I haven't watched many "Dr. Phil" episodes. At home as I was growing up, my TV viewing time was very limited. In my facility, we see enough real-live bombastic anal orifices masquerading as mental health professionals, so most of us wouldn't go out of our way to watch Dr. Phil or anyone like him on TV. My mom DVRed n episode of dr. Phil because she thought it might interest me, though. My first though was along the lines of "Why in the he!! would I be interested in that?" but it was nice of her to have recorded something becuase she though I might like to watch it, so I gave it a look. As it turns out, my mom was correct: I was very interested in this episode of "Dr. Phil."
Among other things, the episode featured a Mormon lady from Alaska named Jessica Beagley. Ms. Beagley, or Sister Beagley if you're Mormon as she is, is a roughly late-thirties mother of six children, three of whom were reportedly adopted from Russian orphanages. Ms. Beagley is reportedly a Stake Primary President. "Primary" is the LDS children's organization, and "stake" is the next level up from the local congregation, or "ward" level, roughly the equivalent to a Catholic dioceses, although a Catholic diocese is typically larger both geographically and in terms of the number of members served. In any event, Ms. Beagley would be considered a prominent Mormon lay leader in her area.
Ms. Beagley allegedly sent a videotape to Dr. Phil's show deatiling her creative methods of disclipining one of her three adopted Russian orphans. The taaped was allegedly sent to Dr. Phil because this mother felt that she had things to teach the rest of the mothers out there in TV Land. The footage was shot by Ms. Beagley's 10- or 11-year-old daughter, and starts before she even begins her attempt at disciplining the seven-year-old former Russian orphan. The child was in trouble for having piulled three disciplinary cards at school and for having lied about his behavior at school. For having pulled the cards, the child was made to take a cold shower. For having lied about his transgressions, Ms. Beagley poured hot sauce in the little boy's mouth and forced him to swish it around inside his mouth as she yelled at him.
I almost wish my mom had not recorded the tape. It positively sickened me. I can understand that adopting a Russian orphan and then having to be responsible for him until he reaches adulthood isn't easy in most cases, but I seriously doubt anyone forced this child on Ms. Beagley. Furthermore, anyone in his or her right mind knows in advance that taking in such a child cannot possibly be a walk in the park. I doubt that I would ever try it. I admire those who are truly up to the task and do it well; I just don't feel particularly called in this area. I know my own limitations. So do my parents, apparently, as I don't see any Russian orphans living in our home.
Ms. Beagley reminds me of some of my LDS relatives. Some take in foster kids and don't treat them nearly as nicely as they treat their biological offspring. Other LDS relatives don't treat even their biological children as well as children should be treated. One particular set of LDS relatives agreed to care for me when I was sick and injured in late spring, and then left me in their attic to fend for myself when I was incable of doing so.
I don't think Mormons have a monopoly on bad parenting, as I know of some LDS parents who do an excellent job of caring for their offspring, and my mom has told me tons of stories of non-Mormons who neglect and abuse their children. However, one side of my family is predominantly LDS while the other side is not. The LDS side consistently does a sub-standard job of caring for children in their custody.
I was thinking about whether I would prefer to spend a week in the custody of mean Ms. Beagley or in the custody of my aunt and uncle who took such horrible care of me a little over six months ago. All things considered, I think I'd choose Ms. Beagley and her hot sauce over my crazy aunt and uncle. That does not speak well for the quality of parenting that goes on in my dad's side of the family. Perhaps Dr. Phil should attend our next reunion.
Rebecca, I hope you are recovering. I look forward to hearing from you.
Matt, I hope you are enjoying your very British Christmas season.