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8 Feb 2011

I'm sure many of us remember our younger days with both affection and chagrin. Surely I'm not
the only one who was bold and firm in my convictions of what is true and right. I can't be the only
one who spoke truth barely tempered with any love or affection for the recipient or mercy for
their humanness.

I will say, I was right. Truth is truth regardless of circumstance. There are many truths that I
spouted with absolute certainty and little tact.
1. Children do not have to be brats.
2. Children who are brats are that way because their parents have not trained them properly.
3. If we don't seem to have enough time in our day, it is because we are doing things we
4. Emotions try to rule us and we need to suck it up and deal with life.

I had a lot of other opinions. I was loaded with them. I carried them in my pistol and was able to
shoot them with remarkable accuracy. I still hold most of my opinions. Most were, and are,
rooted in truth.

For example. I once knew a young mother who had a thousand theories on how children should
be reared. I used to smile at those theories. I remembered my theoretical parenting days. It's
easy to be a know it all when you don't have to live it at all. A mutual friend and I spoke about
this woman and her very condemning comments about our parenting. My friend said... "She'll
get a rude awakening about things when her son can crawl or walk."

I remember thinking that what the woman said wasn't so wrong. Children should obey. They
should stay nearby so we can hear them. It was the attitude that because they should do these
things, if they didn't happen automatically, it was because the parents had already failed that
was the problem. No... if that is how children came, we wouldn't be instructed to TRAIN them.
And when a mother is already down for the count, had a horrible day fighting her flesh to make
sure she does what is right, the last thing she needs to hear is that she's a parenting failure. If
she has just been lounging on the couch eating romances and reading bon bons... that'd be
another story.

Judgmentalism isn't a word I like to use. It's often overused and ill used. It is prevalent amongst
thunder puppies.
However, they say we mellow with age? I don't think that's always true. I think with age we learn
discernment, grace, tact, mercy, and a host of other social skills that are usually in short supply
when we're young.
When we're young, bold, and daring, we feel free to lower the boom on anyone who doesn't
march to the appropriate drumbeat. Failure is not an option. Stumbling is not an option.
HICCOUGHS are not an option. Get it done, get it done right, and get it done right NOW.

Message boards are fun places to spot maturity. Thunder puppies often have a LOT of correct
information but little maturity. Because their information is correct, they often sound wiser than
their years. People often like them and respect them for their incredibly wise and accurate
posts. Then, inevitably, it happens. Someone has a bad day, their child has a bad day, their
mother does or says something wrong... they take something in a way that it was never
intended to be... something happens. The thunder puppy lowers his or her boom. What they say
is correct. The timing and method in what they say often is not. There is a time and a place for
strictness. This rarely is the time. The other board members scratch their heads before rallying
around the wounded member who now has a kick to their gut to deal with.

The sad thing is, it doesn't have to happen. It's not necessary at all. See, what thunder puppies
eventually learn (unless they grow into arrogant jerks!) is discretion, mercy, and timing. They
learn to wait... give people space... let them fix their own flubs without suffering the humiliation
of a public or even private dressing down.
I was fortunate. I learned of my thunder puppiness at a young age. Several of us were
congregated at our local park for a 'Park Day'. Official socialization of homeschoolers the world
over. Gotta get that socialization in... for mom! One lady and I began debating theology. We
were having an absolute blast. She was almost as animated as I was and was beyond her
thunder puppy years. However, I guess I appeared to be angry in my discussion. I wasn't. I was
excited, enjoying myself and eager. I was a thunder puppy and TRUTH MUST BE SPOKEN!

One woman left very upset. I learned from a third party that this woman thought I was angry and
that the park days were an inappropriate time to debate theology. I immediately called her. I
thought it was only right that I assure her I wasn't angry (don't want to give the appearance of sin
you know!... can you say PRIDE)... but also I wanted to apologize. I owed her an apology for
making her uncomfortable around me. Her response was disheartening and puzzling at first.
She said, "When I found out how old you were I just thought, 'oh she's young'."

What she meant was... "Oh, she's still a thunder puppy". She excused my blundering
eagerness because of my youth and inexperience. My pride was hurt. I was accustomed to
people considering me quite mature! After all, I was 21, married, and pregnant with my fourth
child. I usually impressed people... not amused them!

I walked away from that experience a wiser person. I'd love to say that I learned not to blunder
after that.... I didn't. Just like most thunder puppies, I was easily excited about new and
dogmatic sounding theories. Fortunately, I have enough logical thinking ability to see fallacies
in theories or suggestions before it totally holds me ensnared... as a general rule.

Yes. I confess. I was a thunder puppy. I hope I am now a wiser and more reliable hound dog.
Maybe a lovely collie? I'd take a smart and hard working German Shepherd... Just don't tell me
I'm a Yorkshire Terrier. BLECH.

NOTE:The blog entry is copied with permission.  You may view the original blog at
Paradoxology.   Thanks Chautona!

Chautona Havig