Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What is appropriate?

It fascinates me that what is innocent and funny to one person, is completely inappropriate and sick to another. It was pointed out to me by a random blog commenter that a joke about a pony being used as target practice is not funny at all and in fact, is "sick". Let me copy the comment here:
Yeah, looks like you're raising a sociopath. A propensity toward animal cruelty is among the most common signs of antisocial personality disorder and other ailments. Yeah. Totally not funny. That's actually really sick.
-Ellen


Ellen, It so happens that my children have indeed used the pony as target practice. Yes, the pony has been shot at with orange foam cylinders from a Nerf gun. Somebody call animal protective services...quick! In fact every person in our family and even the dog has been struck with Nerf pellets, because that is one of the ways we like to have fun around here. What struck me as funny about the answer was that it was not meant to be funny at all, but an honest answer from a boy......a good hearted boy I might add, who happens to love his Nerf gun. AND his animals.

What is also funny to me is that the person who thought it inappropriate for me to joke about my boy's honest and, in my opinion, funny answer to a question about ponies, found it appropriate to call my child "a sociopath with a propensity toward animal cruelty".

Funny.

Anyway, please accept my sincerest apologies if I offended anyone by posting the pony story. I just thought you might like to have a glimpse into a day in the life of a homeschool mom of boys. Knowing my boys well, I personally thought it was cute. Please do not worry. Our animals are safe. Well except for the chickens that were eaten by the dog. Oh and the rabbit that was eaten by the dog as well. Wait, we did have to dispose of the rooster who was attacking our littlest children every time they went to the barn to collect the eggs. But otherwise everyone on the farm is alive and well. And happy.

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

It was funny - I never thought once your little ones were actually trying to "hurt" the pony. Actually, I thought maybe he meant riding the pony while doing target practice or something....and just abbreviated the sentence. Either way, it's FUNNY - not sick at all.

Some people need to remember their manners and if they don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.

Karin

A. Gillispie said...

Good grief! I cannot believe someone left a comment like that! It was just an innocent answer on his school work!

Hmm...I better go gather up all of our nurf guns before someone reports me for teaching my children to be sociopaths!

Anonymous said...

I'm an animal-loving vegan, the kind that often agrees with PETA and the like in principle if not in practice. I thought it was funny, too, mostly because it demonstrated that kids sometimes don't consider how adults might react to the way they say things. I didn't imagine, for even an instant, that you allowed your kids to shoot at a pony, for crying out loud.

Some people need to LIGHTEN UP.

-M.

Robin said...

ugh.
I thought it was hilarious. I hope I don't have sociopathic tenancies!

I wonder if your commenter has ever really followed your blog or knows anything about you and your family.

The Ritzmanns said...

We found the answer quite enjoyable. Thanks for providing us with a nice laugh.

Don't sweat what the commenter had to say.

Matt

Christine said...

Oh brother Charissa. I see Anon has moved on. So sorry-- I thought it was funny and I second what M said.

Qadoshyah said...

I had to laugh reading through your post. That's just crazy that someone would call Simeon a "sociopath". All they have to do is see the pictures of your animals on your blog and knw they are well taken care of.

Anonymous said...

How ridiculous. I get really tired of some people taking perfectly normal boy play and corrupting it.

Amy...who wanted 4. said...

Oh brother!
That must be the same anon. that said we were being cruel to the bunny we found because it escaped the "house" we made it and got hurt.
I often wonder if people like that are pro-life....just sayin'.

Larsen Family said...

As a professional counselor, Simeon or Jude aren't sociopaths. Believe me I have seen some that could possibly be, and they aren't. Good grief. Apparently, we are all a bunch of sociopaths in our house, too. We had a Nerf WAR with the Hortons for fun and took pictures of it all. Guess we should be locked up. lol.

Anonymous said...

I think the person who posted the comment in response to the pony story was sick but then that's my opinion. My little brother and me (I'm a 20 year old female) both used our dog as target and our parents as target practice when we used to have nerf guns.

Sarah said...

I though it was hilarious!! Anyone who has read your blog for any period of time would know how kind hearted your boys are--and aren't out to hurt anything!

JennyH said...

I thought it was funny. I think it shows he was thinking outside the box!

Frikkie said...

I loved his honesty and know that he will never hurt animals on purpose and neither would you guys ever allow it. To me it was about how a boy's brain works and how different boys and girls are. You guys are doing a great job in raising an authentic family. Bad luck for those who can't handle some honesty.

Mama said...

I giggled when I read your other blog post. I figured that he was just being silly but knowing the nerf story makes it funnier to me. We used to "shoot" our cat with a water pistol...is that sick too?? :D

Anonymous said...

SOOO ridiculous of this person to leave this kind of comment. An example of our "over reacting" society that we now live in. Some kid falls and skins his knee on his bicycle....quick hurry let's make it a law, or at least make every parent who doesn't make their children wear knee pads feel like complete out cast's! Geez lighten up Ellen!

