Punch-You-Out Opinions

Have you ever felt trapped, paralyzed, and unable to move? I have!

He had me up against a wall, his hand around my throat, his fist pulled back, aiming at my face. He was ready to punch me out! I had offended him. He was always cracking degrading sexual jokes and repeatedly berating his girlfriend.

I was a teenager and wasn’t afraid to stand up for what I believed in. I had just given him a taste of his own medicine, and he lost his cool.

I thought my life was over, as he stood glaring at me, his nostrils flaring. I had just told him what I thought of the way he treated his girlfriend. I shut my big trap when he grabbed my neck… and I went silent. His tactics worked, and I backed down. He had learned to use anger to get what he wanted. In the end, he decided not to punch me and let go of my jugular.

He loved the freedom to say whatever he wanted but certainly didn’t like to give the same courtesy to anyone else.

My friend Kyna was the opposite; She was sugar and spice and everything nice. She didn’t have a mean bone in her whole body.  We became best friends when I was in grade seven. She was the quiet stream, and I was the babbling brook.

We were on the school playground one day, walking around during recess and enjoying the fresh air. The two of us came upon a circle of kids who were yelling… a fight had broken out. We peered in and saw that the school bully was on top of one of the special needs kids, pounding the life out of him. We were standing behind the bully when all of a sudden, a winter boot came out and kicked the bully in the rear-end… really hard.

Kyna took off like a flash! I realized to my mortification that I was the only one standing there behind the bully, and when he turned around, he was going to think it was me and my thirteen years of life would be snuffed out. I took off too, running for my life right behind Kyna! We darted behind one of the school portables. We stood there scared out of our minds, our hearts pounding.

“What did you do that for?” I asked her

“He was beating him up!” she said.

“Ya, but you could have got us killed!” I said exasperatedly.

She looked at me, and we started laughing.

I had a new admiration for Kyna, she had defended the helpless and taken a huge risk! I had been a coward and just stood by watching.

Kyna and I were seen as the ‘Christian’ girls who didn’t drink, smoke or swear. You know…boring. There weren’t any boys lined up to date us. One of our classmates took to taunting us on the playground about being Christians. He would hold up his two hands and form a cross and hiss at us like he was trying to ward off a demon. It was humiliating every time!

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Me 15 and Kyna 14

I got tired of the constant shaming and decided I would take up swearing to fit in. I felt like Fonzie, from the Happy Days show, kind of cool. I swore for a few months and became an expert at sounding like a sailor.

Then one day my mother mentioned she had heard I had taken up cursing at school. Well, that was the end of my swearing career. All the fun was gone, and I was back to being taunted by the hissing boy.

Do you ever wish you had the freedom to express your views and opinions respectfully, without being put down and criticized? Without being yelled at, punched out, or humiliated?

When we decided to educate our children at home, you would have thought we had said we were going to build a commune in the middle of Alaska, and lock our kids inside. I learned how people can express their opinions in disrespectful and degrading ways. We were constantly criticized. We were going against the norm, and people felt threatened.

I felt paralyzed with fear at times wondering if we had made the right decision? Were our kids going to be traumatized by our new plans? Were we going to ruin them for life? I had nightmares of them surfing at the beach, living in a shack, not working or being responsible, you know… the hippie life.

For some reason, people didn’t always give me the freedom to express my own ideas back without slamming their protests down my throat for the second time. I felt like they had me up against the wall, their hand wrapped around my neck, ready to punch me out with their opinion.

This was my rights as a parent; to be able to decide what I thought was best for my children. Am I telling you to educate your kids at home? Absolutely not! It’s just another option available to you if you need it. It’s freedom to choose; public school, private school, Christian school, French school, Jewish school…. or homeschool.

I thought everyone thought I was a quack- the crazy homeschooling mother! 

There were times when I did look like a frazzled mother, with my five kids being dragged all over town every time I needed to go to the grocery store or doctor appointment. People would quiz the kids to see if I was educating them properly:

Do you know your ABC’s? 

Can you count to 10,000?

How do you spell hypochondriac?

