By Lnn Moncus
Many adages of the past came about because they were well thought out and because they were often quite true. For instance, “Spare the rod, and spoil the child” came into being by someone who knew more than a little about rearing children. They knew the need for discipline and knew that some discipline needed to be meted out in a rather painful way in order to capture the child’s attention just in case he didn’t seem to understand the words, “Let’s have a time out.”
’Tis a bit strange that states that used to burn witches at the stake are now trying to outlaw the spanking of children by their parents in their own homes. We seem to frown on those people who stoned misfits, placed culprits in stocks, and used the cat o’ nine tails to correct unacceptable behavior. Well, we can still recognize extremes and can note the difference in applying the hand to the hip pockets in order to correct a child’s behavior or beating him to a bloody pulp in public. Most of us are quite opposed to child abuse, but we are in favor of teaching children a modicum of behavior so they can be accepted by their peers and by their elders.
How many of you really resented the spankings your mothers gave you when you had gone beyond the established rules and needed to be corrected? In my case, Mother explained that I was going to get a spanking if I didn’t “straighten up and fly right, “ and she always kept her word. She never threatened, she acted. Of course, I felt mistreated because I wasn’t getting my way about everything, but I also knew that Mother was right and that I really should consider behaving properly.
I can now think that those people back east might have brought charges against Mother for trying to bring me up properly and for applying her hand when the need arose. In fact, they probably heard me because I would yell as if I were being killed and would pretend to shed tears. Mother recognized a temper tantrum when she saw one and knew not to pay any attention to my screams of major pain. She never left a mark, but she usually got my attention and let me know that I would do better to save my breath, quit trying her patience, and get on with behaving properly. She never gave me a spanking I didn’t deserve or earn!
As we watch people letting their children grow up without discipline, we often feel sorry for those children because life is not going to be easy for them as they try to live in the adult world. We have but to watch their eating habits in restaurants to know how little discipline they have at home. If they are permitted to throw their food about in public, they are probably permitted to sass their parents and other adults. If they are told to behave in public, they are probably disciplined at home and may even know the touch of a hand.
A little healthy application of hand to hip pockets really never hurt anyone and probably helped most of us. Violence is not necessary, but rather stern enforcement during the early years surely makes the later years more enjoyable and more productive. Some of us were very fortunate to have parents who cared enough to discipline us, and we certainly never thought of them as disobeying the law.