“Nail in the Fence” Parable

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper.

His Father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.

The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence.  But over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily  gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence. 

Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.
The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. This fence will never be the same. Because when you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one… You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there. ”

A verbal wound is just as bad as a physical one. Live life doing right by others and to yourself. Although anger is a necessary emotion in order to deal with pain and hurt… never act out in anger because the consequences of your actions may cause lasting reprocussions. Learn control and restraint and maybe the world can eventually become a better place to live… 

Born in the Wrong Body? Children who want a sex change

Written by Lilyan Lam
ENC 1101
April 18, 2007
Argumentative Essay

Born in the Wrong Body?
Children who want a sex change

When I was a young girl, I would spend hours playing with my brothers. We would build enormous cities with our Lego blocks, and we would also play super hero fantasy games. I would climb trees, pretend to be a pirate. And never care that I was getting dirty, because I was having a good time with my brothers. Does that mean I wanted to be a boy? After all, those aren’t the kind of games a little girl plays. Does that mean I was born in the wrong body? I don’t think so, because I always knew I was a girl and I was comfortable knowing I was a girl playing with the boys.

So I didn’t want to be a boy. But there are many children from the early age of five who proclaim they were born in the wrong body. They never feel comfortable in the clothes their parents dressed them in, they never want to play like others of their same “designated” sex, and they are truly, deeply unhappy with their bodies. They do not want to cross-dress, like transvestites, and they are not gay. These children identify as the opposite sex; they are young transsexuals.

Not much is known about this condition, but it is believed to be caused when the child’s brain develops during pregnancy. According to an article in “Transkids Purple Rainbow Foundation” this development takes place in the utero; it happens when a signal from the fetus, depending on the biologic gender, tells the mother’s body to produce estrogen or to masculinize that estrogen into a form of testosterone. The hormones produced then wash the brain causing a part of the hypothalamus to develop differently in men than in women. The XX and XY chromosomes control fetal body development only. It is believed that something in the hormonal wash goes wrong, or the signal from the fetus is misinterpreted, and the brain develops resembling that of the opposite sex as opposed to that of the biologic sex. This is why many children feel like they are either a boy or a girl, when in reality their anatomy may show the opposite.

 I had a difficult time understanding this, but in my research I found a few examples describing the thoughts of these transgender children. In one example, a five year old child got very upset about wearing blue while his sister was dressed in pink. This child described that blue is a “boy” color and he/she did not feel that this color reflects how he /she identified. In another example, this young “boy” wanted to remove his penis with an unopened nail clipper. When his mother discovered this in horror, she asked him why he would do such a thing and he/she responded, “Because this (pointing to his genital) doesn’t go there”. Cases like these describe only a few of the many characteristics and struggles of a transgender kid.

So who has the right or the obligation to tell these children how to feel or how they need to behave different? Isn’t it easier to teach the child to be what their private parts would designate them to be? The studies show that it wouldn’t be any easier for them, at least not for the child. Trying to teach a trans-kid how to be the opposite of how they are feeling about their gender is much like trying to teach that young little girl I described myself to be, to become a boy. I never felt the need to tell my parent I wanted to change my “sex” because I played “boy” games.

There are many parents who would not allow their “trans-children” be any different than their sexual designation at birth. These parents are teaching their children how the majority of society would expect them to behave based on their genitalia, whether or not the child wants to; but based on the studies, this method of upbringing comes with a number of ramifications. First, and foremost, the children would continue to emphasize their hatred of their body because their mind does not correspond to the way they look. Simply by telling a child “You are a boy – You have a penis”, when they have a deep desire of being a girl, just reinforces their feeling of discomfort on how they identify themselves to be. And this could cause the child to develop a negative self image which could often lead to eating disorders, self mutilation, suicide, among many other psychological issues.

When these young “trans-kids” are starting to be more and more insistent about how they identify their sexual designation to be, it becomes essential for the parent’s to decide on how they will handle this situation. The role the parents play in their children’s lives is vital to their healthy upbringing. So then, must these parents allow their kids to “live” in the opposite of the gender they were born with? What would be the right decision? I believe if I was in that situation, I would certainly give my child the love and support he/she needed. And I would learn to communicate and listen to what my child is trying to express. After all, if my child said to me that he/she had a dream they wished to fulfill, I would make every effort to help them accomplish that goal.

The decision to allow any drastic change in a child’s life exhibiting this behavior becomes a huge responsibility to the parents. If they were to make the wrong decision with the course of action they make, there would be devastating consequences. What if their children are only passing through a phase in their lives? And by allowing or encouraging a child to pursue, what most would consider as an unnatural desire to live in the opposite sex, the psychological damage may become irreversible. So the decision to act upon the social ramifications of such a decision, to allow or not allow the change, would surely become controversial. So why not allow the child to grow up in their designated gender and allow them to make this decision when they have reached a legal age? And allow them, at that time, to independently decide on what further action they would take to act upon their desires, such as pursuing a “sex change”.

