Friday, May 8, 2009

Musings: Whippin's and Lickin's

It was warm and sticky when Koko and I went walking this morning, and the rising sun was losing a battle with the clouds when we encountered my neighbor Andy and his dog, Momi. We got to talking about discipline, since I'm working to stop Koko from lunging at trucks and pulling on the leash, and he recounted an article he'd read in Newsweek about a principal who had brought order into his school through whippin's — or lickin's, as they're called here.

I expressed reservations. Was it the paddling, or the talk the principal had with the kids before meting out the discipline that did the trick? Andy recalled that one of his classmates at Manoa School was regularly paddled, but it did nothing to deter his incorrigible behavior.

Don't whippings just reinforce a feeling of powerlessness in kids? I asked. And what about when other principals pick up this practice, ones who enjoy giving whacks and get carried away?

What other form of discipline would you suggest? Andy asked, tongue firmly in cheek. Waterboarding? Because it doesn't do any damage, you know. It just scares them.

You've got it, I said. They could send out slips asking parents for permission to punish the kids only to the point of organ failure.

What sort of punishment should be inflicted on politicians who fail to give all citizens equal rights by shelving the civil unions bill? And what about those who level false accusations at other politicians? Or is mud slinging just part of the political territory? As I noted in Tuesday’s post:

Lingle also identified Rep. Hermina Morita, D-Hanalei-Kapaa, as the lawmaker who killed a proposal to ban new fossil-fueled electrical generating plants. Morita did so at the behest of Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, the governor claimed.

I later discovered in researching the legislation that the Senate put in the language to exempt KIUC from the ban until 2015. So it looks like the guv was way off base in fingering Mina as catering to special interests. I am definitely not an energy expert, but at this point, since we’re certainly not ready to abandon fossil fuel generation altogether on this island, perhaps it’s more efficient, “greener” and cheaper for KIUC to put in a new combustion turbine than to keep using the older diesel generators at Port Allen.

I only wish KIUC was a little more reliable. I mean, three power outages in the past four days is a little extreme, doncha think?

Anyway, I got this response from Mina, so here is her side of the story:

Thanks for the comments in your blog. Of course the issue and my personal feelings are more complex than what will and can be reported in the typical media. First of all, I do support and participate in the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI). The 70% scenario is what can be technically and economically achievable. However, there are many other factors that weigh in like financial resources, public acceptance to various projects and political will, as well as perceived “ownership” of the HCEI. When Lingle started branding it as THE governor’s initiative it sure makes it hard for me to do my part in the Legislature. But that’s another story. HCEI and the 70% clean energy is sort of similar to Zero Waste. A total zero waste scenario may be unrealistic but it sure is a worthy goal to achieve. HCEI and 70% could be a realistic goal but all of our ducks have to be lined up as I mentioned earlier.

Blue Planet’s insistence [on a full ban] almost got a good bill killed. The ban was in House bill 1464 and I dropped the language in a proposed conference draft and refused to put it back in. The remaining language increased the renewable energy portfolio standards to 40% renewables in 2030, established an efficiency portfolio standard and cleaned-up the language in the solar water heater mandate. That bill (HB1464), Senate Bill 1202 which helps to set up the infrastructure for electric vehicles and HB 1271, the barrel tax for energy and food security, were critical for me this session. Hope this helps to clarify what is happening in the ivory tower on Oahu.


Her position is further elaborated in a formal statement posted on Brad Parson’s Aloha Analytics blog.

And hey, the moon will be full upon rising tonight, so check it out.

5 comments:

Katy Rose said...

As someone who has never laid a violent hand on my children, who are now very responsible and empathetic teenage boys, I feel like I can speak to the issue of corporal punishment.

There are a lot of reasons why a person becomes unruly at any age. One can't really generalize. I value unruly behavior in the face of injustice, and I don't think that obedience to authority is a worthy goal for it's own sake.

Sometimes, unruly classroom behavior can be a reaction to the stultifying boredom and irrelevancy of some school environments. Sometimes, young people are mistreated or neglected at home.

This isn't to say that disruptive or dangerous behavior at school should be ignored, but it makes a lot more sense to look at the root causes and address those than it does to deal with the behavior by using coercive force. It seems to me that that just reinforces the idea that "might makes right," which sets us up for dangerous consequences.

I found with my kids that our goal really was to foster good decision-making based on critical thinking and empathy for others, not obedience based on threats and "because I say so!" Fostering this kind of environment takes a lot of time, effort and care, and a lot of learning from mistakes, both on our part, as parents, and our sons' part, as young people learning to live in the world.

Unfortunately, it is getting more and more difficult for families to invest this time in their kids' lives.

I think that as a society, we need to prioritize family welfare, which means that people need to be able to earn family-supporting wages AND still have time with their kids.

Dawson said...

Some interesting thoughts about kids and schools, and valuing both, is at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/08/opinion/08brooks.html?_r=1

line of flight said...

Sometimes children need a maternal burst of scream to help them develop in an optimal fashion.

The problem with corporal punishment in general is that it either turns into an expression of the out-of-control-ness of the parents (and their rage). Most parents do not have the parental instinct to be in control. The other problem is this where violence is systematized in a sadistic sort of way. Both show different aspects of out of controlness (one on the personal level and one on the collective level).

The Hawai'i Supreme Court is clearly filled with victim of child abuse who have identified with the perpetrator.

It was no coincidence that little Cyrus Belt was chucked off an overpass by a young drugged out psychotic only months after the Supreme Court ruled that the near-fatal savage beating a teenage girl suffered at the hands of her parents for being home a few minutes late was within the parent's right to torture or neglect their children. Its a society of victims of child abuse.

I agree with Katy that the problem is first met without the proper material resources for adequate rearing of children. The other problem, however, is that most people grow up without the correct psychological modeling. This is not something that can be thought out or changed with behavior modification only -- it requires a fundamental change to one's relationship with one's unconscious. That is something that will require much more work and effort on both a collective and personal level than just an increase in material conditions.

Larry said...

I don't know much about dogs. But there was this cat, Lisa, in Japan, who for whatever reason, was prone to peeing just outside her litter box. Of course, the place really stank, and I'll have to admit to having lost it on several occasions and yelled at her and chased her around, while knowing that it wouldn't work.

It was before the Internet so it wasn't an option to google for advice. Instead, I took pictures, and brought the photos with me on a trip to New York. I made an appointment with a Ph.D from the Animal Behavioral Clinic to meet in a coffee shop in Manhattan. I learned that cats would not associate my outburst with what they did necessarily, in the sense that they would know the violence would follow what they did, but not because what they did was in any way wrong.

So anyway, Lisa now had a shrink. I would call from Japan and interpret for her on the phone. It worked. It was worth the expense to have the behavior changed, and I learned a lot about cats. Friends thought that I was nuts, paying a shrink for my cat, but there had to be something that worked better than screaming at her and chasing her around the house.

Maybe this generalizes to dogs or children, I don't know, but I suspect screaming at them and chasing them around the house would be the worst of a number of choices. The trick is in knowing what to do. Even in those days there was a pre-conditioning to violence, which was modeled everywhere (when I was young I was yelled at and chased around the house). These days, with violent tv, movies and video games, it must be much stronger conditioning. Bad cat? Pull out the AK-47. I hope I'm wrong.

Ken Stokes said...

Hey Joan: See my 3-part series on KIUC's load forecast (starting here). Makes ya wonder why we're even talking about GenX...