.html

Whenever we encounter a tragedy, it’s human nature to have that “knee jerk reaction” and want to go to the opposite end of the spectrum, whatever the issue may be. But knee jerk reactions are never long-term solutions. If someone had listened to Cane, or maybe stopped and asked him how he was doing, maybe he would have had a chance to vent about his asshole brother Abel and that whole story would have had a different ending.

Really, Just Say “No”

We had the Chanukah Carnival at Temple today. I‘m on the Religious School Committee, so I volunteered to help. I ended up minding the Chanukah Store, which was better than selling cotton candy.

Alas, as a part of the store, my table also took Gelt tickets. For those unfamiliar with Chanukah traditions, Gelt is a popular item among the kids. It’s that little bag of chocolate covered coins. The kids would go through the carnival, earn coupons for various activities, and come to me to purchase Gelt, Dreidles, or a mystery item from the grab-box.

This was fine, until this one kid came up… this one little kid, who obviously never heard the word “no” in his young life. He hands over his coupon for the grab box, reaches in, and grabs his item. He looks at it and immediately tells his mother, “I don’t like it! I want a different one!” Y’know, I have other kids waiting in line. You get what you get. But before I can say anything, she lets him switch his prize. I politely ask her not to do that again, and explain that the grab box is a quick grab-and-go item, fun for everyone. It’s a “mystery”, but what you grab is what you get. I’m really nice about it and so is she. So her kid changes his prize… then he says, “I WANT TO DO IT AGAIN! I WANT ANOTHER ONE!” And he starts to reach in to get another toy in addition to the one he just grabbed. She has to drag him away mid-temper-tantrum.

Oh, it gets better…

Later, the little demon-spawn comes back without his mom. He has another coupon. There is a long line of kids ahead of him, but he circumvents the line and just goes up to the side of the box. I politely tell him, “Sweetie, of course you can draw again, but you need to get in line and wait your turn.”

He looked at me as though I’d smashed his hopes and dreams. I told him he had to wait?? He went running from the room as fast as he could, throwing a fit. Well… I wasn’t too concerned. Everyone knows everyone at our small Temple. When I got to a stopping point, I looked up at his mother and said, “Your son just tore out of here in a temper tantrum. I don’t think he wanted to wait his turn.” She got this panicked look on her face and went off after him. She brings him back and molly-coddled him through picking another item from the box.

The kid is maybe 3 or 4. I can’t wait to see how she’ll handle things when he’s a teen.

Whether you believe in corporal punishment or just handling things via “time-out”, at some point you have to establish boundaries. It’s OK to tell your child “No.” Trust me. They’re going to hear that word quite frequently in the real world once they’re an adult. If you don’t expose them to it early on, you aren’t doing them (or yourself) any favors.

The Bad Egg Who Never Heard "No"
The Bad Egg Who Never Heard “No”