Even at an older age, believing that “you are born in the wrong body”, is still a “socially” unacceptable behavior. But there has been no evidence to prove that this condition is “curable”. So knowing that this person may suffer their whole lives with this thought or desire, why would a parent allow such suffering in their children’s lives? If your child had a fever, you would give him/her aspirin to help them feel better. So for these Trans-children who develop this feeling of being “trapped” in the wrong body at such a young age, and that they would have the courage to share this information with their parents, as a loving parent it would be responsible to learn all we could about what they are feeling and to be sensitive to their needs. If a child is Trans-gender, there is no doubt in the child’s mind about their “sex”, except perhaps the doubt that society or even their families may have them believe.

From what I have come to learn, this condition is an enigma in the medical society. There are many studies that have been conducted and many more that are still in progress. And one thing I have discovered is that there are many options to explore for a parent who would allow a trans-child to express their desire to live in the opposite gender. One of such options offer a less risky solution by having their child dress and live in the opposite gender to see how this child responds in this new role, and if they become better adjusted, then perhaps during puberty they can have a licensed doctor prescribe hormone blockers, which will inhibit undesirable changes to the body; this will allow the child to make the decision to change when they are an adult. Additionally, one can seek the guidance of a psychological medical doctor, support groups, among many other resources where direction about this topic can be found. So there is hope that this child can have a happy and productive life. Ultimately it is the care, love and concern that a parent has, in acting upon the best interest of their child, is what perseveres.

In conclusion, I have learned that there are no “absolutes” in life. There are many life rules that I have taken for granted. Because as I recall from my youth, when I used to play pretend with my brothers, I always knew that I wasn’t a boy. But now I start to think, “what if” I would have felt different? Perhaps by this thought I can begin to understand how a trans-kid feels. So in reality, they are probably no different from the rest of us. And now I try to live with a truly open mind and heart, and look at life a little bit differently. So I ask myself “what if”? And by questioning, I learn the truth in the meaning of tolerance, perseverance, and patience. Judgments shouldn’t be passed on how others choose to live their life. We should be allowed to be ourselves, rather than be forced to live in societal norms. The more informed people are the more open people can live in peace and harmony in this society.

Do I make a Difference?

So do I make a difference? Do I do all I can do? Can I have a social life and still be a good parent? Am I trying to do my best? Am I letting anyone down? Am I appreciated? Does my life count for something? What would life be like if I weren’t around? If I were to pack my bags up and give up on everyone? If I were to runaway…. make a new life for myself…. am I capable of such things? Do I act on those things? Should I act on those thoughts? Am I intelligent enough to accept those things I cannot change? And just change what I can change? Then live as I should live? And act as I should act? And fight to do what’s right? Important questions to ask…. and yet am I asking the right questions? So then really, do I make a difference in this world?

A hero would do the selfless thing. The ambassador would represent their people. The good samaritan would help the meek. The musician would touch the world with song. The actor would have you believe their character. A leader would give you hope and guidance. The student would learn life’s lessons.

A parent should act with love. A parent should act responsibly. A parent would care enough to not always do as their children want but for what they need. A parent should know what is in the best interest for their child.

And a parent would also do the selfless thing. A parent would represent their siblings. A parent would help their child be strong. A parent would tell their children their stories. A parent would help them develop character. A parent would give hope and guidance. And that parent will learn from their parents and teach those life lessons to their children…. so they in turn will contribute all that they have learned to their future generations.

So where do I fit in into all this? Am I allowed to be more than just a parent? Am I allowed to have some fun? And although I would wish a simple answer… it is neither yes nor no. See…. although I do need to find nourishment in my evolution of self in order to better serve my children…. I am also responsible for them and all of the consequences of their actions… They are an extension of my evolution as well…. they are my tomorrow… and the day will come that I become their child…. and I will one day learn from them all that I taught them and all that they have learned…. and not all from me…. but from their growth as a human in this universe…. on this small planet.

And for now…. when I hear the cries of my kids…. cries that no longer resemble tears but have evolved into rebellion… they not know what they do… and the actions they take which set forth a chain reaction and set fast forward to their future… for the future happens in the blink of an eye… and even though at 18 we are deemed “the adult” you have not lived yet a quarter of what most lives have lived and yet in those 18 years, you may live life like you will never live again…. and tomorrow can still be our last day. There’s no guarantee’s but the guarantee of what is today…. and tomorrow is yet to come… and yet we must live today for tomorrow… even if… it would be a last day…. for whether or not we chose to…. we all leave our legacy…. and we all make a difference…. good…. bad…. or indifferent.

Anyway….. I am having to live a difficult and turbulent time right now, and mostly because of my children, it has me thinking. I do love my kids….. beyond any comprehensible measure of any word… and I do hope one day they can appreciate my efforts….. and my sincerity as a parent….. I suppose that’s the romantic in me… but I also hope for one day that I would be allowed to be happy and self satisfied…. and to see my children succeed… an in those things i could not… and yet that I have learned… I made that difference to those lives around me and especially to those children that I am their parent….

And even though sometimes you must chose yet one way or another….. that sometimes, you just gotta be happy. And that life will certainly move on…. with or without us…. but hopefully with us…. and so we can move on as time measures our existence and stumble into our future…. a future we forge from asking those same questions…. and yet still more questions to remain to answer…. and evolve as human kind…. and heal from our hurts and gain wisdom to simply ____________……….