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Archive for May 27th, 2006

Solution: Empower the Kids

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on May 27, 2006

“Until we dig our heads out of the sand and say “ENOUGH!!!” and start talking and taking back the power from the abusers, nothing will be accomplished, except for a lot more hand wringing, and a lot more potential from the young people (children) lost forever.” From Shari’s Blog

Oy! Yes! I agree. “Taking back the power from the abusers.” Yes, that’s it. That’s what we need to do! Question is how do we do that? EDUCATION. EMPOWERMENT through education. Teaching our children that abuse is not the normal way of relating to others, so when adults use violence, any kind of violence, they are WRONG. Teach children to be DISRESPECTFUL of adults in a helathy way. I and my wife love children who are sassy and question our actions and our values. It’s a sign of mental health – it shows that they do not fear. It is good and healthy to question authorities – it keeps the authorities honest.

Creating legislation that allows children to leave abusive parents the first time a parent hurts them – and it shouldn’t be just physical violence. A parent that speaks disrespectfully of and to their child will sooner or later reach the point where they use physical violence.

Create legislation that empowers other adults to take action. Make it profitable to step up and defend kids who are being verbally abused in public. Make it illegal as in “you go to jail for aiding and abetting” if you fail to step in and defend children that are being abused in any form, manner or way.

We also need to educate the general public about what children actually are.

1. Children are not property – this is the most prevalent misconception about being a parent. That as a parent you own your child. This is WRONG! Children are PEOPLE, just like any adult – the only difference between children and adults is EXPERIENCE. To look at other people like property, is just what the 18th and 19th centuries slave owners did.

2. Children are born good, perfect and healthy – unfortunately for kids, Xian teachings about Original Sin have resulted in kids being beaten, punished, hurt and killed from the day they were born as being ‘bad’ and ‘sinful’ simply because they are kids and human. Children will do anything to please, because they are dependent on the adult to care for them, and they CRAVE love and acceptance. I.e positive re-enforcement works like clockwork, because the love and acceptance the child recieves for following directions given is EXACTLY what he/she needs.

3. Parents are not beyond reproach – i.e parents do have to EARN their children’s respect and they are not entitled in any way to special privileges just because they are Parents. For an article on the matter of “Honoring one’s Parents” from a Biblical perspective read my other blog.

4. You learn all your values, ethics and basic life skills before the age of 5 – after that all you do is practice and perfect them. If we as adults have not taught our children functional life skills and values (through being examples, non-abusive guidance and positive re-enforcement) before they are 5, it really is no idea trying later, because it will simply be a waste of time. And it will be abusive, because we will be attempting to break something that has become ingrained in their nature. It is possible to divert negative life skills and so on, but it is no longer possible to un-learn what has been learned before the age of 5.

5. Children have the same rights as adults – children are included in the UDHR – they do also have a Charter of their own, which every adult should know by heart and do their damnnedest to make sure they fullfill in relation to ALL children.

Khalil Gibran said: “Children don’t come of you – they come through you.”



Posted in Parenting | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

First and Second Hand Assortment of Parents

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on May 27, 2006

“While I have proposed some sort of testing program to help not necessarily weed out the prospective parents who are found to be a high risk to abuse their children, but to find a solution before they and their children or spouse become another statistic, both Holly and ShadowBear have opposed that.” From Shari’s Blog

I honestly think that Mandatory Parenting School – including psych evaluations, does solve the problem, especially if those psych evaluations are being followed by f.i mandatory enrollment in Treatment of and Recovery from the effect of having been raised in abusive families themselves, when such is detected. And it would do so without raising the issues of ethics and “where do we draw the line” in terms of what can and cannot be tested, without us playing G-d. The right to have children (which is not a Human Right – not even a Civil Right) doesn’t come with the genitalia – exactly because children are not ‘things’, but living beings.