Who’s the Prime Minister of Canada? {Sometimes to my embarrassment even I had to rack my brain for that answer.)

There were times I was humbled by my own mothering skills or lack thereof.

One day I had an appointment with the natural-path, all the kids had piled into the room with me. When I sat up on the examining table and looked down at my little clan, I noticed Aryanna who was three, had two different rubber boots on, and they were both for the same foot. Then she took them off and had two different socks on, and a shirt that didn’t cover her little belly. I don’t even know if anyone had brushed their hair. We had left home in a hurry, and I hadn’t noticed their fashion disasters of the day. We may have looked like- that homeschooling family.

During those early years, someone knocked on my door one day and asked me if I ran a daycare. They had seen my pack of kids running around in the front yard, plus I think Courtney and Meagan, the little girls from next door, were running with the hooligans too. I’m sure our neighbors loved afternoon recess when the noise level went up ten decibels in the neighborhood.

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Devyn, Eythan, Charity, Aryanna, and Kyle. Kyle went to public school for special education due to autism.

A few years later… psychologists assessed two of our children. They had extensive testing done. We knew they had learning difficulties and needed an assessment for both. The psychologists were floored by their reading and math skills compared to their test results.

Both psychologists said the same thing, “If they hadn’t had so much one-on-one when learning, they wouldn’t be this far in their schooling.”

Eventually, our children years later, were diagnosed with vision problems and had vision therapy in Traverse City, Michigan. We made the long three-hour drive there and back, twice a week, for six months, at the Excel Institute. Then we had to repeat it over again.

Our daughter Aryanna, who had been diagnosed as delayed and slow by the psychologists, eventually graduated college with honors. Some of her college classmates were calling her, the smart one. There was nothing slow about her. Her eyes were malfunctioning and were causing her at the time, to take in information differently than most children.

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Aryanna’s graduation. Holding her degree for Occupational and Physical Therapy Assistant.

Devyn, who is twenty-four, went through vision therapy twice and made leaps and bounds in school and athletics. He is now a very responsible, athletic, tenderhearted young man, who works in a daycare. Devyn has brought us great joy as we watched him grow into a fine young man who overcame many obstacles with hard work. He also has a soft spot for his older brother Kyle, who has autism. All the education in the world can’t produce a heart like Devyns.

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Devyn age twenty-four

God knew exactly what our kids needed for that space in time. If they hadn’t had learning difficulties, maybe he would have asked me to enroll them in public school, I don’t know. Eventually, all the kids went to high school, and onto college or University, no one was traumatized or ruined for life.

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Charity and our bonus-son Dan. She is a nutritionist and owns www.eatreal4life.com. Dan is operations manager for our maple syrup business, Superior Maple Products.

 

 

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Eythan and Jazmin newly weds in Arizona for Jazmin’s cancer treatment. Hoping to go to university to become teachers.

Will our children homeschool their kids? I have no clue. I certainly hope they don’t educate their kids at home just because I did. This choice cannot be pushed on others.

Is there a decision you need to make, but someone has you by the throat right now pressuring you to do the opposite of what you think you should do? Maybe it’s time to take a knee and ask God to give you precise direction in this area so you can have some peace about your dreams, hopes, desires, and decisions.

Maybe you’re the opposite, the person who is always trying to squeeze everyone into your little box of ideas. Let it go, and offer your friends or family the right and freedom to make choices that are best for themselves, or their own families, not what was best for yours.

Some people view God’s plan like a narrow, tight rope, strung between two mountains, where all of the humanity is supposed to carefully and fearfully walk on together, one after the other. Other’s believe God is the giver of freedom and created a massive valley between those two mountains, where there is lots of room to move and grow and make it to the mountain on the other side. I’d like to believe he is the former.

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Let’s encourage each other to follow God’s leading instead of men. He offers freedom and guidance. His ways are always best!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:11-12. NIV

Believing and hoping

Cindy Seaton

 

Author: cindyseaton69

I am the author of Beauty From Ashes: A Mother's Journey from Bitterness to Hope.