Before we had children, we decided we were going to love them with all of our hearts. We also decided the best way we could do that was to discipline them. To just let them do their own thing didn’t seem loving.
My mom said we got more “hidings” than breakfast. I’m not sure about that but we certainly got our fair share. Sometimes it wasn’t fair, but we got it anyway. If no one owned up, we all got it. If we were misbehaving in the back seat of the car, Val would turn around and slap us all on the leg. We knew our place, and we knew what, “Wait “til we get home” really meant. It was no empty threat. We panicked all the way home, ran to our room and waited for it to be over.
There was one time I was innocent but Val wouldn’t listen. I was trying to tell her while she was putting me over her knee. For some reason I raised my hand to protect myself and she thought I was trying to hit her. I got a double whammie for that. *(See Post 9 and other funny stories under category, “My Childhood”)
There were times when it was done with more emotion than was safe, but in general, the spoon, brush or stick was administered in a decent manner. We preferred Wilf’s spankings to Val’s. Threats like, “Wait ‘til your father gets home,” didn’t really work. Unfortunately for us, Val usually took it into her own hands.
Pain is not a bad thing. Pain helps us to remember what we did wrong. Hopefully wisdom would step in and tell us not to do that again. Only fools forget. Or live for pain. Wisdom says, “Remember the pain and obey.”
We wanted our children to know, from an early age, what it was like to experience pain. This was minimal pain compared to what REAL pain was like. “Don’t put that fork into the wall socket.” A sharp smack on the hand for doing it was a less painful consequence than 220 volts, but pain none the less. Learning that disobedience to important rules has painful consequences is a good thing.
Val always said she could take us anywhere. We were well behaved and well liked. She wanted people to like her kids. That was important to her. She took pride in knowing we would look adults in the eye, greet them, say please and thank you, stand up for older people and behave ourselves in public. The way she dealt with public tantrums was to sort us out right then and there. We tried it once and never again. We knew not to mess with Val in public.
If disobedience has no consequence, children will disobey. We all will. If we can get away with something, we’ll do it. If we know we won’t pay for it, we’ll take the chance.
We had been in the presence of parents who had no control of their kids. Parents who had a great call on their lives, allowing their children to mess it all up. Children disrupting important meetings by being allowed to pull on their parents, interrupt while adults were talking and insisting on shouting and screaming their lungs out. Their helpless and hopeless parents sat back and watched it all with no authority to stop it. One mother, during an interview with a principal, allowed her toddler to walk all over his table and even eat his glue stick. Another dad, while in conversation with us, had his four year old punching, pinching and pulling on him. His only comment was, “I don’t know why I put up with this.” Our response was, “So why do you?” Foolish parents raise foolish children. The wise raise the wise.
While chatting to him, we realised that he believed in the “free-spirit” philosophy. Baby spirits float around the universe, waiting for a baby to be born. They enter at birth. Who are we to try to change, train or rule over such a cute baby spirit? They are to be left to their own devices. Left to find their own way. Left to be wild and free.
We could not have disagreed more. Our children were our responsibility. Left to their own devices, our family would have been less peaceful and way less enjoyable. Our lives would have been more difficult. We would have stayed at home more. The demands of our children would have determined our date nights, our travel and our day-to-day activities.
We would have been like monkeys on the end of a chain. Well, it was either us or our kids at the end of it. We preferred it to be them.
(Dear reader- if you feel this would help any of your friends, please share it. I will be writing a few more posts on this subject while I’m on a roll. It’s one of the biggies of our day.)