Friday, November 22, 2013

Rants and Raves - Do Books Kill?

Sometimes I just have to get things off my chest, and today is one of those days.  I've listened to the gun debate for over a year.  The pros and cons for severe gun control.  And once again, my answer is - "you can't cure stupid."  It is a misconception that criminals are stupid.  Many criminals border on brilliant.  There is simply no way to control crime and/or murders by taking away guns.  That leaves knives, hammers, baseball bats, crowbars, poison, ice picks, bombs, and the list goes on endlessly.

We'd like to believe as a society that evil doesn't exist and there are no evil people.  We spend thousands if not millions of dollars yearly on psychological studies of "what makes this killer tick" and "why did little Johnny go off"?  Sometimes it's an overload of nothing more than life.  Sometimes it's something inherent in the person that nothing can change.  There were signs.  Early warnings that were ignored because psychology says we're doing it all wrong.  Children have labels -- ADD, OD, CB, ODD, and the list is endless.  We medicate them with anti-psychotics that create both mental and physical problems.  Have you ever looked at those labels?  Each has a warning that the child cannot stop taking the medication without severe side effects.  Hum...that should give you food for thought.

But back to my original question--Do Books Kill?

In May of this year a child was found dead, naked and emaciated.  She died from hypothermia and malnutrition.  Officials determined she had been beaten with a plastic tube the day of death.  For more on this disturbing issue check out the article at:  Examiner

In the above article the author shares links to several other deaths attributed to a book "How To Train Up a Child" by Michael and Debi Pearl.

I took the opportunity to look this book up on Amazon.  It has 3,900+ reviews.  2,582 which are 1 star slamming the book.  It's #5 in Christian Books and Bibles and #5 in Christian Living.  WTH???????  As a Christian I am appalled that a book that perpetuates child abuse in the form of: beating a child with plastic tubing; training children with pain before they disobey, putting children outside in cold weather and withholding food, hosing children with cold water to potty train them or inflicting punishment upon a child until they pass out or cannot breath to complain could reach #5 in any Christian category.

As I said, as a Christian I am appalled, but I'm not surprised.  The book found a niche in society.  A group that believes many of the old time beliefs that children should be totally obedient.  Children should be seen and not heard, and only seen when YOU want them to be seen.  At the point in time when those beliefs were upheld children were not objects of choice, but objects of need.  Many parents had children, not because they wanted a child, but because they needed that child to work the farm or do the chores.

What this niche in society doesn't take into account is the changes in society.  When the old time beliefs were instituted families survived by working together, playing together and taking care of each of other.  Interaction with society was limited.  Interaction to other belief structures was limited.  Options for any other lifestyle than the one you lived weren't available.  Times have changed.  The world has changed, and children have changed.  Was it a good change?  Not always, but we have to recognize those changes and we have to find ways to deal with them and beating or starving a child to death is not the answer.  Adopting children or having children because it's "the thing to do" or "mommy and daddy want a grandchild" is not acceptable.

Having a child should be the most thought about, life changing decision any human being makes.  They aren't like puppies that you can feed twice a day, turn out in the back yard to do their business and lock up in cages when you want to get away.  You shouldn't treat a dog that way, but treating a child that way is and should be criminal.  There is simply too much education on birth control and free birth control out there and no one should ever have a child except for one reason--you want to love it, help it grow up and become a healthy, happy, functioning member of society.  100 years ago perhaps you could do that by beating, starving or tossing out into the cold.  Perhaps children were tougher then, physically and mentally.  Just as society has changed, the physical and mental makeup of children have changed.  They're not as tough now.  They break both physically and mentally.  We see prime examples of that every day in the news.

So Do Books Kill?  The simple answer is no, but the real answer is much more complex.  Books don't kill, just as guns don't kill.  People kill.  The question we have to find the answer to is why?  A part of that answer is that we live in a world of extreme fast pace.  We are more frustrated trying to take it all in.  We have more stress in trying to find simple ways to do it all in only a 24 hour day.  We need answers to deal with overwhelming issues that face us every day.  And we want a product that works.  Especially when we've tried everything and nothing has changed.  We want that instant gratification.  The "havitall" pill that takes away our pain, depression, worry and makes us happy.  And worst of all--we don't want to look in the mirror.  We don't want to search our own souls.  We want someone to tell us what to do to make it all go away.  Most intelligent people that might find this book in their hands would read a little and say "these people are nuts"; but there are and always will be those who want someone to tell them what to do, and how to make it all go away.  They'll read this book, try some of the examples, and perhaps for some it might work.  There will be others, like the examples above who believe in the book, just like Jim Jones' followers believed in him.  When the processes set forth therein aren't working, it isn't because the book is wrong and the examples therein won't work for their child, they believe it's because they aren't doing it right.  So they hit harder.  They starve longer.  And eventually another child dies.

The opinions above are my own, but they're not totally biased as I have a counseling degree, but even more important I have a 6 year old child who is being monitored for Oppositional Defiance Disorder.  If you're not familiar with that disorder it describes an angry, defiant child that no amount of reasoning, love, structure or discipline has an effect on.  I've read all the literature, studied all the methods of working with him, and tried almost everything.  We're in counseling.  We have days and sometimes weeks of the sweetest child in the world.  We have days and sometimes weeks of an angry, defiant, destructive ball of energy that can scream for hours on end because he doesn't want to do his homework.  There are times I'm tired, discouraged and I take a lot of long walks.  I keep looking for a solution, but never in my wildest dreams would I consider beating him, starving him or tossing him out in the cold.  Not because I may not be angry at times, or frustrated enough to do that, but because I'm intelligent enough to know that that would not solve the problem.  He might for a while on the surface appear better, act better, but the problem, whatever it is that lies underneath would still be there and someday it would burst forth and I would be looking at the next school shooting or worse.  I will never give up until I find a way to reach the problem and find a real solution, not a mask to cover the issue.  And I will keep loving him, providing structure and discipline and working with him until I do.

The bottom line is books don't kill, but they can provide information that if taken to the extreme can push an already frustrated and "at the end of the their rope" person over the edge.

We have get back to basics in some ways, yes, but we also have to understand there is no "havitall" pill.  And there is no shame in asking for help if you're having a problem or have a problem child.  There is no shame in accepting your child for who and what he/she is or who and what they want to be when they grow up.  Perhaps our grandson will never be the next Einstein.  He may never be an astronaut and make space discoveries.  He's not going to get that basketball, football or baseball million dollar contract. He may not be an Olympic swimmer (although that may be possible as he loves to swim).   I'm okay with that.  All I truly want for him is to be happy, healthy and a functioning member of society that grows up to respect himself and others.   If I accomplish that then I will have my havitall pill.


  1. Good points. Don't forget the people who want to do bad things and if they read about such things in a book they consider the book to be telling them it's okay to do bad things -- validation of their warped morals (or whatever you would like to call it).

    1. I so agree, Middlekens. I just wish Christians understood that every time they buy this book it goes up in the ranks making it more noticeable and more people think it's a good book for Christians.