Saturday, February 22, 2014

Reflections on Corporal Punishment

Tuesday we saw the Little Buck Private and his dealings with Corporal Punishment.  Today is a follow-up, for some of the readers commented provocatively, and inspired this sequel.

Vee, whom I suspect you all know is my little sister to whom I referred in the article, said she could well-imagine the scene, even though she was not witness to it.  Yes, I believe she knows very well what I was writing about.  Then she said she wondered how I might have handled "time-out."  I really don't know, though I thought about it a bit, tried to put myself back into my seven-year old self, and concluded that I probably would have handled it with a great deal of resentment.  Whether or not it would have done me or anyone else any good is moot.  Or put another way, I shudder to think.

Jacqueline remarked that in her case the admonition to obtain a good switch was followed up with the warning that if it broke, parent would "wear it out on you, then you will get another one."  Yes, I can relate to that, too.

Shelly opined that it was too bad that the method described was not used more freely these days.  Here is one fellow who concurs with that opinion.  I am pleased to know that I am not alone.

Another reader who seems to be in agreement with Shelly and me is Sharkebytes.  The switch she was required to procure was from the lilac bush.  That would work.  She opines that procuring the switch gave the culprit time and opportunity to reflect on the behavior that got her in trouble in the first place, and whether continuation of the behavior was worth the consequences.

All of which calls to mind a story my father told me about his brother, Ellis.  Ellis was a year and a half younger than my dad, and as boys will do, he was climbing fool's hill, say along about thirteen years of age.  Ellis had taken to going over to the neighboring farm and complaining to the old Dutchman about the severity with which his dad was treating him.  The old fellow became convinced that Ellis was being abused, felt sorry for him, and told him to come on over and stay at his place. Ellis took him up on the offer.

Then on a Saturday a week or so later, and as all you farm folk may recall, Saturday was the day everyone went into town, Hans made the weekly trek.  And so it was that Hans met some of the neighboring farmers at the general store.  One of them said, "Ay, Hansie, I hear that Lacy kid is staying over to your place.  How's that working out for you?"

Hans replied, "Ya.  Boy says his Pa licks him pretty often.  An' I tell ya that boy's Pa never gave him a mis-lick in his life, 'less he licked at him and missed!"


Secondary Roads said...

as a youngster, I got a lickin' fairly often. But I never did get one but what I deserved it, and probably missed out on quite a few others that I had coming.

Sharkbytes said...

Pretty funny sequel! I did some time-outs (called standing in the corner) too, but the physical punishments seemed to do more for me (eg- change behavior). The time-outs only made me grumpy and were something easily tolerated until I could get back to whatever it was I wanted to do.

vanilla said...

Chuck, I recall only one lickin' I feel to this day was undeserved. But I missed more than enough I should have had to make up for it.

Sharkey, so then, standing in the corner merely provided you with time to consider how to "get away with it" next time?

Sailorcurt said...

One thing about my dad and corporal punishment that never occurred to me until I was an adult. We never discussed it and he never mentioned it, I just realized it one day when pondering the vicissitudes of life:

Dad never, ever laid a hand on us while he was angry. Dad was a large man, with big powerful hands. He could have seriously injured us had he been overzealous with corporal punishment.

I guess he knew that and consciously made the decision not to do it when he was still angry.

I often wondered why he'd send us to our room for half an hour or hour before coming up to dole out the the time I thought he was just doing it to torture us.

He wasn't torturing us...he was cooling off. When he finally did come to administer justice, he was always calm, level headed and...I guess you'd call it "professional"...about it.

My respect for him grew immensely when I finally was mature enough to realize that's what he'd been doing...especially as a father myself and understanding just how difficult that kind of self control is and how much more difficult and heart wrenching it is to mete out punishment on our children when we're not angry, but doing it just because it needs to be done.

My dad wasn't perfect, and there were a lot of things he could have done better, but he got more things right than he got wrong. He was a good man...and a good dad.

Sorry for the filibuster. This probably should have been a blog post rather than a comment, but you got me started...

Shelly said...

Ha! What a great story!

vanilla said...

Sailorcurt, this is a great place for your comments. Your father faithfully practiced what I consider to be the first rule of corporal punishment, namely, never administer when angry. Your parents were faithful in their duties to their children.

Shelly, I always enjoyed hearing my dad tell that on his brother. Outcome: Uncle Ellis had a very successful life as husband and father, farmer, business man, and pillar of his community. RIP, Uncle.