By Lynn Moncus
The longer I live, the more fortunate I know I am to have had the parents I had. Just by listening to how parents feel they have to be trained today causes me to realize how wise mine were, and they didn’t have to read about “parenting,” listen to tapes about how to discipline children, or spend their time on the internet in order to try to find out how to perform some parental chore. I can’t even imagine what either of them would think or say about what goes on today, but I have a pretty good idea they would have a number of colorful remarks to make.
One of the ads on the radio is about a family that has had undisciplined children whom they couldn’t even take to restaurants and how those same children improved after the parents listened to a tape about changing the ways of such children. I can’t even think what would have happened to me had I misbehaved in public. I know for a fact that my parents wouldn’t have spent a cent on a tape in order to try to figure out how to make me behave. One look from Dad or one well placed hand by Mother would have caused an instant change. Of course, Mother wouldn’t have used that hand while we were sitting in the restaurant, but she would have explained rather quietly what would happen later, and she never made an idle threat. I would have become a model child in order to try to get her to forget her promise, but that change would have been useless although I certainly knew better than to continue whatever misbehavior I might have conjured up.
I can’t imagine either of them having to read a book in order to try to learn what to do with my brother and me as we grew and strayed at times. They used whatever knowledge they had amassed from their parents and whatever their instincts told them without benefit of Dr. Spock or any of the later “experts.” They had plenty of common sense and knew how to be parents without having to rely on outsiders. Because they had manners, they knew how to be examples for us and how to teach us to exist in polite society even when we were living in those canyons away from civilization.
I’ve tried to picture either of them getting on the internet to tell other parents how we were behaving and to ask what they should do to correct the problems. Again, my imagination, although a very vivid one, cannot begin to conjure up that picture. Neither would have thought of asking someone they had never met or would never meet for advice about doing a job they knew they could do without benefit of empty advice.
I think Mother might have asked Grandmother Moncus a few questions because she knew’how much experience she had while rearing six children in those canyons. She might have even asked some questions over that battery operated telephone in the event a cow hadn’t stepped on the line and broken it, but she would have already come up with an idea of her own before seeking help.
Both parents might have discussed some of our actions with their friends, but those had to be very close friends — those whom they respected highly and would see frequently.
Mostly, however, they discussed our actions between themselves and made wise decisions about what needed to be done.
Once Mother had almost ruined a good right hand, she decided that talking worked better it she wanted to get my attention for an extended period of time.
She could convince me with words far more easily than she could with that hand as I would rather have had a good spanking than a serious talk. If I had to listen for a spell, I would change my attitude in order to avoid further conversation. If I received a spanking, I just went right back to whatever I was doing in the first place. Once she figured out how to handle such stubbornness, both of us became closer and gained more respect by the minute.
I wouldn’t trade our kind of discipline for any that is meted out today. I certainly wouldn’t have ever wanted different parents because mine were always perfect in my mind and have remained so through all these years.