Saturday, March 15, 2008

Filling Squares, Training [NOT] and Child Abuse

You can swim all day
In the Sea of Knowledge
And still come out completely dry.
Most people do.

Can't help wondering... what you're wondering about?

I wonder what happends to the ones supposed to benefit, when people drinking from the Sea of Knowledge, seeming afraid to even wet their lips, take no more than a quick sip, then claim that as the source for anything they spout forever afterwards.

That leads me to discuss an issue of great importance to me in any discussion of child abuse. Today I'm wondering about, education at all levels, in all fields, among all people…in relation to child abuse, of course.

I come here to post after first responding to a comment left by Geoff Brown on Scare Crow Child, "Child Abuse and Neglect: A Weak Spot in Teacher Ed..." about a "new online role-playing course titled, "How [Not] to Talk To a Possible Child Abuse Victim," that lets teachers rehearse an interactive conversation with a possible child abuse victim, getting feedback after each choice...if request is clicked on...and, for a price, recieve certification for the training.

I believe when Bryan Short said "Evil is the incapacity that is forced on one by his lack of training," that he was speaking a truth with a capital T. No doubt others may have said as much, or even used the same words, but I heard them from him in a lecture/class at NAU in 1997. I was so struck by the words, and the discussion that followed, that I kept them as something of a basic philosophy.

Those words clarify for me much that seems senseless on the surface. Most of us agree, (even if we disagree about whom to attribute the words in a quote) that there is a truth in saying those who do nothing in the presence of evil, are in themselves contributing to evil. And yet, while claiming something must be done, too often we do nothing. Then like the early Christian, Paul, while we berate ourselves for failing to do what we would, or not do what we would not, we seek an excuse for our behavior.

The Devil, Twinkies, Mom, Dad, Child Abuse, (or you fill in the blank)… made me do it, defense continues to thrive.
So one might expect me to think education about child abuse provided anywhere, in any way, for any reason must be a good thing. Not so. Avoiding any discussion of pros and cons on online education, I have trouble recommending this, or any other course like it, based on the following three reasons.

First, I agree with Plato via Socrates on writing and believe it is as true for on-line courses:

"this will provide forgetfulness in the souls of those who have learned it ... . You have found a drug not for memory but for reminding. You are supplying the opinion of wisdom to students, not truth. For you'll see that, having become hearers of much without teaching, they will seem to be sensible judges in much, while being for the most part senseless, and hard to be with, since they've become wise in their own opinions instead of wise"
Plato as Distance Educator Pioneer

Second, again per Plato:

"For writing certainly has this terrible power, Phaedrus, as if truly like the painting of living animals. For the offspring of that stand forth like living animals, but if someone were to question them, they maintain a solemn silence.
(Plato, 275d) Plato. Phaedrus.

And third, in my experience, almost all forms of "training" taken to fill a square, to satisfy some requirement to indicate training happened, rather than with the intended purpose of learning, accomplish nothing positive. Examples include:

1. Real Estate Ethics Training I attended in CA where instructor arrived one hour late, asked if we wanted to get out early, quickly went over answers to test, then left us alone in room to pracitce our own ethics...or get back to making money in a hurry.

2. Military on-line training where cheat sheets circulate for those who don't know how to take the test without actually doing the "training."

3. On C-SPAN Congressional Hearing last week, an owner of meat packing plant waved signed sheets as "proof" that employees had received training, so employees who said otherwise must be lying...

4. Beginning employment at a Day Care Center, I was pointed towards three manuals on child safety, welfare, etc. that had to be read...asked to sign a paper that I had done so and rushed into work.

5. Going to the drugstore for meds now, asked to sign a statement that declares I have been counseled by the druggist...

You get the picture from just a few pieces? And I have no doubt that you can add more of your own! Anectdotal "evidence" doesn't count? Depends on the circumstances, doesn't it?

However, as you know, "Child Person From the South" is filled with links, quotes, stuff involving the written word on-line and off, so am I saying don't use any of them? No. Not at all! In fact I hope you use any sources of information on child abuse that you find here or elsewhere, that seem so "good" to you that you will put forth the effort to learn, process, make the knowledge behind them yours, and use the wisdom gained in some attempt to protect a child from abuse.

Should the day arrive when there are Answers with a capital A, as in Truth with a Capital T, that is the day when I will erase all other attempts at finding answers and provide that Answer to you. Until then, I continue to provide a variety of sources such that you may find something that you may find useful in your search for Wisdom. But while you do, please remember as Heather L. Reid says:

"It is the admission of ignorance in ourselves, and the recognition of ignorance in others that gives us the courage, freedom, and duty to inquire after truth."

