I think I've said it before, but I'll say it again, I'm a cynic, and generally think the worst of people. There are, however, things that, despite my jaded, gallows humor and doubting attitude that some people just don't get, will cause even me to want to lock myself in a room and want to listen to Tool and plaster "Learn to swim...." all over my Facebook page. You could classify such things as two categories or one, however you like, but cruelty to children and cruelty to pets just boggle my mind and make me want to bawl like a little Bieber fan who didn't get into the show. I would say that the broad category is preying on the weakest members of our society, if you want to lump it all together.
A few things have brought this to the forefront of my mind, one being that we are now trying to find a home for our kitten, since I have been outvoted by my husband and dog, he's being a total grouch and, figuratively speaking, dug his own grave in that aspect. But I could never imagine hurting him or abandoning him. And while this is going on, we are trying to find a playmate for our puppy, Leiche. While she is one of the sweetest dogs and has shown herself to be smart, loving and loyal, she also has abandonment issues, due to the circumstances of her earlier life. She was found and adopted after being a stray for some time, and then the couple who took her in dropped her off at the animal shelter in The Colony, supposedly worried that she would be too rough with a new baby on the way. However, given her disposition, it seems more likely that she would bond with any new family member, and be extremely protective of any young in her "pack" that couldn't defend itself. How anyone could give her up, I just don't know. These people might have been respectable and loving, otherwise, but, with so many rescue organizations out there, she could have at least been given to a foster home where she would find a welcoming and dedicated family, rather than having the chance at being euthanized if no one claimed her. We were lucky in that respect, because we just happened to be out looking for a dog that day, and we had known her all of five minutes when we took her in. It was one of the best decisions that my husband and I have ever made.
And I'll move on to my next soapbox promptly. The child abuse angle came to me, not through a girl that was abused, but a child who witnessed domestic violence, and when my husband and I helped her out, asked, "Why are you being so nice to us?" That a little five-year-old would ask why, though we were strangers to her, friends of her mother would show kindness and consideration broke my heart. Children are supposed to be ever-bubbly and naive, thinking that all the world is still a wonder and that people are mostly good, and the realities of life are hard lessons that wait for them in adulthood. But this little girl had already seen the worst, just because of one abuser who refused to see that he had a problem and likewise also refused to acknowledge the humanity of the other person in his relationship. Would the child have been abused later on? Maybe, maybe not, though its likely that I think the abuser would have no qualms with it; thankfully, her mother was strong enough to press charges and get out as fast as she could.
Cruelty to children also causes me to want to bang my head against a wall. While there are certainly kids that are a trial, have issues, problems both medical and otherwise, and there are plenty of times that they try a person's patience, sometimes on purpose, it is an adult's job to guide and show them the appropriate way to handle things. That's not saying that if they misbehave, they shouldn't be disciplined, or that a parent/guardian/caregiver should never get angry, but when an adult feels that their proverbial top is about to blow, it is up to them to make the decision on how the situation will be settled. I'm a proponent of physical discipline, which may sound archaic to some people, but I think it should only be used in the most extreme circumstances, and with very careful discernment. I don't believe that, as a parent, you should hit your kids out of anger and as a regular form of discipline, else it starts to creep dangerously towards abuse and can snowball.
And sometimes, I don't think it's physical abuse that does the most damage, but the psychological component that comes with it, be the abuse to a child or an animal. It's the fact that someone was willing to tell that being with a physical action that they "deserved" to be mistreated and degraded. Whether the abuse is intentional or not, and I do think some people just can't figure out how to parent properly, the result usually remains the same, and the cycle continues. Statistics and experience will show anyone, kids who grow up in homes with abuse tend to continue it into their adult lives, or seek out relationships in which they are mistreated. It is heartbreaking to listen to their stories, and how they actually believe this behavior to be "normal".
My grandfather was haunted by the memories of his own torture at the hands of his father, who would hang the boys in the family up by their thumbs for hours in the shed if they misbehaved, for one example. Needless to say, he ran away at twelve, and struggled with the pain most of his life, leading into alcoholism and other personal demons that he tried his best to contain. While a victim of abuse, he somehow managed to break the cycle and never laid a hand on my mother or my aunt, which left the discipline to my grandmother, a very calm, but no less firm, taskmaster and disciplinarian.
When someone preys on the weak who have no voice or cannot defend themselves, despite all that I've seen in my own experience and at work, my blood never fails to boil. While I don't personally follow the Christian faith, I like the verse of Matthew 25:40, where Jesus says, "Whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." Those of us who have the means and tools to give our voice against abuse should do so, in whatever form we can manage.
And those of us who were lucky enough to be truly loved and treasured by our parents should count our blessings, by God or the gods, and pass that generosity of spirit and love onto all in our own homes. And to me that counts for real children and the furry "children", too.
So I apologize for the preaching, gloomy post, but maybe next week will bring a better one to light.