I normally walk on eggshells with this subject. After all, I haven’t always been on this side of the debate and I know there is a process to cleansing your own brain from cultural misconceptions and lies and swallowing that big red pill of truth. But lets get blunt.
I understand most people and can relate to where they are at when it comes to circumcision. After all, had my oldest been a boy, she would have been amongst the circumcised and I’d be among the moms wishing I had known better then. I know what it’s like to be in support of circumcision and to believe it is a good thing.
But let me ask you something.
If you are a mom who has had a home birth, or even fought for a super natural hospital birth– Why is it you can see that your body is meant to birth naturally and births best when not interfered with, but you cannot see that your sons body is meant to be kept the way it is at birth and functions best when left alone?
If you don’t vaccinate or do an alternative vaccine schedule– why is it you are willing to see that immune systems are strong when built naturally and that messing with your child’s body can have serious consequences- but you can’t accept that cutting off part of your sons penis is effecting his body’s health and can have serious consequences?
If you are a Christian and believe that God made us in his image– Why do you think you should circumcise your son when God created him with a foreskin and the New Testament tells us that circumcision is worthless?
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If you are Jewish or a Jew turned Christian- and a doctor is performing the circumcision, Why are you not having a real Jewish circumcision if it’s for religious reason? You do know that a medical circumcision does not meet all the requirements for the religious ritual done at a Bris, right?
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If you are a mother against circumcision and leaving it up to the dad– Why aren’t you fighting for your son? Why do you not just put your foot down? Marriage is 50/50 these days and if anyone, including my husband, tried to let a knife cut any one of my kids- Id flip my lid. It would not happen.
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I know that there is a process to learning. There is a process to adjusting to a new understanding. There is a process to having your eyes opened to the fact that circumcised penis’s are not “normal penises” but intact penis’s are normal. When parents who have opened the door to being educated, Parents who do question cultural norms and doctors and grandparents and do research for themselves decide to circumcise- I question. And my heart aches for you too. That you are so so close to being ok with natural and comfortable with how our bodies were created to be. I feel for you because I am so sure you will some day look and see a mom-mistake. Maybe today you don’t see it. Maybe today your tail feathers have been ruffled and you’ve been thrown into defense mode about how your sons body is yours to what you want with. You’re the mom and how dare I. I feel positive, though, someone as open to truth and learning as you are will someday regret that you didnt trust his body to be perfect. That you, his mom, felt he needed cosmetic surgery to be complete. That you, his mom, felt you owned him and had the right to make such permanent alterations to your sons body. Your son who will grow to be a man. A man who was raised by a smart, open mom, who will teach him to question life and research and , as a result, may regret the choice you made over his body for the rest of his life. Because you are a good mom. You want what is best. And though the rest of moms are good, well desiring moms too- they are so far from the truth on this issue that they will have that excuse to ease their hurt one day if they come to regret their sons circumcisions. But you were so close. You were so knowing. You were so “there”. My heart hurts for you moms.
I try to be really aware of my language with my kids. No, I’m not talking about bad language, though I don’t do that either. I try to phrase things and speak to them in ways that will make them grow as people. For example, when I discipline, I try to speak words that will correct their behavior so that they will grow to become better, respectful, loving humans. I try not to use words that tear down or rip apart or shame in the name of disciple. I even desire to stay away from the neutral language that does neither. If it does not uplift and help them grow and be better than it isn’t necessary. Of course, I fail at this regularly, being human and all, but I am hoping that even just having this desire in my mind and heart will help keep me doing better than I would if I didn’t have these concepts in my mind.
So with everything I’ve been asking myself, “How are these words, this phrasing and this tone affecting their minds, self esteems, desire? How will this effect who they will be? How will this effect how they treat their own possible kids some day?”. If I can’t say I’m instilling good behaviors, feelings, and habits I start planning out a new way to treat situations that are more productive.
So I stopped calling my kids smart. I used to call them smart. “Wow, Ariel. You finished that puzzle fast. You are so smart!”. “Eve, you know all the words on that page? You are so smart”. I do not say those things anymore. I have traded in my language. Instead of rewarding natural ability I praise their efforts, the work it took to get something done, whether it took them little effort or great effort.
You might be asking Why? What is wrong with being smart? It makes people feel good and more confident to be told they are smart, right? That’s good for self-esteem.
Actually I’ve learned it is not that great. An article I recently read went into great depth discussing how children who are complimented off of their natural born intelligence get frustrated by harder work easier. Even children with really high IQ’s give up almost immediately when they hit a tough area because if it does not come natural to them they think it is not something they can do. While Children who are complimented for the work they put into a job, work harder and feel they can accomplish things if they just put the time and effort into it.
The research done showed that the children whose focus was based more on intelligence felt that needing to put effort into a subject or activity was evidence that they were not actually smart so avoiding those more difficult content areas was their preference over working harder at it so others wouldn’t believe them to not really be smart. While kids whose emphasis was on working hard felt that their smartness could grow and develop with effort. Teaching kids that their brain was a muscle that got stronger when worked had kids focusing more and getting better results.
No matter where my kids all fall on the IQ scale, I want them each to know that if they work hard for something they can achieve it. That if they desire to learn it and devote their time to learning something, they can learn it, whether it’s a natural skill or not. We are all born with different natural abilities and different levels of intelligence, which means we are not all equal in this area but we all have just as much potential if we are willing to work for it. I believe all my kids to be smart and am looking forward to continuing to work and learn with them and watch them grow and develop. I know that my kids “are smart” and I love that they will be able to see that their smarts are effort based and that they are intelligent people and all they have to do is put some effort into it and they can be as intelligent as they work to be.