And, I hope, in doing so bring us closer to that day when Bryan Short's words, "Evil is the incapacity that is forced on one by his lack of training," become a Truth that means Evil no longer finds an opening through the abuse of children.

So, in the meantime, a few more links for you:

How [Not] To Talk To A Possible Child Abuse Victim (On-line Course)

Unto the Third Generation: A Call to End Child Abuse in the United States within 120 Years (More in depth perspective and reasons for real training)

Interviewing Child Witnesses: Questioning Techniques and the Role of Training

ICAN Child Abuse and Neglect Protocol (Includes Video)

Inter -agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect (ICAN) Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect

Putting Kid First: Court Approved Online Parenting Course ($60)

Family Matters: Court Approved Online Parenting Classes (Various Fees)

Free Online Parenting Class ($20 Optional Certification)

The Educational Value of Plato's Early Socratic Dialogues

Teaching and Learning: Making the Written Word "Speak": Reflections on the Teaching of Correspondence Courses

Links to Plato's Works on the Web

Plato and His Dialogues

Plato as Distance Educator Pioneer

Rom. 7:15-16: "...for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I...." Rom. 7:19-20, "For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me."

A Child is Waiting,
Take aware,
Nancy Lee


stanislaus said...

Yet another picture or symptom of child abuse. 10 letters that change a life for ever - a sentence to be carried for the next 80+ years.
Being brought up in a family of 4 - 2 children, with an depressive abusive father and a consenting / enacting mother, my handicapped, yet ever protected brother my foster brother for a year got to feel all my wrath, anger and pain. Being invaded upon by him, no choice of his, but of my parents, who "rented" him as playmate for my brother, I bestowed him with various expression of my powerless situation. I remember trying to envoke in him the sort of feeling that I expirenced during my ritualistic abuse - I needed to see fear and pain - feelings that I could not have or show openly and as such did not have. I don;t know if I make myself understood, but it is like "turning off" feeling, yet we do. And we get confused about all. So we fear bite and attack, prey on the weaker, the different in order to release pain.
I can only imagine that sibling abuse is really possible in a home situation where the family dynamics are not functioning. If you want the rank hierachy doesn't work as a parent - A person - should over rule the sibling - C or D person in rank. What I want to say is that the vicims' fear overpowered trust and line of conversation. The establishment and foundation of fear in the victim is the first step, but for this the victim / abuser realtionship must have already started at some lower level. Once the fear relationship is established the abuser is "free" to go ahead. Fear of being found out plays also a vital role. It could be seen as yet another cry for help, comunicating to the abusive parent in their own language.
Children learn from their parents. THis is the locomotion behind child abuse. Children learn how to resolve problems and conflicts, how to comunicate and express themselves from their parents - consequently, would it be not logical that some form of siblings abuse in these situations would be possible? Children experiment real life situations in play and play acting, only sometimes play turns to reality.
Stress syndrome is yet another factor.
And last but not least - Children always try to please their parent - so they try to imitate them, become like them and even be better then them in order to be loved. Loved no matter what!
And isn't this exactly the pain that we carry with us all our lives?

Child Person said...

Puttycat, thank you so much for sharing this. Those of us who experience abuse such as you have, and in turn out of our own pain then abuse others, so rarely have a chance to speak out. I'm glad that you did.

People don't want to know this truth. They seem to prefer to put things in little separate boxes. Keep things simple...make them black and white. This one is the abused. I can feel sorry for her. That one is the abuser. I can feel anger at him. Maybe that's easier for them? Easier than facing the truth that we act neither all good nor all bad, but behave with a mixture of both because we have experienced both?

Your questions are all so thought provoking and need to be asked. The conversation needs to happen.
I think you do a wonderful job of presenting this picture in words, Puttycat. The numbing of the pain inflicted on us becomes so necessary just to survive. And the justifiable rage that builds in us will come out somewhere on some other innocent.

Although we always know on some level that acting out and hurting others is never justifiable, as we thrash about in our own pain we certainly do cause a lot of pain for others.

I beleieve if we reached out and helped more of the children suffering while they are young we might relieve at least some of their pain, so that although still changed from what ever their lives might have been, they can go forward with less pain, and not continue the cycle.

Only our truth can ever set us free and in the process help to free others. I compliment you for telling some of your story here so that others can learn from it. And I hope that helps you some, too. Thank you!
Wishing you freedom,