In honor of the recent anniversary of the King James Bible, I’ve been thinking a lot about admonishments – from clergy, from doctors, from teachers, from little old neighbor ladies, from televangelists, from uptight uncles, and from moms. This mom, specifically.
Because holy hell, do I ever admonish.
Just to illustrate this point, here is a list of the admonishments from today given by me (THE MOTHER) to Leo (THE SON).
1. Do NOT punch your sister in the face.
2. Do NOT punch your sister in the butt.
3. Do NOT punch your dog in the butt.
4. Do NOT rip the picture out of that book.
5. I do not care if it would look good on your wall.
6. Do NOT bury my cell phone in the garden.
7. Tell me where my cell phone is THIS MINUTE.
8. No, you may NOT play video games.
9. No, not even if you give me a hundred bucks.
10. No, I will NOT give you a hundred bucks.
11. Do NOT dump that can of paint on the floor.
12. No I will NOT help you look up instructions on how to build a bomb.
13. No you may NOT feed the toothpaste to the dog.
14. Tell me where your dog is THIS MINUTE.
15. No you may NOT stick that screwdriver into that outlet.
16. Do NOT turn on that stove. I MEAN IT!
And so forth.
And that was just today. And he was at school for six hours of today.
I remember once having a discussion in a Theology class about biblical God-as-Father metaphors as opposed to God-as-Mother. Mothers, the thinking goes, nurture. Fathers oversee. Mothers forgive; fathers admonish.
But that’s not been my experience. I admonish. I admonish a lot. I think admonishment is a form of nurturing. We admonish when we need to stop danger, foolishness or downright stupidity right in its tracks. We admonish when we need to give our children a vigorous and no-nonsense view into the consequences of the very, very poor choice they are about to make.
Admonishments are nurturing on steroids. They are the things we yell, wail, yodel and screech to keep our children from hurling themselves over the goddamn cliff.
Is this an argument then, for the adoption of the God-as-Mother metaphor as opposed to God-as-Father? If three-quarters of the bible is a list of don’t’s, can’t’s, don’t-even-think-about-it’s, and OH-FOR-THE-LOVE-OF-PETE-WHAT-DID-YOU-JUST-DO, then I am well on my way to godishness. Because, in the end, as much as we’d all prefer the whole big, fluffy, amorphous marshmallow in the sky, the fact is that much of the world’s population is built like Leo, and actually needs an admonishment or two along the way. So maybe we all need to channel our inner nosy-neighbors, our inner strict teachers, and our inner royally pissed off mothers and start admonishing the hell out of anyone and everyone who needs it.
I think we all need to start admonishing. Today. Tomorrow. Every day.
1. No you may NOT publish racist pseudo-science studies. (That means YOU, Psychology Today!)
2. No you may NOT negate the fourth amendment. (Supreme Court, I’m giving you the stink-eye)
3. No you may NOT write bigotry into our state’s constitution. (That’s right, Minnesota. You’re on my list.)
You know? I actually feel better. Admonishing is great! Who would you people like to admonish?