Direct Answers – Cruel and Unusual


I need help to do something I know I need to do. Scripture is clear: honor your parents and forgive. But I am still so angry after all these years and the Bible tells parents not to provoke their children to anger.

So my mom is not blameless.

Growing up, I thought my single parent mom was the best parent my little sister and I could have asked for. She was nurturing, high energy and always had time. Discipline was rare but fair and consistently applied.

But just short of my 10th birthday, I got spanked for breaking a house rule and not leaving a note when I was down the street watching a movie. Thinking I was missing, mom was in a panic. But I left a note.

Somehow, it ended up in the middle of the garbage. It was found five minutes after I got spanked. No taking my word, no investigative work, no fact finding, no due diligence. Just shoot first and ask questions later.

She was so sorry, apologizing and crying afterwards, but how could I have been so wrong about her? I mean, if a 10-year-old could find the truth in five minutes, what could a 32-year-old have done if she’d been willing to try? The happiness of my childhood ended that day.

Here I was, innocent but with a bright red butt to show for it. This made me feel like I was nothing to my mom and totally worthless. I moved in with my dad a year later, though he was unbearable.

I am a 19-year-old college freshman now. My mom made contact through my sister about us being mother and daughter again. I know it’s probably for the best. By the way, my little sister accidentally threw the note away and blames herself, though I don’t.

But how do I forgive my mother’s incompetence and unfit parenting?

~ Renee

Renee, imagine a child running toward the road with a car coming. Mom gains on the kid and barely gets to her before the car. Guess what? That kid is going to get swatted. And what do you think the swat imparts to the kid? Never, ever, ever do that again. And what is it for the mom? It is the release of terror.

Consider your mother. In your own words she was nurturing, supportive and high energy. But one day she came home and you were not there. She went into a panic. Kidnapping, sexual assault, murder? She was, for good reason, in fear.

She apologized, but at the time, how was she supposed to park her panic and worry? She acted from what she knew. Don’t you allow for someone to make a mistake out of love?

Your sister threw the note away and you don’t blame her, but you hold your mother to an unattainable standard. Do you hold your friends to that standard? One mistake and they are out. The court system makes mistakes . Do we throw out the court system?

Isn’t a nine year sentence enough?

Your mother apologized when the facts caught up with her reality. It’s time for you to do the same and understand this incident as the 19-year-old you are now, not as the 10-year-old you once were.

~ Wayne & Tamara

Column for the week of March 14, 2016

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  1. I, too, was angry at my parents for real and perceived “sins”. 20 years ago I decided that in order to go on with me I had to forgive and put it aside. Well, guess what? My dad felt as bad as I did but it was next to impossible for him to talk to me. That was just the way he was. I found out over time that my mom was a very talented, gifted, loving, supportive person and I enjoyed spending time with her talking and shopping. Dad was very smart, wise, fun, funny, and the most interesting person I have ever met. If I hadn’t forgiven and let it go I would have missed out on 20 years of awesomeness. I had great parents who were human, flawed, far from perfect, yet they were mine and I loved them. I would give anything to have had 30 great years with them. So what if I had to make the first move? God is good, all the time.


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