Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Little Buck Private and Corporal Punishment

Sometimes an incident from my past recreates itself full-blown in my mind and offers the suggestion that I blog about it.  On other occasions, I, thinking the well is drying up, sit and cogitate on my past (reminisce) with intent to think of something to write about.

If you have followed String Too Short to Tie a sufficient length of time, you have been exposed to a number of real-life experiences I have had.  If, because most of them tend to cast me in a light such that by all appearances I was a good child, one who engaged in no negative behaviors to share, you conclude that I never had encounters with discipline, be disabused of the notion.  Surely you do not think that the sessions involving my father, or mother for that matter, flailing my little legs with a peach switch were engaged in merely because my parents and I enjoyed the dance.

Correction was not limited to the use of the switch, of course, as there were counseling sessions in which the rewards of good behavior were touched on, if more detailed attention were given to the wages of sin.  Then of course there was Daddy's razor strop, an instrument of correction truly to be avoided.  There was never any of the "Wait 'til your father gets home" from Mama, either.  She would simply direct one to the yard to get the switch, and "It had better be a good one."

Lest you misunderstand any of this, let me remind you that scripture says, "He who spares the rod hates his son."  I was a much-loved, a well-loved son.

But, and I am quoting my father here, I have said all that to say this.  I vividly recall one incident which I am quite sure occurred when I was seven years of age.  I have no idea which of the Ten Commandments or what Rule of the House I had violated.  But I remember the "session" with clarity as though it were just this morning.  Mother was the administrator of justice in this instance, and the tale begins as I entered the kitchen with the switch I had been directed to obtain.  I handed it to Mama.

Mama took my hand and led me into the back bedroom.  She closed the door.  Remember, there was a little sister in the house who needed not to be disturbed by the proceedings.  As was her wont, Mama delivered the "This hurts me more than it hurts you, blah, blah, blah" speech.  She then took my left hand in her left hand and flailed my little legs a few times.  She let me go, turned toward the door, and I laughed.  Mama seemed to consider that to be inappropriate behavior.  She spun around, and perhaps a bit less gently than she had handled me before, she grabbed my arm and switched me again.

This time as she was leaving, I laughed again.  She returned to me, and I observed quite quickly that as she was punishing me some more, the tears were rolling down her face, and when she started sobbing, I burst into tears of  my own.  This may have been the desired behavior, for we then fell sobbing into each others arms, assuring one another of the deep and abiding love that existed between us.


Jacquelineand.... said...

We children would receive similar directions in re: procuring the switch...with the added admonition of: "if it isn't good enough I'll wear it out on you anyway and then you'll have to get a better one."

Feel the love!

Shelly said...

A very apt tale of how to turn children's hearts in the right direction. A pity that it is not practiced enough with today's children.

Vee said...

It is not hard for me to visualize this, even though I wasn't allowed to be a witness. I wonder how you would have handled "time out."

vanilla said...

Jacquelineand, feel the love. Weren't we fortunate!

Shelly, the method does seem to have fallen into a much neglected state.

Vee, I actually pondered your question a bit. I don't know the answer, but I was blessed to receive "correction" from the parents. Growing up like Topsy likely would not have been as satisfying in the long term.

Sharkbytes said...

Yup... for me it was a lilac switch. I think that time spent procuring the rod of discipline gave us time to think about how much we wanted to continue to do whatever it was that brought on the need for it. And I think we adults who got switched (or spanked) turned out a lot better than the young adults of today who were never "abused."

vanilla said...

Shark, indeed a lilac switch would do the job. That is what I sent my kids after. Children who are not disciplined are being abused.