I was not able to do my regular activities this week as I was sick. One of my regular and favorite activities is to play with the kids next door for 2 or 3 hours on Saturday afternoon. "Ginny" has been coming to our house most Saturdays for 3+ years. She's 5 and a half. Her brother, "Ted" now 3, has been coming with her for nine months. Since it appears we won't have grandkids, we feel very lucky to have these two smart, funny little friends who genuinely love us back and are happy to visit.
Our play varies every week. Sometimes it's kind of physical--"badminton" or "golf" with Wiffle balls in the rec room. Sometimes we have a drama with all kinds of sibling issues, usually involving a younger or older sister who is mean to a pet! Sometimes we repeat fairy tales, especially if they involve princes or princesses. Occasionally, "Ginny" decides on a drama about problems, like when you have to go to the doctor's because you're sick.
All these are dramas about normal kid issues. We usually (including sometimes my husband) play the normal age roles. Okay, sometimes "Ginny" is the mom and I'm the kid, but she takes good care of me. :)
You don't see significant violence, fear, anger, or lack of concern in "Ginny's" little plays. They work things out like their mom and dad do, like my husband and I did--without violence. That doesn't mean my little friends will never have any problems in life. Everyone does.
It means they probably won't have significant violence in their future marriages and homes because it's not typical and it's not allowed in theirs.
Too bad the batterers who set their children up for adult lives similar to their childhood lives can't see or wouldn't admit to the difference between play at the shelter and "Ginny" and "Ted's" play in my house.
Maybe batterers truly don't know the difference. Don't know "normal." Don't know how much harm their environments cause for all family members involved.
And that's even sadder.