Raising awareness, presenting a way out and offering people a solution as to what they can do to earn the right to have children and DEMANDING that they do that, before having children is reasonable and in my mind a lot more productive and constructive than genetic tests to detect potential child abusers. By targeting ALL prospective Parents, and making it something ALL people have to do in order to become Parents, we don’t make the mistake of dividing people into classes – First and Second Hand Assorment of Parents. And we would raise the parenting skills level for ALL.

It really is no difference between this and what is already being done in regards to couples seeking artificial insemination or who want to adopt a child – the difference is that with genetic screening, you end up with no way out – “You are genetically unfit to be a parent.” And that might not be the case at all, it might simply be that there is a predisposition or a possibility that with the correct intervention can be ‘corrected’.

One of my favorite bloggers raised an interesting question in one of his blog entries about a week ago – “If you could go back in time and meet Hitler before WWII, and kill him – would you?” He then went on and told a story about one such Brittish soldier, who during the WWI actually had the chance, but chose, out of mercy not to kill a German soldier (who happened to be A.Hitler).

Would I? No. I would not. The end doesn’t justify the means. Murdering someone or depriving them of their Free Will can never be right, no matter what the motives are. That is to reduce them to something less than a Human Being.


Posted in Child abuse | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

The Letter of the Law vs. the Spirit of the Law…

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on May 27, 2006

Yesterday I recieved an email containing a link to an article that described appaling working conditions in a OU (Orthodox Union) run meat plant in Iowa. It had been posted to a Reconstructionist Torah study list, with intention spark discussion about what can and cannot be considered Kosher.The Question was: “Can we consider this food kosher? Is it fit to be served in our homes and synagogues?”

My answer is “No”.

It might be that the letter of the laws of Kashrut are being observed in terms of how the animals are being slaughtered and the meat treated after the animal has been killed, but in my mind there is more to Kashrut than just impeccably performed rituals. The Spirit of the Law must be observed as well or the letter of the Law is being violated. In fact the Letter of the Law has become quite useless if the Spirit is not there.

Written Torah (and in my book, written Torah does take precedence over Oral Torah/Talmud) teaches us that we are to treat all alike. That there is no difference between the Jew and the Gentile in terms of what is applicable.

“Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for the home-born; for I am the LORD your God.”(Vayikra/Leviticus 24:22)

“The stranger that sojourneth with you shall be unto you as the home-born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God” (Vayikra/Leviticus 19:34)

“And a stranger shalt thou not wrong, neither shalt thou oppress him; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Shemot/Exodus 22:21)

Now, one could argue that those Gentile workers are not ‘sojourning’ or ‘living with’ the People, but they do work within what would be considered Jewish territory, if they are working for Jews. So if we have one Law, it applies to all within Jewish Territory – at least.

One could also argue that since Israel is in Exile, the Gentiles are sojourning among us, as we among them, and therefore we should treat them exactly as we treat other Jews.

Then there is the matter of Chilul Hashem – Shaming G-d, i.e the opposite to Sanctifying G-d.

The Rambam (1135-1204) in his Sefer HaMitzvos (Negative Commandment #63) defines three components of the commandment regarding Sanctification and Desecration of G-d’s Name: “And you shall not profane my Holy Name” [Vayikra 22:32]. This sin is divided into three component parts. (1) Anyone who is forced to violate one of the commandments for which the requirement is ‘Be killed, rather than transgress’; (2) A person commits a sin for which they have no sensual passion and derive no benefit, but their intent is only to be (spiritually) rebellious and to throw off the Yoke of Heaven; (3) A person with a reputation for piety does an action which appears in the eyes of the masses to be a sin. Even if the act is intrinsically permitted, if such a person does this act – it could be a Desecration of G-d’s Name (Chilul HaShem).”

The way I see it point number three would apply here – The OU certification of the plant vouches for the piety of it. And it might be that, as I said in the beginning, that the letter of the Law is being observed, but this still throws a big shadow on not only this plant, the OU, but Judaism and therefore on G-d.

How can we claim to be a Holy Nation and a Nation Priests, a Light to the Nations, if we treat non-Jews as lesser beings? Whatever it is, it’s not Torah, in my mind.


Posted in Torah | 4 Comments »

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