Anonymous said...

Oh brother. I just shake my head. Ellen, GET A LIFE!!!

Jan

Mandy said...

What a dork! Of course you had to go and offend the erratic cat lady. Goodness gracious some people need to get a life. Just my 2 cents. BTW I found your post funny :)

Sarah said...

I actually thought that post was hillarious, I read it to my husband. I wonder about these people who leave comments such as this as I've had my fair share on my blog. Seriously, why do they read it in the first place? Something on our blogs must have caught there attention and in a good way to get them to keep spending their precious time reading!

Anonymous said...

I wasnt at all offended, nut I might be a little now....at the crazy person with no grace or compassion!! Wow!! So sorry

Morgan Paige said...

i'm going to respond to that comment the same way i responded to the horse answer:
hahhahahahhahahahahahhahahah

Deb D. said...

As I commented earlier today, looks like someone needed her chill pill!

Sheesh! Clearly she is not familiar with your family. Please don't let her correspondence-school degree in psychology stop you from sharing the joy of your children with us. She doesn't represent those of us who love you and your family!

Charissa said...

Thanks you guys for being sweet!

Gretchen said...

Some people need to go adopt some sweet kids if they have so much time on their hands to post such comments...besides, maybe it will lighten them up a bit!

Beth said...

Oh Bah Humbug to her. I was going to tease you on FB about marking #4 wrong, but not #6 (plural of pony). It's totally something I'd do too! But, I figured that it wouldn't play well on FB.
I sure wish that they'd come up with a "sarcastic" font. It would help a lot!

Zack & Jennifer Dove said...

I thought it was hilarious! Our house is riddled with nerf bullets and everything is a target at one time or another (although the dog is off limits because she's old and cranky!).

Made me think of the book Wild at Heart. Boys need to be allowed to be boys. Simple as that.

You know your children, and you know their intent and their hearts. If there was reason to worry, you wouldn't have posted it. So no need to apologize to one person who doesn't know you!

Jenn

Nana Robin said...

Dear Ellen,
There are medications on the market today............

No.....

Dear Ellen,
um......... Have you considered.
No......

Dear Ellen,
Perhaps you need to see the lighter side of things.
No..........

Dear Ellen,
May God bring you peace today & always.

Sincerely,
A Nerf gun owning, blog reading, God fearing, light hearted,
Nana Robin

Shelly said...

It appears to me that "Ellen" does not know ANY of your children personally! If she did she would know that Simeon is one of the sweetest boys and would never harm anyone or anything. Sounds like Ellen is the one that has some issues and really needs to get it checked out!!! I thought it was hilarious, and WE ALL know harmless!

ellen said...

I stand by my comment. And notably, there was no indication that he was referring to a nerf gun.
But actually, that's really not much better. While we can agree that shooting a pony with a nerf gun isn't abuse, it's definitely not respect. And certainly, that's not a symptom of a sociopath.
But it's still inappropriate and unacceptable -- just hear me out, as many adoptive parents may agree with me on this one.
Let me preface this by saying that I have a PhD in sociology, I've written 7 books on the topic and conducted dozens of studies. I'm also an adoptive parent of special needs children, just like you.
My research (and the research of other sociologists) has revealed that a lack of respect for *all life* is what leads to situations like children suffering and wasting away in orphanages and institutions. There is a direct link between one's respect for animals and the treatment of disabled humans.

Unfortunately, many people view the disabled as less than human. Some even believe that disabled people are "lower" than many animals (i.e. a dog can walk, a disabled child cannot; a chimp is sentient, whereas a child with anencephaly is not, etc.)
This attitude has been exemplified throughout history -- the Nazis performed experimentation on the disabled, including children with DS, CP, etc. If these individuals maintained an attitude of respect toward *all* living beings -- human, non-human, disabled, not disabled -- then the awful conditions in orphanages and institutions would be abolished (among other things!)

If society maintained an attitude of *respect* for all life -- ponies, dogs, cats, chickens, ants, humans -- children with DS and other disabilities wouldn't be left to wither away in orphanages and institutions.

*This* is why I get so upset when I hear of harm or disrespect for animals (would you fire a nerf gun at a disabled child who is unable to explicitly express pleasure/displeasure? Certainly not! It's an act of disrespect in this context.) And in some respects, it's actually *worse* than outright abuse -- abuse is unacceptable and punishable, whereas a lack of respect for living beings is commonplace and acceptable, but no less harmful than abuse. I find it even more disturbing when a child to exhibits this behavior -- especially a child with special needs siblings.

Change begins at home, with our children; until there is respect toward and value placed upon *all* life, these beautiful, special and valuable children will be subject to abuse, neglect and disrespect as they're left to die, unloved and uncared for.

Therefore, I stand by my comment. It's just not acceptable, nor is it funny.
-Ellen

Mandy said...

