Dear Parental Units Who Refuse to Lay Hands:
There’s something commendable about you people. That whole idea of a (cue: MLK voice) “non-violent, non-violent” lifestyle seems like a noble way to raise children.
I clearly grew up taking my licks and believing that I would be somewhat like you — a parent unashamed by watching my kids run amuck in a department store without proper consequences and repercussions. Well, I’d never be that foolish. But I thought I would treat my kids better than my parents trbeated my brothers and I.
I, thankfully, have no children. Yet, my reflexes and instincts have taken over around kids. I find myself willing and wanting to pop an underage cousin or one of my friend’s kids. As I’ve aged and realized that my parents were right when they told me I thought I was a know-it-all, I’ve realized that the best method for rearing children is wearing out their rear ends.
I don’t need scientific research to make this make sense. There is a level of respect and reverence that comes with knowing someone not only can, but has and will do you bodily harm when the situation warrants or even when it probably doesn’t. Recall your parents’ generation and the generation before that. There was a greater level of respect for elders that permeated America.
No, I’m not saying we need to bring back extension cords, switches or “whatever momma can grab.” Although, some of us have been pummeled by all three. You don’t have to suit up as Joe Jackson, either. I’m talking about dishing out just enough punishment so that minors have a discernible reverence for adults.
It’s a major problem in America today, kids and their lacking respect for their parents, elders and authority. In my opinion, there is a direct correlation to your unwillingness to lay hands. This, in turn, enables other adults from getting respect from your children.
It truly does take a village, and right now, most villages are in a state of disrepair. See, I grew up in a community where my second-grade teacher, Mrs. Peters, asked permission from students’ parents to swat them with her ruler. It was often granted. My first baby-sitter didn’t hesitate to lay hands, either.
Nowadays, y’all don’t want anyone to touch your children. Heck, you’re scared that if you lay hands your child might call Child Services on you. But you can’t fear hammering respect and morals into your kids. They must know that your role isn’t one of a friend. They learn this best through punishment, early and often.
No, this isn’t the NFL. Two-minute television “timeouts” do not work. But making your kids hold a push-up position or making them “watch TV” for an hour or two will suffice. It doesn’t always have to come from a belt or calisthenics. You can be innovative.
In the sixth grade, my father made me write “I will not forget my belt at home before school” 800 times. Sure, we could have saved a tree limb with the paper I used (and I’m thankful that limb didn’t end up as a switch for my backside). But I learned that lesson (and my handwriting is impeccable). Same can be said for losing my television, Super Nintendo, VCR and/or extracurricular privileges.
Hell, when I got my last whupping at 14 and my parents started grounding us, I longed for the five-minute torture of my dad’s brown leather bomber. Nothing was worse than grounding.
Through it all, though, I grew up respecting my parents and other adults because I knew there were consequences and repercussions. And I’m not so certain that your kids have that same respect.
Can you all take this into consideration, and use your belts as more than accessories for you clothing? I know this won’t fix every problem in the world, but it’s a start. Besides, I’m getting antsy, and one day soon might snatch one of your kids by his blond-haired head and slingshot him into the Panera seat next to you. I have patience, but it’s wearing thin.
P.S. Your new anthem: “Whoop That Trick.”