13 July 2009

Lewis on the virtuous treatment of irrational creatures

["Kindness to animals"] is a virtue most easily practiced by those who have never, tired and hungry, had to work with animals for a bare living, and who inhabit a country where all dangerous wild beasts have been exterminated . . . . Heaven forbid, however, that I should be thought to slight it. I only mean that for those of us who meet beasts solely as pets it is not a costly virtue. We may be properly kicked if we lack it, but must not pat ourselves on the back for having it. When a hard-worked shepherd or carter remains kind to animals his back may well be patted; not ours." C.S. Lewis, Reflections On the Psalms.

Doubtless you clever people can see what I'm getting at here. No one should be a "social worker" who has not spent a number of years being the primary care provider for his or her own children. Kindness to the children with whom one spends every waking and often many sleeping hours is a difficult virtue.


Gauntlets said...

I read somewhere recently that one good mechanic is worth 10 "social workers" a'languishing in the prolonged playground of higher education.

Playgrounds aside, I have far more respect for mechanics.

Sarah D. said...

I am curious what prompted this? I have met my fair share of social workers and have a great deal of respect for them.

Reb. Mary said...

>>Kindness to the children with whom one spends every waking and often many sleeping hours is a difficult virtue.<<

Um. Yeah. 'Specially when you emend to, "should-be/would-be sleeping hours."

Rebekah said...

Sarah D, I know there are many good-hearted social workers. My sister-in-law is one. But I don't like the fact that any random person can call and report that their neighbor's kids cry too much, and someone from the government will turn up on the parents' doorstep accusing them of neglecting their children (and, more incredibly, believe whatever testimony children offer to be reliable). Having lived under the iron fist of a child-hostile landlord during what I consider a time of rather minimal crying in our parental history, I know that there are evil people like this. Some other friends of ours were accused of abusing their newborn when the baby was found to have an inexplicable injury. The only thing that kept them from being arrested was that there were no witnesses to the event (including, as far as they knew, the parents).

Every doctor, public school teacher, and social worker is trained to suspect all parents of being abusive. Our child-illiterate culture, where kids are cute but not lived with, can easily become a dangerous place for parents subject to laws put in place by ignorant romantics.

Gauntlets said...

As for me, I've nothing against the responsibly compassionate, and many who enter the widely defined office of social work are just that. But just as many irresponsible, unkind people choose social work as their field, then spend a lot of time wreaking havoc.

It's like all those people who hate school yet major in English, and wind up spending years teaching kids nothing about English but plenty about hating books.

Pr. H. R. said...

Ask Geraldine.