October 19, 1997 in Features

Column Explored Areas Of Accord Between Sexes

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Having run its course, this column will end next week.

In our four-plus-year run, Rebecca Nappi and I have explored gender relations from every imaginable angle. Becky wrote for her sex, and I tried to be a spokesman for mine.

Yet our overall theme was reconciliation. We worked hard at trying to find - and this became the column’s very name - a common ground where our two sexes could begin a dialogue on how different, yet similar, we are.

It turns out that Becky will have the last word, and I will refrain from making the obvious joke. Instead, I’ll pass on a couple of random thoughts.

Promise Keepers: I’m not going to bad-mouth these guys. Any movement that helps convince potential abusers to keep their fists unclenched has something going for it.

I will say this, however: A number of us don’t consider the Old Testament a workable moral model for the modern world.

John Rosemond: If you look past the furor surrounding him, much of what this child psychologist/syndicated columnist has to say is just plain common sense.

Children do need a firm, loving, parental influence. Overly permissive parents aren’t doing their children any favors. Sometimes you do need to just say no. And so on.

It isn’t so much what Rosemond says as how he says it that grates on my nerves. He responded to Spokesman-Review reader Kathy Brainard’s complaints about his overall message with a thinly veiled character assassination (“I’m reminded of a quote from Oscar Wilde,” he wrote, “‘If you cannot answer a man’s argument, do not panic. You can always call him names.”’).

His column typically carries a tone of aggrieved righteousness that you just don’t find in that of a well-adjusted, self-confident and compassionate man. The title of his collected columns seems to say it all: “Because I Said So!”

Spanking: Speaking of Rosemond, the next time you raise your hand to your child, pause for a moment. Ask yourself, “Am I doing this because it is the best way to teach my child a lesson? Or am I doing this because I’m angry and this is a convenient way to work out my rage?”

My suspicion is that people who habitually hit do so mostly to make themselves feel better. Virtually all they achieve is a moment’s peace while teaching their children that violence is OK.

But where is the sense of mercy that Shakespeare called “nobility’s true badge”? That’s the kind of promise that I strive to keep.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo

MEMO: Common Ground, a column that has been written on alternating weeks by Rebecca Nappi and Dan Webster, is coming to an end. Nappi will write the final column in next Sunday’s Spokesman-Review.

Common Ground, a column that has been written on alternating weeks by Rebecca Nappi and Dan Webster, is coming to an end. Nappi will write the final column in next Sunday’s Spokesman-Review.


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