But I got a little sidetracked by some of the comments on my last post, and then by re-reading what I had written, and so I figured I would write a quick follow-up to that instead, and save the magical, miraculous minds of babies for another day.
In case you don't feel like reading that post, here's the quick and dirty, using the terminology of the department where I used to teach at Very Large State University:
Project: Through an anecdote about his own reaction to a difficult pet, the author presents a cautionary tale regarding the issue of anger, particularly as it concerns men.
Argument: He suggests that if anger is recognized and addressed within the self, it is less likely to be indulged or expressed violently.
Here are the things I wanted to say about the post and the comments:
- Stella is fine. She didn't even get sick from eating hobo shit. She's at her usual level of skittishness, or maybe slightly lower than normal because I'm making sure to give her a lot of reassurance and keep the children away from her except when they are being mellow. Cobra had a nice petting session with her yesterday morning. We've had two fine walks since the recent unpleasantness. She shows no signs of PTSD. Everybody's happy.
- It might have sounded like I don't like my dog. I do. You should see how proud of her I am when she's pulling the kids around in a wagon. A couple commentators suggested that I might want to find a new home for her. I've felt like that a couple times, but it always passes. I'm glad to have her around, and I wouldn't get rid of her unless I thought she was becoming a danger or a liability.
- It may have sounded like it would be really difficult for me to keep from going off on my kids, given my loss of control with the dog. But as Seattle Dad said in the comments, there's a barrier keeping (most of) us from going too far with any anger we feel towards our children. I don't know what all is in the aggregate that makes up that barrier, but I know it's tangible and impenetrable in my case.
- A reader scolded me and quit following this blog because I'm a dog-kicker. That's fine. I'm sorry she left, but some people have hard and fast standards regarding what they will and won't consume or patronize. I respect that, but that's not how I feel about anything except the most egregious crimes against humanity. And Autotune. There are a lot of people I like to talk to, or whose work I like to read or watch or listen to, even though I don't agree with their perspectives or approve of some of their past actions.
- I'm a bit (maybe too much) of a moral relativist. Even though in my world, it's never okay to hit a child or a pet (and I don't excuse myself for the "foot-nudge"), I don't condemn outright everyone who would do either of those things. In other words, I don't always see a bright line between discipline and abuse in the case of other people, although I know where the line is for me. There's a continuum: harsh words-->leash-check-->foot-nudge-->shock collar-->ass-whupping-->etc. And your position on the continuum is based on your conscience and your context. In some contexts, spanking children is totally acceptable. In some contexts, hitting a kid on the head with a shoe is considered okay. I know where I stand philosophically on the continuum (spanking is over the line for me, for instance) , but I'm reluctant to judge others, since none of us have much control over our context. (Of course, society provides some bright lines; i.e., laws, that can be helpful.)
- If you want to have a discussion here about discipline, anger, violence, gender, whatever, that might be cool. Or you could watch these very relaxing videos and think about all the fun you'll have this weekend.