Wow Ellen, you need to get out of books and start living life. You sit there in judgement but yet I don't see your blog or even your name, if it is real. Who are you to judge this child and compare him to the likes of Nazi's? I pray you stop bringing down this innocent child and a mother who is open, honest and one that I am learning so much from.

Amy...who wanted 4. said...

Oh brother!
Lighten up Ellen.

Jo's Corner said...

Dear Ellen ~ I'm not gonna be mean or judgemental of you. Having said that, when my 8 year old cousin buried 3 VERY ALIVE kittens in the ground, THAT was Sociopathic Behavior! And, it left emotional scars on mine and my sisters little souls. We DID rescue the kittens, by the way!!

When a little boy playfully aims at an animal with soft, foam toys, it is a Game. No harm done.

As far as your statement, "Unfortunately, many people view the disabled as less than human. Some even believe that disabled people are "lower" than many animals (i.e. a dog can walk, a disabled child cannot; a chimp is sentient, whereas a child with anencephaly is not, etc.)"

WELL, I have only one foot and I use a wheelchair, but I am NOT disabled. Heck, I can do everything but walk! I just do things differently now. And, I don't believe that the majority of folks see me as being "less human". Sadly, that WAS the case a long time ago and even to some degree in places/people who are not educated.

So, I'm thinking that people can have strange beliefs about those who are "different" when they are Over-Educated OR Under-Educated. Let's NOT put everyone in the same box. Let children PLAY and make a Mental Health diagnosis on those who really DO have serious problems.

Jo

Anonymous said...

Someone who offers such harsh judgements and strong opinions yet there is absolutely no transparency (her blog is locked!) I would strongly question every statement she made about herself. Yes researchers have linked torturing animals to sociopaths.. However please understand that every statement Ellen mentioned are her own very biased opinions. People just amaze me. You and your family are a inspiration to so many. Keep up the good work being such a great Momma! And please let your boys continue to be boys.. I sure loving reading about them!

Charissa said...

I really, really appreciate those who came to my defense today. Ellen I want you to know that if you knew us even just a little bit you would know that we would never intentionally harm any animal or person. If you knew us at all you would know we strive to teach our children compassion towards the elderly and the disabled. And yes even animals. We just took in a new cat yesterday in fact because she had gotten into a bad habit of urinating on her owners' furniture, and we thought she might fit in here on the Urban farm rather than having to be put to sleep. I am a little surprised, considering your impressive qualifications as an author and sociologist (PhD...wow!), that you would say something as crass as telling me I am raising a sociopath. Your comment would have been more welcome had you nicely stated your concerns and asked if we had any concerns about any of our children having a propensity toward animal cruelty. Perhaps you could have offered some advice as to what signs we should watch for, or given us some resources to help our child who you assumed, based on his answer to a question, might possibly have sociopathic tendencies. The truth is we are open to constructive criticism in the way we parent. We have asked our parents and our grandparents whom we love and respect for advice as we feel they did a good job and we can learn from them. I admit I am not a sociologist and I certainly don't have a doctorate. But I do know my sons. And they are some of the most loving and caring children I have met. Training them to be compassionate is a priority to us, which is one of the reasons we chose to adopt special needs children. I do appreciate you taking your valuable time to educate us. And we will certainly be mindful of your insight in the future.
Charissa

Anonymous said...

Ponies are tough. They are used for nice families with special needs,and abuse is NOT writing on a piece of paper "target practice" to be funny!!!

Anonymous said...

I think Ellen might have a few marbles missing...if you know what I mean.

Deb D. said...

Ellen - I feel convicted to apologize to you for my comment about the correspondence-school degree in psychology. It has bothered me (before I even saw your longer email) simply because I know I wrote that in a mean-spirited way. That was un-Christlike of me, and I am sorry. Sincerely,

KC said...

Ellen,

With all your fancy schooling, you just don't get it! Before you judge, go walk a day in the Urban's shoes. Go spend some time with some of the most amazing, loving, and incredible followers of Christ you will ever meet. I can promise you, I've been around a lot of different people in life. and they just don't make a mold for people like the Urbans. You don't learn about people like them in your degee programs because there are few like them. They love their family, their friends, and those that really aren't that lovable. I can promise you, even though you make very uncalled for remarks about their kids, they would still welcome you into their home with kindness.

Get off of your highly educated soapbox and get into the real world. Meeting some people like the Urban will make you a better person, something a title cannot.

bonnie said...

Ellen, I've always heard there is a fine line between a genius and an idiot, I was wondering which side of this line do you stand on. If for one moment you think this God fearing, loving family has a sociopath in their family,then I know which side of the line you are standing on. You might write another book about love, caring, kindness, compassion for your fellow humans, and oh yea minding you own business, and not condeming a family you don't know, and might I recommend if this is offensive to you, stay out of their blog. May God bless you.