Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dear Alana- 12- Written by Louis Vancisic

Dearest Alana,

I read your letter about your wanting to play on the girl’s soccer team at your school. Poor Alana. I feel so much for you. I’ve lived all my life with strict rules and from time to time I reach my limit also. It’s really hard to be a good girl all the time especially when being a good girl means having to obey unreasonable rules. It wouldn’t be so bad if everyone else had those rules but when you’re Mom is so much stricter, your friends just don’t understand. So many times I’ve had to say ‘I can’t go’ to my friends that now they don’t ask so much anymore. So sometimes I say yes and if I get caught, just take the consequences.

You asked if I talked to my Mom about my feelings on having her slap my face as punishment. Thanks to your encouragement, I did speak with Mom. As always, she listened but this time she said I raised good points. She also said she didn’t realize how differently I viewed it from a traditional spanking and while she wouldn’t promise never to do it again, she said she would certainly do it less frequently. When I said, “you really mean that Mom?”, she smiled and said “with all my heart, Janet. Here let’s seal it with a kiss.” I literally flew into her embrace and parted my lips to absorb every morsel of her kiss. Mom’s cuddles and kisses are so heartfelt and special.

Your discussion with Ruth about your English project is also one that I can relate to. Mom works a really long day but she always makes helping us with our schoolwork her top priority when she’s home. She always shows interest in our lives and gives deserved praise as Ruth does for you and I’m sure Hannah and Rachel. How many parents would turn their attention away from the TV to ask about and listen to their child describe a complicated school project? We have to keep in mind that it’s that same love that also leads them to spank us.

In your first conversation with Ruth you were so reasonable and respectful. But she reacted just like my Mom with her paranoia about our neighborhood being dangerous (it is) and demanding that Cathy and I stay in the house when she’s not home. Their devotion to such values doesn’t mean they don’t care about us but it sure feels that way. You wonder if they were ever had a childhood.

As your story went on, I felt your rising frustration but kept hoping you’d somehow keep your cool. Every time you spoke or otherwise acted disrespectfully I cringed. Honestly, despite my Mom’s pledge to minimize face slapping, I counted at least three times I felt that you should have had your face slapped. Please Alana, don’t misunderstand. I care for you deeply but when you talk back to Ruth or Burke, you’re emotionally on your own.

On the other hand, when you made the decision to go top practice anyhow, I was with you. In fact, I was hoping you’d do that. Being part of a team is so important in high school; especially when you’re a new kid. I wish I’d had the courage to do that. We both know you’ll pay dearly but try to think that Lizzie and will be with you in spirit.

As to my own punishment for helping Cathy disobey Mom’s rules about staying I the house I sent you a letter describing the hand spanking I got on behalf of Cathy. As to your point about letting her suffer the consequence also, it certainly makes a lot of sense. You’re right, it is important for her to be punished too, so that she learns not to do the same things again? I think I figured I was in so much trouble anyhow it wouldn’t make that much difference. The punishments I would receive for my own actions would be much more serious as I’m the older sister. And, trust me, having to watch me get spanked is plenty of punishment for Cathy. She felt positively awful about it and apologized to me for weeks afterward.

At any rate, I’m sorry you had to give up soccer. I’m wondering if you could have tried a compromise with Ruth. Tell her that you would share her message with your coach. You would not hide your marks but show them and explain why you got them. You will tell your coach that you fully deserved it for being disobedient and disrespectful and feel nothing but love and respect for your guardians. Explain that it’s a measure of their devotion to their faith and that you hope to use your suffering to someday share that feeling..

Then ask Ruth if somehow you can’t have both soccer and Bible study. Maybe there’s another Bible study session you could go to, or maybe you’ll find or start one at school. And you’ll do extra at home. You can also offer to volunteer more at Church. Show them that you’re willing to meet them more than half way. Assure them that if they let you have this one thing that brings you so much joy; you’ll approach bible study with feelings of gratitude rather than feelings of resentment.

Try it and let me know how it goes.



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